Airbnb rebrand with a Bélo

I think it’d be nearly impossible to have not noticed Airbnb’s rebrand last week. It has been a popular topic of conversation on social media, even trending on twitter for a time. While there was some backlash in response to the new logo with references about it looking like a certain piece of female anatomy or the fact that the logo was practically the same as software company called Automation Anywhere, there are some good lessons to be taken from the flawless execution of this rebrand.

The new logo is called the Bélo and was designed by London based agency DesignStudio to represent the desire to belong no matter where you are in the world. The logo is a bringing together of three elements of the brand: people, places and love.

As an article by Marketing Week points out, there are 5 key things for all of us to learn from Airbnb’s rebrand.


Engage the press

Rumours have it that they hosted an amazing prelaunch party at a loft in Tribeca. They also provided journalists with a short gif showing what the rebrand stands for. I think that is brilliant. You minimize the risk of them communicating your rebrand in the wrong way when you provide them with the information straight from the horse’s mouth. This can be aided by using brand management software to help distribute brand assets and information about the rebrand.


Drop hits

Let people know what’s coming, but don’t over-promise. Airbnb hosted a website with a countdown clock until the launch went live with a message saying ‘tune in here to see what’s brand new’. Airbnb’s launch was masterfully handled, but as we all know, not every rebrand goes so well. Check out our latest article on Brand gaffes- Three lessons for marketers from brands that went badly off-message.


Deliver a compelling story with room for customer contribution

Airbnb has loudly and proudly communicated their story across all its channels and platforms. They’ve allowed people to really engage with the brand through the creation of an online profile and their Create Airbnb site that allows you to customise your own Bélo. Research has proven that a brand community has a positive influence on brand awareness and brand equity and by creating your own Bélo you join the Airbnb brand community and become part of the brand on a deeper level.

Here’s mine!


Make a Real Change

The launch of the new brand was held off until it was finished across all sites, platforms and most importantly, that the customer experience was improved. We often see businesses getting so excited about showing their new logo to the world that they reveal too little too soon, undermining the impact of the rebrand.  It’s nowhere near as effective as holding off until the entire rebranding process is finished.


Be timely and humble

That is exactly what Airbnb has done. While they’ve received some negative backlash after what’s probably been months of blood, sweat and tears on this project, Airbnb has handled the criticisms gracefully and light-heartedly. They also almost immediately responded to the claims of having the same logo as Automation Anywhere by releasing a joint statement. Very smart and very professionally handled.

The company has shown us how to be smart, caring and undeniably human. We’ve read and heard over and over again the importance of engagement and storytelling in brand and marketing. I think we should give Airbnb a massive round of applause for the execution of this rebrand whether we like the logo or not they’ve done a fantastic job at executing it. They’ve also massively raised their brand awareness. They have created an ethos around the brand in less than a week since launch and are encouraging users to be social and engage. Airbnb is more than just a nice place to stay; it’s where you can belong anywhere.


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