Users Have Fixes to Turn X Back to Twitter...
Over the weekend, a #kelleydirect student asked me about Twitter's rebrand to X.
I said that it was misguided and that Elon Musk gets far too much credit for being some marketing savant when he is really good at PR. Still, his marketing chops are questionable as we've seen a number of times over the last few months with examples like:
* The rapid pricing changes at Tesla.
* The multiple allegations of range inflation, customers being locked out of service appointments due to questions of range, and the capabilities of Full Self Driving technology.
* The rebranding of Twitter to X.
Today's The Wall Street Journal article by Lindsey Choo and Meghan Bobrowsky about X users finding software fixes to work around the name change and bring back the bird is a good point to the bigger issue with Elon Musk's handling of the Twitter brand.
The Twitter bird was the kind of distinctive brand asset that any brand would love to have.
The verb "to Tweet" is something that happens to only the most well-established brands like "I'm going to Google" or how Clorox was synonymous with bleach for decades.
The decline in user experience and user sentiment is highlighted by regular comments about an inability to search for news events, lower engagement numbers, a confusing user interface, and fewer and fewer of the people they follow in their timelines.
From a #brandmanagement standpoint, a few things to consider here:
* Your brand is typically your most valuable corporate asset. In Twitter's case, a $44B acquisition would have meant that the value of the blue bird and the associated brand equity was likely worth between $6-8B of the overall price that Elon Musk and his investors paid for the company.
We've seen this thrown away after the business had already lost about half of its value and significant revenue from advertisers.
* The number one challenge most businesses deal with is awareness. People just don't know they exist. In the case of Twitter, Twitter had 86% brand awareness in the United States in 2023.
Do you know how hard that is to botch?
* As I mentioned to my students at the #KelleyOnLocation event in Milwaukee, brand equity adds up slowly, in spoonfuls. But, negative things can destroy your brand equity in buckets.
The case we are looking at now proves that point as despite the reported "internal" numbers, most market research and customer feedback is negative, customer sentiment is declining, and estimated usage is down 4% but estimated users are expected to decline 23M between 2023 and 2024.
What's your take on the situation?
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