x twitter rebrand

Twitter’s “X” Rebrand, Assets, & The Uncertainty Facing Marketers

Amira Bennerson, Digital Content Specialist

Key Points

  • Elon Musk announced Twitter is becoming an “everything app,” but details about changes are scant.
  • Social media platforms are an asset marketers don’t own, exposing brands to risks and volatility from platform or algorithm changes. 
  • OAO allows strategic elasticity in an ever-changing social media landscape.

On April 11th, Elon Musk confirmed rumors that Twitter, as such, will no longer exist. Twitter will become an “everything app,” rebranding as X.

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino said, “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity — centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.” 

This sudden change by the enigmatic owner has created a stir in the market. 

Musk’s decision to rebrand Twitter and pivot away from its roots requires us to question the infallibility of major social media networks and how we use them in our marketing strategies. Let’s chew on these questions: 

  • What should we do next? 
  • How much control do we have over our marketing assets? 

What’s the future of social media marketing?

It’s difficult to say what the future of individual social media platforms will be. Ahead of Twitter’s rebranding, Musk made a series of changes to the app. Twitter users were limited to seeing only a few hundred tweets per day. Users reported glitches, site outages, and other UX issues.

For many businesses using Twitter, these critical usability issues have inhibited their ability to reach their customers. This, along with other concerns with the platform, led to an advertising exodus, with this spring’s ad revenue dropping 59% compared to the previous year.

There’s an appetite to ditch the chaos to find a safer, more controllable asset. One of the most notable competitors is Meta’s introduction of Threads. However, a few missing Threads features may have contributed to a 50% drop in users within its first week.

Mark Zuckerburg is confident in the product despite the drop in users because he’s run this playbook “many times.” His confidence may not be reassuring to marketers who are scrambling to decipher the competitive decisions of these tech giants’ CEOs.

What do we know about the future?

These shifts in the landscape aren’t on track to stop anytime soon. According to AdAge experts, new social media platforms are challenging how marketing is done. Text-based platforms are struggling to keep up with video-centered platforms like TikTok. 

All this competition is leading to awkward, widely felt decisions impacting how businesses navigate marketing on these platforms.

As the market continues to change, we can assume that social media will be:

  • Increasingly niched in its subject matter.
  • Focused on pleasing and collaborating with influencers.
  • Harder to measure with KPIs and ROI.
  • Entertainment-centered rather than focusing on socialization.
  • Prioritizing authentic content with clear branded voices.

These anticipated changes will require a flexible marketing strategy that is built on a strong foundation of cohesive messaging and incorporates owned assets, like newsletters, blog content, and landing pages.

Why is relying on social media risky? 

Changes in social media leave brands vulnerable because it gives the platform control over brand reach. For example, after Vine went dark in 2017,  many content creators and brands were stranded in the digital landscape. Some were able to adapt to Instagram well. Other content creators weren’t as fortunate, and the investment brands made into the platform vanished overnight.  

It’s unclear how much money is lost when platforms go dark. Here’s what we can say: there is a significant amount of money and time invested in creating content for social media. A brand’s reputation is impacted by sudden shifts in how businesses, like Twitter, choose to operate.

Reputation matters

Consider for a moment how you want your brand reception to be. Take note of a company’s ethics and its politics. For example, Musk is facing backlash over Twitter’s “X” rebrand. He took over the @X account without compensating the owner, Gene X Hwang.

In addition to this questionable move, Musk may have infringed on several corporations’ copyrights, including Microsoft and Meta. 

Businesses must prepare to pivot if X makes decisions or changes their consumers dislike or disagree with.

What will brand relationships be with X? 

Twitter’s lovely bluebird has been in everyone’s social media basket for roughly a decade. According to Statista, a staggering 44% of businesses rely on Twitter to market themselves and their products. And it’s easy to understand why. 

Twitter’s interface had remained relatively unchanged until its acquisition by Musk early last year. Musk has focused more on bolstering the platform’s ad revenue rather than investing in its existing interface and features. It could become increasingly expensive to advertise on X after the official launch. 

Time is money

This recent change in the social media landscape threatens to tip the scales for two major reasons: money and time. Advertisers in the United States spent roughly $72 billion on social media advertising in 2023 (and it’s only July!). 

While this number only encapsulates B2B spending, this tells us a lot about what’s on the line if Twitter’s rebrand doesn’t work in businesses’ favor. We don’t know if X will change the entirety of Twitter’s existing algorithm, influencing how much money is spent on advertising. 

