Twitter have unveiled a new logo and integration options with Facebook. Announced late last week, this move sees the bird logo amended to appear as it it’s on an upward trajectory - "the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility" according to Twitter.
In addition to this, they have also unveiled new integration options for users that have merged their Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can now cross-post to Facebook and Twitter, and whenever you mention a user or hashtag, Facebook will link to the relevant account or search result. Great news for some, but not for people who are annoyed with people that use their Facebook accounts in the same way they update their Twitter accounts - grr!
On a serious note, whilst many people may think that changes like this are pretty arbitrary, they are in fact very important to a company.
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in three re-brands in my time as a Community Editor/Social Media Coordinator - Ministry of Sound, Real Radio and Real Radio XS. Each time, the changes were met with a degree of scepticism from the audience. In the case of Real Radio XS, there was a real concern that the station was planning to deviate from it’s traditional classic rock playlist. A re-brand can be seen in many ways as a fresh start, but you have to bear in mind from a user perspective that it could potentially be seen as a harbinger of doom.
Previously, a re-brand could be developed, launched, and given time to bed in. In the social media age however, brands and companies are not afforded that luxury. You are judged immediately on the look, feel and vibe of it almost immediately. Or rather - you receive feedback quickly. That, in my opinion, is a good thing.
It’s an opportunity to engage with your audience. To have a conversation with them about the ins and outs of the changes, and what it will mean. Just because people may initially dislike change, it doesn’t mean that they are not willing to embrace it eventually. You just can’t expect blind acceptance these days.
When the Rock Radio brand was changed to Real Radio XS, our venerable PD Moose decided to tackle the issue head on. I sent him the feedback about the changes, kept him updated on what the fans were saying on Facebook and Twitter, and he made a great decision - he invited the most vocal fans, the most invested fans, in for pizza, a few beers and a chat. That to me was the turning point. It gave our audience the perfect opportunity to come and have a chat with us, and find out a bit more about the changes. As a result, we now have one of the most actively engaged Facebook and Twitter communities I’ve ever had the pleasure to oversee (#humblebrag/Disclaimer - I'm a current employee of Real XS/GMG Radio).
A re-brand can be scary to your audience. Almost as scary for a company that decides to pivot, and change it’s core product (Path, Colour, Facebook opening up it’s network to non-graduates/students). So you have to be prepared to listen, to explain, and be ready to be honest with your audience. It’s very hard to stay angry with somebody when they are honest with you face-to-face.
Social media is a great opportunity to engender those feelings on a mass scale, and I don’t think that any company should overlook that opportunity.