Just One Parting Shot Before I Leave, Elon

Twitter releases its final tweet

One of the definitions of a successful brand is that the people who use it tend to think of it as their own. There was a famous occasion when Burger King didn’t make their iconic Whopper for one day. When people ordered it and were told it wasn’t being made that day, they generally responded “I want my Whopper!”

When people do that, you know you have a powerful brand.

In the last twenty years, this sense of ownership seems to have become amplified with regards social media brands like Instagram and Facebook. My Instagram account for example, or my Facebook profile.

But in the last 48 hours, one of the biggest brand names of all in this category has flown.

Love it or hate it, distrusted it or manipulated it, the Twitter brand is no more. The symbol of a bird and the sing-song promise of soap box empowerment that the term ‘tweet’ evoked, has given way to a bombastic monolith.

And we’re supposed to celebrate?

So, fifteen years of accrued brand value flushed away by someone who says the name and logo don’t make sense. Excuse me? Twitter has made sense to half a billion people. Imagine what’s going to happen when he decides to buy Nike. Their empowering logo, the tick (or swoosh as they call it) will become, well, the opposite of a tick. Because the tick didn’t make any sense. The Seventh Day Episcopalian Church of the Lesser Antilles? I heard they need a new roof. No worries, Elon will fix it. All he asks is to tip the cross on the new roof over so it looks like an X. Because, you know, the cross doesn’t make any sense to the Christian faith.

I think he’ll probably alter his own name to MusX, too. Not with Elon in front of it, either. Just MusX. (Actually, my daughter would think that’s kinda cool).

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I looked at some of the uses X has for us. Because forgive me for repeating, but I’d really like to know why Musk replaced the Twitter bird with an X.

Multiplication, obviously.

The choice you make on a ballot box.

Marking the scene of a crime.

Signifying the cross hairs on a rifle sight.

Used in advertising to compare one brand against an inferior one, as in Brand X.

The X factor; that indefinable quality of a person in any given situation, be it politics, sport or business.

Can’t you just see the above list on a screen in a darkened boardroom, while children masquerading as sycophantic grown-ups (aka marketing folk) discuss the merits and pitfalls of each meaning? And then making the call ‘after in-depth research’ to go with X? I put the research bit in quotes because it really means watching Elon’s facial expressions in the meeting to pre-empt his decision.

Okay, so now we’ve had a good laugh again at Mr. Musk’s expense, he’ll almost certainly prove everyone wrong again and X will be the new commercial idol.

But when you destroy a brand name in such a cavalier fashion, such as ‘it doesn’t make any sense’ you take something away from us.

Please show us, don’t just tell us, what you’re going to give back.

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