Monday, July 14, 2014

Airbnb's New Logo – An Epic Marketing Blunder

Airbnb just unveiled its new logo called “the Belo”. In the color Magenta, it strives to combine the concept of Yahoo’s distinctive purple and Nike’s famous Swoosh.

Airbnb enables users to list their homes on the web and rent them out to guests. The company wants to add more sharing products and services to its offerings, such as surfing lessons.

For its rebranding, Airbnb turned to DesignStudio, a young London-based global branding and design agency, that has as its mission statement: “By applying creative, critical thinking to these different channels, we change people’s perceptions and create the brands of the future.”

For a whole year, DesignStudio worked on the rebranding project. It conducted extensive user research and dispatched teams to more than a dozen countries to interview hosts and guests to find out what they like about Airbnb. DesignStudio also conducted detailed surveys of comparable brands such as IBM, Facebook and the Red Cross.

The result? Bélo (Belonging - Airbnb’s new logo that was launched with a lot of PR hype. The logo is in magenta, looks like the love child of a Google maps pin, a heart and a bent paper clip. It’s a matter of taste if you like it or not.

HomeSweetHome one. But it’s the uncanny resemblance with the Automation Anywhere logo that started a Twitter storm.

It's baffling that after such an extensive research and design phase, none of the creative geniuses at the agency used a simple online image search to check for similar logos to make sure that the proposed new one would be unique.

Airbnb made a gigantic marketing mistake by not running the new logo by their lawyers. The consequences for Airbnb?

However, the new logo is almost identical to several existing logos such as the
  • Legal action. I am sure that Automation Anywhere will sue Airbnb very soon.
  • Brand damage. The company is already the laughing stock in many online magazines and (of course) the social media.
  • Using an agency that wasted so much of Airbnb’s budget to come up with a copycat logo.
  • Investing more time and money to rebrand again with a new agency.
  • Removing the Bélo from all existing collateral and merchandise.
(Image: New Airbnb logo on the left, existing Automation Anywhere logo on the right)

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