Rebranding Air BnB: A Shining Example of How to Do It Right

25/09/2014

rebranding Air BnB

rebranding Air BnB

Air BnB is a growing dot com phenomenon that lets everyday people rent out rooms – or their entire house – to travellers. Providing an alternative to the sometimes soulless hotel experience, Air BnB is about connecting people and helping them experience the “real” side to the cities they visit.
Paul and I started using this when we travelled and it is amazing to see how quickly this brand grew. I love reading about companies and the people behind them: how they grew quickly- what they offered, and why it was so appealing. And Air BnB’s story is a great one!

 

Air BnB History

Air BnB’s original brand identity had been created by one of the founders in the very early, cash strapped start up days circa 2007/8.
Fast forward to 2014 and the company had outgrown their original, amateurish identity. With over ten million guests calling an AirBnB property ‘home’ since their launch and an estimated value of $10 billion, it was time for the company to really cement their personality and values into the global marketplace.

A New Identity


Air BnB believe that they are a community who offer an antithesis to the mass market, common travel experience and wanted their identity to reflect that. They wanted to represent ‘belonging’ and engaged a San Francisco based creative company to help them bring that vision to life.
The ‘Bèlo’ is a symbol that was created to represent Air BnB. Representing ‘people’, ‘places’ and ‘love’ the upside down heart/cartoon style “A” fit the brief of ‘being able to be drawn by anyone’ and compliments the new sans serif text logo against a modern coral-pink background.
Its debut coincided with a website overhaul that refined the user experience and repeated the key messages and positioning statements throughout.
Air BnB launched the new logo and Bèlo with a ‘Create’ promotion that lets people customise the colour and design of the icon to suit their own personalities. People who participate are encouraged to use their creation on business cards, mugs, t shirts and prints that can be sold to guests. This is one of the first reported cases of a brand giving free reign for customisation of their own brand identity in the world.

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What They Did Right

    • Generated significant media coverage by inviting key members of the press to a $900/night loft apartment to unveil the new brand.
    • Ran a countdown on their website eluding to the fact that there was going to be change
    • Took it beyond an image by waiting until they were ready to launch their enhanced web platform as well.
    • Made it interactive by giving users freedom to create their own Bèlo to use as part of the Air BnB brand identity.
  • Responded to criticism quickly, laughing off suggestions that the Bèlo resembles part of the female anatomy and issued a joint statement with the affected company when social media users noted their new look was similar to another brand’s.

 

As Air BnB have demonstrated, rebranding is much more than a new logo. Engaging a full service marketing and design agency like Simple will ensure that your brand not only looks the way you want it to, but connects with your customers on a personable level as well.

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