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We in the FGIA Marketing department know a thing or two about rebranding an organization. Three years ago, we underwent our own, and today, we are known as the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance. Even though we made this change as of January 1, 2020, it didn’t literally happen overnight. This is why it has been so baffling to watch Twitter, a well-known company with 16 years of brand equity, announce over a sleepy July weekend that they would be called… X.

CEO Elon Musk has a bit of an obsession with that letter of the alphabet when you look at his other companies like SpaceX and his car company’s Model X vehicle. He even named one of his children X (full name: the eyebrow-raising X Æ A-12). While there is at least some consistency behind this new social media name, it doesn’t make sense for what Twitter was. Musk claims it will fit what X will become, which is a “super app.”

Changing company direction and even its name is not unheard of, but a lot of groundwork needs to be laid before rolling out a new brand identity. Steps often include things like:

  1. Research. Ensuring the new name of your company does not already exist, and that the rights to it are available. Musk ran into this issue quickly – it turns out it’s possible Musk’s rival, Mark Zuckerburg, might lay claim to “X” as a name thanks to trademark law.
  2. Feedback. Get input from stakeholders and community. This takes time! Use this data to make thoughtful decisions, which might require some changes to be made over time instead of all at once.
  3. Communication. Communicate changes before they happen. Musk announced this change over the weekend and by Monday rolled out the new crowd-sourced logo. It has taken a while for the site and its app to catch up and, as evidenced below, there is still some work to be done across platforms.

Forbes lays out 14 steps for a rebrand, and they provide an excellent framework. Musk may have managed to go against every step in the plan.

If your company is considering a rebrand, take some notes from Musk about what not to do. Interested in discussing how your brand is presented on social media? Reach out to me with questions! I can even schedule a call to go over what your company is currently doing and what you’d like to see in the future.