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From Twitter to X: Has the Rebrand Worked?

Elon Musk and new X logo

Twitter had a fine set of wings, now X has flown too close to the sun.

The corporate rebrand has been a hallmark of business and beyond for generations. Whether it’s giants like Facebook switching to Meta, or simple folk trying out new haircuts, a fresh look can be the beginning of something special. But setting off in a new direction isn’t the right move for everyone. 

Since taking over the social media titan formerly known as Twitter, controversial business guru Elon Musk has led the brand in a radical new direction. Since then, X has certainly left its mark. Yet as with the man himself, some see the mark X has left on the public discourse as more of a stain.

Like others in the brand game, we at Wrise have been watching the little blue bird with interest. X has had almost a year to feather its nest now, and though it has certainly ruffled some feathers, it seems like X’s best flying days may be behind it. Fortunately, X is a perfect example for those who want to learn the risks and rewards of turning over a new leaf.

Success can be a failure all of its own

One thing that can be said for the X rebrand is this – people are talking about it. Musk’s takeover of the digital town square has, in this sense, been an enormous success. He’s created a totally new cultural force that’s reshaping digital dialogue across the globe. But as “Mr. Tweet” is finding out, not all publicity is good publicity. Twitter might already have been famous. Musk, however, has managed to make it infamous.

Someone seeking to catapult their own brand to new heights might be tempted to emulate this version of success. Yet success can be measured in many ways. X might have got people talking, however, its X-rated approach has lost it as much as it’s gained.

As reported by Variety, X has seen its value plummet by over $20 billion. This may be just a drop in the ocean to a businessman of Musk’s stature. But this isn’t the kind of success most up and comers are looking for.

You don’t always get to pick your friends

As a so-called free speech absolutist, Elon Musk built X with a goal in mind. He wanted to create a new landscape that would, above all, promote free speech. And in this sense, X certainly marks the spot. The problem is, there’s a fine line between freedom and anarchy.

X scored an early victory when it came to democratising free speech across the digital sphere. It provided a home for thousands that would never have gained a footing on Twitter, all with a shiny new blue stamp of approval. But there’s a difference between democracy and mob rule, and that’s just what X ushered in. Some of the X’s more recent “highlights” include…

  1. The return of a number of controversial figures –Contentious individuals such as former President Donald J. Trump, Kanye West, and online conspiracist, Alex Jones, all found themselves booted from the social media platform. As a free speech warrior, Musk soon provided an amnesty “to all suspended accounts”.
  2. Musk himself promoting an antisemitic conspiracy theory – Despite later walking back his comments, Musk publicly supported an X comment about the “Great Replacement” conspiracy. He even went as far as describing it as “the actual truth”.
  3. X getting accused of taking money from terrorists – If his plans to charge for blue check marks weren’t controversial enough, Musk’s X was seen as providing legitimacy to accounts linked to terror movements. Blue check marks could now be seen on accounts tied to members of Hezbollah, and other movements.

X has turned up the contrast on social media

Early on in Musk’s tenure as top dog, X could boast an average of 2 million daily new user sign-ups. A sure sign of its success. Yet, according to Patricia Battle of thestreet.com, since then the tide has turned. Alongside its significant dollar value losses, X has been losing users at an equally impressive rate. By October 2023, X had seen 60% of its adult users for the past year taking a break from the platform.

While polite society dominates the centre stage, there will always be a hunger for the wild west. This is perhaps the ultimate success of Musk’s rebrand. He has kicked things into gear and turned the dials up to 11. X is now, to say the least, an exciting prospect. What that means, however, is best left up to the individual.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

X’s misadventures have, if nothing else, shown the value of staying true to your core audience. Entrepreneurs wishing to expand their reach might think of the rebrand as the perfect way to do so. And for some, it might be. But holding on tight to what you have is often more valuable than throwing it all away to go chasing little blue birds.

Time to get out and X-plore!

Whether you’re looking to make your brand famous or even infamous, X’s rebrand has lessons for everybody. But if you want to learn to walk before you try to fly, then you should swing by and check in on Wrise. After all, we know what it takes to take brand new brands to the next level. So tweet, or X us on X.com at @wearewrise, and soon you too can Wrise to the top!


Written by Thomas Panter (Wattpad // CBR)

Tom P

Literarily dramatic and dramatically literal, when Thomas Panter isn’t blogging, blagging or blabbering, he can be found working the graveyard shift at the local short story factory. Having earned his degree in creative writing, Thomas now lives at the intersection of prose and pranks, making sure sarcasm remains Britain’s biggest export.