When in doubt, re-brand!

With the Twitter to X rebranding in the news, I am once again reminded of the truism: when faced with wicked operational challenges, ineffective management will always initiate a rebranding exercise, regardless of actual need.

Compared to the complex, multifaceted, and not easily definable operational problems, a rebranding exercise is straightforward. The outcome is obvious and easily celebrated as a win.

Fixing wicked problems is not glamourous. Outcomes are often invisible and offer little media brag value. Ineffective management, especially when driven by shallow personal ego needs, with little experience, poor skills, and questionable ethics, will find a rebranding project more attractive.

Rebranding projects can be treated as a symptom of deeper organisational distress, more so when the organisation is in crisis or a transition period (such as after a takeover). A sudden rebranding project can signal a build-up of internal wicked problems.

(Of course, in some cases, rebranding projects are bona fide exercises that meet genuine organisation needs.)