The Airbnb rebrand: Fulfil their global potential

With their position as pioneers of the sharing economy established, Airbnb recognised that it was time to fulfil their global potential. To do that they made the decision to rebrand with a clear proposition.

Why Airbnb rebranded

Airbnb was founded in 2007 out of necessity, when the cofounders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, needed to earn some money to pay their rent. The early years of the business were spent developing the concept and building a global community who were willing to share their homes with complete strangers. By 2014 that community had grown to four million listings in 191 countries. Airbnb were no longer an ambitious startup, they were a global brand. But you wouldn’t know that if you looked at their logo. So they decided to change that.

How Airbnb changed their identity

At the heart of the Airbnb rebrand was a realisation about what the company represented. It wasn’t about community or renting homes. It was about the opportunity to “belong anywhere”. To communicate this idea a new symbol was created – the Bélo. Airbnb wanted a symbol that could transcend language and culture and be recognised – and shared – by anyone, anywhere in the world.

Importantly Airbnb wanted the Bélo to be something that their community of hosts could share and take ownership of. They launched a piece of software that allows hosts to tailor the Airbnb logo to create their own version. And to take that one step further, hosts can even have their version of the logo printed on to cups, tshirts, stickers and a range of other material. Airbnb have created a logo that belongs to the community – not the marketing department.

But the Airbnb rebrand was about more than a new logo. The new identity was applied to the website and mobile apps – the environment where most people interact with the brand. An updated design style, with new photography, typography and colour, was used to deliver the new proposition through the digital experience.

The impact of the rebrand

The Airbnb rebrand created the platform to support their growth. Within 2 years of the rebrand revenue at Airbnb increased by 80%. Although the company didn’t become profitable until late 2016, Airbnb remains an attractive investment, and has attracted a total of $3 billion in funding. In March 2017 Airbnb was valued at $31 billion.

The continued growth and success of the company is not the result of a new logo. But the Airbnb rebrand allowed the company to project a new image and fulfil their global potential, by engaging investors, hosts and travellers.


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Photo by Joshua Stannard on Unsplash