Let’s put money aside for a moment. Marketers spend hours interacting with customers generating organic traffic to their platforms. We don’t know much about how X will work, its features, or when it’ll launch officially. 

As a result, social media managers may find themselves in a situation where organic engagement is deprioritized. The opposite may also be true. The unknown of it all is anxiety-inducing!  

How much are we investing in social media?

Sadly, we don’t own Twitter. We don’t know what the business strategy with X will be. Until then, all we can do is control what we do own: our time, money, and assets. Owned assets are digital brand properties that we have complete creative and technical control over, like our blogs and websites. 

At the end of the day, social media is one of many channels at our disposal. We don’t have control over how social platforms operate or their business decisions — which exposes brands to risk. In short: the more brands invest in social media, the more control they cede to the Elon Musks and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

X’s announcement is a moment to reflect on the amount of control we truly have over our marketing assets. When we rely on third parties over our own platforms, we are at the mercy of their impulsive business decisions. 

But that doesn’t mean we need to take our eggs out of the basket entirely. Instead, brands should consider refocusing marketing strategies as a whole. 

A connection-first approach

Sr. Director of Marketing at Terakeet, RJ Licata explains reception marketing is all about meeting people where they’re at, at the right time. An owned asset-first approach, centered on consumer needs, helps brands combat the risks associated with channel-first marketing and over-reliance on third-party platforms. 

Brands should focus on the assets they own first, before optimizing for social media platforms.

Shifting our perspective away from the kinds of platforms we use toward what our consumers need is the key to successfully connecting with our audiences. Prioritizing consumer needs to drive the content brands share on their own platforms and social media will help them withstand the ever-shifting sands of the internet. 

The MACH-6 can help brands determine what to focus on

All brand assets create moments for connection with your consumers, but not every asset or channel gives you the same amount of control. The MACH-6 is Terakeet’s framework to guide your marketing strategy and help you prioritize your efforts based on the amount of control you have over your assets. 

The foundation of the MACH-6 focuses on owned assets, the content you have complete creative and technical control over. These are the assets you can optimize fully to connect with and meet the needs of, your consumers. 

Social media is a “managed” asset, a channel that only lets you publish your owned content. You don’t control the platform or get to say who sees your posts, ads, or if your content will even be there tomorrow.

How should brands utilize social media?

OAO focuses less on the channels you use. Instead, you’ll focus on what consumers want based on their behavior. Then, you’ll create purposeful assets that meet their specific needs. 

The MACH-6 framework helps you visualize the degree of control you have over your assets, giving you a strategic advantage and peace of mind when platforms make sizable business decisions

Let’s use our friend Musk as an example. The rebranding of Twitter as X is an attempt to control his brand’s assets. Musk formed X Holding in April 2022. Plus, he acquired the X.com domain. This rebranding is likely a strategy to have greater control over his branded assets to ultimately improve consumer loyalty (and therefore, ad revenue).

But it comes at the immense cost of losing Twitter’s MASSIVE brand recognition. It isn’t clear that Musk understands his consumers, though. His recent decisions have had a lukewarm reception from Twitter’s veteran user base.

Utilizing managed assets

Overreliance on social media relinquishes control of your brand’s cohesive messaging to the platform’s decision makers. Investing in a network of owned assets that are optimized for your consumers and that can be strategically personalized and optimized for various channels gives you flexibility and control.

An OAO approach to marketing helps you:

  • Determine the needs of your consumer.
  • Understand what assets you can create to meet those needs.
  • Learn how to optimize those assets to get (and keep) consumer attention.
  • Identify opportunities for connection and increase sales conversions.

With the MACH-6, you can use social media to amplify a solid, value-based message that can withstand any platform’s changes (or outright failures).

In a nutshell: OAO shields you from the whims of a CEO.

Twitter’s bluebird is iconic. Musk may be trying to shy away from its former reputation with an eye to a far-reaching future. We’ll have to wait and see if this move works in his favor. 

In the meantime, it’s up to brands to control the controllables. OAO offers an asset-first approach that increases control over your brand’s destiny, better connects you with your consumers, and supports your values. 

Be it time, money, or owned assets, all three can be optimized if you have the right strategy. As you increase your investment into your owned assets, craft a plan based on consumer connection and an understanding of your entire content marketing portfolio. This will ensure your efforts land with consumers no matter which way the internet’s wind blows.

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