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Do Rebrands Work? Can You Trademark an X? An Professional Solutions the Burning Questions on Musk’s Twitter Pivot

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Do Rebrands Work Can You Trademark an X An Expert Answers the Burning Questions on Musk’s Twitter Pivot

By Cameron Shackell

To non-moguls, Elon Musk’s (maybe non permanent) rebrand of Twitter to “X” could seem excessive danger, amateurish, and even capricious. However it’s possible doing precisely what he meant: producing monumental international curiosity, pushing Twitter nearer to his different X manufacturers (SpaceXTesla Mannequin XxAI), and clearing the way in which for a worthwhile merging of applied sciences.

What occurred to the blue chook?

Final weekend, Musk started the (reversible) modifications by renaming the Twitter platform X on its web site and changing the iconic blue chook brand with a crowdsourced “interim” white “X” on a black background.

Later, Musk posted a picture of the character projected on the agency’s San Francisco headquarters and tweeted (or is that “X’d”?) that x.com now redirects to twitter.com.

The X bears a powerful resemblance to the Unicode character “mathematical double-struck capital X”, derived from the way in which daring characters are normally written on blackboards in maths lectures. The emblem remains to be present process iterations, with a short-lived thickening of the strains going reside on July 26, earlier than Musk introduced he didn’t prefer it and would revert.

Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s CEO and potential scapegoat if the rebrand goes mistaken, additionally confirmed the launch on Sunday, tweeting, “X is right here! Let’s do that.”

Has a radical rebrand ever succeeded?

In 2021, Fb rebranded its holding firm to Meta. However it saved “Fb”, gave us the metaverse, and didn’t deprive the world of a cute feathery icon and idea of “tweeting”.

Branding specialists across the globe have been fast to sentence the Twitter shakeup as too sudden and harmful of brand name capital. That’s maybe as a result of even slight identify modifications are recognized to be dangerous. Kentucky Fried Rooster formally rebranded to KFC. Pepsi was as soon as Pepsi-Cola. These profitable changes took time and cautious administration.

Dramatic renaming of a family identify has principally by no means labored. And there’s little doubt a black “X” changing “Twitter” is dramatic. It smashes the metaphor of birds updating each other in an idyllic blue-sky ecosystem. Sentimental followers holding out for a return to the nice outdated days have now obtained the memo: Twitter isn’t for you.

Twitter isn’t for you (1)

However maybe that’s the purpose. To me, X – a logo that may be a cattle marker or an illiterate signature – looks like a probe to perturb and check the market.

Musk isn’t renaming quick meals or tender drinks. Twitter is within the hyper-dynamic enterprise of data. Musk is agile and properly armed. So possibly new branding guidelines are being solid.

Musk’s progressive alienation of Twitter’s conventional customers may very well be an try and refresh the platform’s demographic – to attract in these true to his different manufacturers, whereas shaking off unprofitable sceptics. This would definitely match with the push X offers in the direction of Musk’s different X manufacturers.

Most commentators have latched onto the concept the change is sudden, irreversible, and full in in the future. However Musk’s previous enterprise endeavours recommend he’s a strategist. The change will take time to play out and might possible be revised, reversed and adjusted as suggestions is generated.

Doesn’t another person personal the “X” trademark?

Trademarking of “X” might be not pivotal to the Twitter rebrand. However attaining restricted possession of the letter will not be as preposterous because it sounds.

Logos are granted or refused based mostly on their means to determine the supply of the related items or providers. This implies X can perform as a trademark if it clearly identifies Twitter within the minds of the general public (supplied one other Twitter-like service doesn’t presently maintain the trademark). Well-known manufacturers have benefits: Musk has already garnered sufficient media consideration to make sure X is now a globally recognised time period for his firm.

Is X a generic time period and thus not trademarkable? My very own analysis argues emblems utilized by tech companies concerned in client search and determination making (like Twitter) are inherently generic. However below the 77-year-old Lanham Act that also governs emblems in america, X must be a typical generic identify for all providers like Twitter to be refused. It isn’t. It’s largely only a generic time period for the twenty fourth letter of the alphabet.

Hypothesis concerning the legality of X as a trademark is one factor. My time writing about emblems, has taught me the fact in courts and tribunals is one other. Each Microsoft and Meta (and plenty of others) have laid claims to X up to now for numerous items and providers.

goods and services

Lawsuits over X could also be filed, however last determinations may very well be years within the courts. And if issues go badly, Musk has simply proven his willingness to pivot.

What’s Musk attempting to attain?

Tech commentators are intrigued by the concept the X rebrand is a part of Musk’s plan to create a WeChat-style “all the things app” that might converge messaging, search, on-line purchasing and cell fee. Twitter CEO, Yaccarino, has mentioned as a lot.

said as much

I discover that evaluation too simplistic, particularly given the continuing concentrate on antitrust. Musk is arguably ready to survey (and reshape) the panorama of not simply “city sq.” discourse however area journey, synthetic intelligence (AI), transportation and even politics. He operates on a scale incompatible with endgames. I sense the X rebrand is extra a few course of journey. Or perhaps a sacrifice for a larger purpose.

The X rebrand may relate to AI (Musk had a task in a knowledge drought this yr by proscribing Twitter knowledge entry). Or it may very well be testing the waters for a distinct pivot later within the yr. Or it may very well be an try and distract from another transfer. There’s no method to know.

Even the phrase “time will inform” is not any assist. How can we all know if an unknown plan succeeds or not? Does Musk care if Twitter disappears? Does he care if he’s value 200 billion or 300 billion?

Welcome to the inscrutable world of X.

This text was initially printed in The Dialog on 26 July 2023. It may be accessed right here: https://theconversation.com/do-rebrands-work-can-you-trademark-an-x-an-expert-answers-the-burning-questions-on-musks-twitter-pivot-210377

In regards to the Creator

Cameron ShackellCameron Shackell accomplished his undergraduate diploma in Economics at UQ, his Grasp of Letters in Utilized Linguistics at ANU, and his PhD in Semiotics and Info Expertise at QUT. He’s presently a Customer and Sessional Tutorial on the QUT Faculty of Info Techniques. He additionally works within the non-public sector as CEO of GeneriTrend, a agency utilizing AI to analyse manufacturers and emblems.



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