For those of you in the design world, by reading this headline you already know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who aren’t, here is the overview: AirBnB, an accommodation connection website for international travellers, has just relaunched their logo. Now, I spoke to you last week about why a logo is so important to a small business (and to be totally fair, the same rules do apply for medium and large size businesses too), and I spoke about how important it is for your logo to be unique.
And this is where to scandal comes into this story.
Below, on the left, is the new AirBnB logo. On the right, the logo of a number of similar organizations.
So we can see that there is a uniqueness issue. Its been released in a statement that there had been some discussion between AirBnB and the competition about who would use the logo, as both were rebranding at the time. Others, are trying to make it a sexual issue – claiming that the logo looks like genitals.
All of that is important. But the teaching and learning opportunity that you can take out of this is two fold:
1. Consider a cheeky and interesting option when changing your brand.
I honestly don’t believe that the team from AirBnB hadn’t noticed that there were other logos of a similar style. Mostly because it has been aired that they have already discussed with the team at Automation Anywhere about the similarities in their logos.
However, look at what has happened because of that similarity. Every designer across the world has spoken about the logo. A number of high-profile media channels, who previously may or may not have been interested in the brand, have profiled its rebrand, exposing the AirBnB brand to a much wider range of potential customers. Even Im talking about it with you here, whether or not you have ever heard of AirBnB. The free publicity is increadible, and a fantastic example of content marketing at its finest – where a conversation of interest moves of its own accord around the world.
So by making an “unconventional” choice in using a recognizable, on the boarder of clichéd shape, they have created a huge level of interest in the brand that wouldn’t previously existed. Will this brand last the test of time by taking this approach? That we don’t know yet.
2. Create an experience around your logo.
The other cheeky approach to this logo is that they are allowing anyone and everyone putting their spin on it. Often, brands are overly precious about their logos – it can only be used in certain places on the page, certain parts of the document, against certain backgrounds.
By creating a logo that anyone can play with, whether that’s with your finger on a frosted window, with a bendy straw or drawn into sand, you start creating an experience, something that everyone can be involved with and can identify with. This creates loyalty with your customers, as they feel a part of your brand and your branding.
Not only that, but this is another great example of content marketing – by having your customers create content for you, whether that’s an instagram post, a facebook status or a Pinterest pin; you are having a constant stream of potential customers exposed to your brand via association. You also have a constant stream of things to be talking about on your own social media platforms – it’s a win win.
- Turn any and all conversation about your brand into a positive outcome.
At the end of the day, from what Ive seen AirBnB have handled this entire experience with a huge level of class. They have taken every possible legal angle into consideration, handled the media critics and stuck by their new brand.
What they have done, is allow the content to run its course. They haven’t blocked the media from talking about the issue, and thus their brand has been exposed. They have allowed the content to speak for itself, to really tell the story.
And at the end of all of this, they will be remembered just as much for the classiness with which they handled the situation, and what a marketing triumph this has been, from something that would make other brands absolutely run for cover.
So overall? I think the entire AirBnB branding situation has been an absolutely well considered risk.
I believe it must have at least been partially planned, but more particularly, its been well handled and well executed.
At the end of it, haven’t you just spent 5 minutes reading about their brand, and aren’t you curious now to check out their website and product?
And doesn’t that mean that their logo has fulfilled its purpose?
What do you think of the logo? Do you feel connected to it, or do you think its been tarnished by the whole “copying” process? Let me know over on my Facebook page.
Designers, what is your two-cents on the issue? Tweet me @emdesignsau and let me know what you think!