By George Farris
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Deciding whether you should change your brand name should not be as difficult as some businesses make it.
If your company or product name (A) no longer appeals to the market you seek or (B) your product line is changing substantially, (C) you should probably change, pivot, realign – or whatever description keeps the board members happy – and go with a brand name that works better.
That is a super-simplified version of the ABCs of rebranding. But now we also have an X factor in the mix. That’s because Elon Musk changed Twitter’s name to “X.”
Musk has a fascination with X, as in Tesla Model X, SpaceX, and even his son, X. He lobbied for PayPal, one of the early companies in which he was involved, to be named X but was outvoted.
But Musk was able to make the X move with Twitter, upsetting some users, thrilling others, and baffling much of the public. I loved the name change, not because of the name X, but because of the way Musk disrupts a market and builds momentum with the buzz.
I even penned a little poem to commemorate the event:
Dear ol’ Twitter, you’ll never be the same.
New boss Musk says X is your name.
With a wink (or a finger?) and a bit of outrage
Twitter is bowing out and X takes center stage.
No longer confined to chirps and tweets,
X will spread its wings, embracing new feats.
Did you hear X wants to be a super app?
Will it fail or take a victory lap?
Long-time users, please, don’t be bitter.
Embrace the future and say goodbye to Twitter.
For those wondering if the brand name change will increase the number of users Twitter – now X – has, most experts agree that a few complainers and naysayers aside, the site will maintain its base of users.
According to CMSWire, Musk wants to change Twitter from a town square for posting and messaging to an “everything app” called X. It all sounds very mysterious and exciting. But, what is an everything app (also called a “super-app”)?
A super-app has a core set of features that serves as a platform for mini-apps, which can be added and removed as needed. In the single super-app, you can shop for groceries, pay rent, fill a prescription or chat with a friend, send peer-to-peer payments, and stream videos, all without leaving the core super-app environment. A respected business adviser, Gartner.com, has said that by 2027 more than half of the global population will be daily active users of multiple super-apps.
Yes, X is a strange name. But not the strangest. You have to go into the entertainment world to get that. Award-winning singer Jason DeFord is known as Jelly Roll, and Abel Tesfaye, featured in the 2021 Super Bowl halftime, is known to most as The Weeknd. And let us not forget Prince, who changed his name to a symbol that could not be used verbally. The strange names didn’t hurt those three.
In the last 30-plus years, we’ve changed more than a dozen company brand names in my marketing practice. Each of them increased awareness and sales.
If you are thinking about a brand name change, follow the ABCs of rebranding. Of course, if you are one of the richest and most famous people in the world, you can follow X, or even write the Y and Z of rebranding.
George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing. Email gff@FarrisMarketing.com.