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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

Should You Rebrand?
If It's Not Broken, Should You Fix It?

Will X Corp. Mirror Twitter’s Success?

Did Elon Musk conduct market research before changing Twitter to X Corp.? Twitter was well-known by its original name, popular bluebird logo, and its catchy name for messages--tweets. As a company’s name, logo, and look and feel are important assets, businesses should only undertake a rebranding when the company has done extensive market research and is convinced that the company will benefit from the effort, the expense, and the confusion generated.

Effective branding entails knowing your target market and establishing a message that encapsulates your company’s vision and mission. Then, you must use consistent messaging in all marketing channels.

Why do companies rebrand?

  • Change in product mix or menu-- Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC officially in 1991 to de-emphasize its unhealthy fried food.
  • Expanded service-- In 2018 Dunkin’ Donuts announced it was changing its name and logo to “Dunkin’.” The goal was “to transform itself into the premier beverage-led, on-the-go brand” as reflected in its “America Runs on Dunkin’” tagline.
  • Change in product reach--Following deregulation, in 1979 Allegheny Airlines, a regional carrier, became USAir reflecting the addition of southern routes.
  • Distraction/Bad Press—Following safety problems and bad press, USAir rebranded as US Airways in 1996, marking a new start. The company merged with American Airlines in 2013.
  • Change in mission and structure--Google created a new company, Alphabet, in 2015 with the URL Google was to remain the Internet and search arm of the company. Unrelated new ventures were situated in Alphabet with their own CEOs. And, Alphabet now reports segment earnings, according to “Larry’s Alphabet Letter” from 2015. These changes allowed the company to invest in risky, new healthcare and other ventures, without jeopardizing Google. This was a reorganization as well as a rebranding.
  • Change in ownership, plus a new direction--Elon Musk bought Twitter in October, 2022. In July, 2023, Musk rebranded the company as X Corp., reflecting his SpaceX venture. However, 'X' has negative connotations and does not resonate with subscribers. In addition, Musk got rid of the iconic bluebird logo and is tinkering with guidelines and fees for users.
  • To mark the consolidation of companies—In 2022 four “social good technology companies” combined under the name Bonterra [“good earth/land”]. Bonterra provides a technology platform for non-profits.
  • To modernize, update, or refresh—Mastercard’s credit cards boast a streamlined logo, but not the iconic Mastercard name.

Did rebranding make a positive change in the above companies--their reputations, their relationships with customers, and the companies’ operations and revenues? Perhaps. However, in the X Corp. case, the change upset and confused loyal Tweeters. Other related changes, such as the company’s prices and rules will also affect the success of the rebranding. External factors, such as politics, will play a role, as well. “If it is not broken, don’t fix it” may be good advice if you are considering rebranding.



“Musk’s X Rebrand Prompts Head-Scratching,” Wall Street Journal (July 27, 2023).

Efficient rebranding: strategy, process & examples ( [rebranding checklist]


Actionable Business Insights

Copyright ©9/23 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

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