Mobile navigation


When does a genius stop being a genius?

Hands up who thinks Elon Musk’s rebranding of Twitter this week was a good idea.

By James Evelegh

When does a genius stop being a genius?

Will Elon Musk’s reputation as a business genius survive his time in charge of Twitter?

His rebranding of Twitter as ‘X’ has been universally ridiculed.

Eager to find someone who thought it a good idea, I googled, ‘Is Twitter rebrand a good idea?’.

The nearest I came was someone who said it was too early to say: “Bottomline is whether Musk’s rebranding gambit for Twitter is a stroke of genius or a misstep is a question only time can answer.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement.

More typical was a piece by Sarah Vizard at Raconteur: ‘The Twitter rebrand is a disaster – here’s why’, and one from Mark Ritson at Marketing Week: ‘12 reasons why Twitter’s rebrand to X is a mistake’.

For Andrew Lawrence in the Guardian, “Elon Musk proves once again he’s incredibly bad at naming things”.

In a nutshell, much of the criticism has centred on the madness of ditching globally recognisable branding, the limitations of ‘X’ as a brand identity, the haphazard nature of the roll out and uncertainty about the thinking behind it.

Was the rebranding based on data and insight? Was it the result of a longstanding fixation with the letter ‘X’? Or is it the first step to creating the ‘everything app’ Musk has always dreamed of?

At face value, this last one sounds the most credible, but is rebranding Twitter, without adding any of the functionality that would be needed for an ‘everything app’ really the best first step down that road?

Thomas Edison said that “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Unfortunately for Twitter, Musk seems to have relied almost entirely on inspiration…

(PS. We’re finalising the mailing list for the July/August issue of InPublishing magazine. Please register here to be added to the free mailing list.)

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.