On 16 June 2014, Airbnb announced new branding that includes a new logo as well as a redesigned website and upgraded mobile apps. The moves were a shift from focusing on the types of lodging available on the website (typically unique structures such as treehouses and castles) to a focus on the people within the Airbnb community. The rebranding aims to position Airbnb as a lifestyle brand to enable the company to broaden its product portfolio beyond lodging services. Given the harsh reaction to the logo, though, it remains to be seen if the new branding will be enough support the company’s new direction.
"Belonging" is the Keyword
The company’s founders and first Airbnb guest revealed the new branding in an online presentation that featured many stories about Airbnb’s community, emphasising the company’s new core tenant of “belonging.” “Belonging is based upon four key themes of people, places, love and Airbnb, which influenced the new symbol as part of the new company logo. The new symbol is called “Bélo” and is simple so that anyone can recreate it. It is also abstract enough to allow Airbnb to use it as it moves into offering other products and services. CEO Brian Chesky envisions that the symbol may become a “universal symbol of sharing” and be displayed by many different businesses, such as restaurants.
The company launched a tool called Create that people can use to personalise the logo. People can put their personalised logos on merchandise, such as mugs, stamps and stickers, and purchase it through Airbnb’s partnership with Zazzle, an online company that enables customisation of products. However, critics point out that the new logo resembles risque parts of the human anatomy and the logo is also similar to one for the company, Automation Anywhere, but both companies reached an agreement whereby Automation Anywhere will use a new logo.