X marks madness
We couldn’t let this one slide without saying our piece.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, you’ll have seen that Elon has killed off Twitter and renamed it ‘X’. Yuck.
Described as ‘the future state of unlimited interactivity’, whatever that means, the new name has been brought to life with a futuristic logo (suspiciously similar to Monotype's Special Alphabet 4), alongside the equally nonsensical new strapline ‘Blaze your glory!’.
This questionable decision has, understandably, caused a lot of debate – ironically, we’ve all tweeted about it. But we think we speak for everyone when we say, the bird should never have been binned.
It’s rare that a brand is so meaningful, so iconic, that it becomes ingrained into the everyday lives of people across the globe. So much so that it even changes the way we speak (we eBay our clothes, Uber to work and tweet about our day).
X on the other hand? It sounds more adult entertainment than it does social network. And, quite frankly “I’ve just seen your X” isn’t something anyone wants to hear.
So what actually makes a good name? Here are the things to think about.
Does it evoke a feeling?
And the right one at that. The connotations and wider cultural context of a name are just as important as the word or phrase itself. So ask yourself: does your choice reflect the feeling or message you’re trying to convey? ‘Twitter’ playfully hints at what you use the platform for. It’s got a wholesome community feel about it. X, on the other hand, is the placeholder I use when I’m struggling to find the right word. Not forgetting all the negative associations – ‘excluded’, ‘x-rated’…
Can it act as a springboard?
The best names will inspire other visual and verbal elements of the brand, giving you a truly ownable identity. ‘Twitter’ translated to ‘tweets’ and ‘retweets’, (not the generic ‘post’ and ‘repost’ X has now reverted to), their bespoke font ‘Chirp’, and of course, the now iconic bird logo. And then you’ve got brands like Liquid Death and Notco that have used their name to tell a story and take ownable stance on an important societal issue.
Does it reflect the consumer?
Your brand name shouldn’t just work for you, but for the consumer too – after all, that’s the only way they’ll engage in your product or service. In a functional sense, is it easy to slip into everyday language? To ‘tweet’ is perfect, ‘X-ing’ just sounds awkward.
Then in an emotional sense, does your name reflect your consumer’s wants, needs, personality and mindset? Or are you letting your personal preference skew your decision? A good test – if you’ve chosen a name before you’ve even decided what your brand wants to offer then it’s probably the latter.
Can you even have it?
Your name might be great creatively, but if it doesn’t work practically there’s no point pushing it. Once you have a name in mind, get yourself a lawyer to do all the relevant trademark checks, then do your research into the rules and regulations of your key channels. (Apple doesn't allow apps to have one letter names, for instance, as Elon found out recently.)
This seems obvious, but it’s all too easy to forget. And unless you’re an unhinged billionaire with unlimited resources, it can leave you unstuck.
In short – don’t do an Elon. If you’ve got a brand in need of a new name, we can help.