Creating the world’s first community-driven superbrand
When Airbnb approached us, the brand had outgrown its original identity and had become something much more meaningful. This growth signalled something more: Airbnb didn’t just need a new visual identity, it needed a brand. One that could express the vision of its founders and guide and support its business through exponential growth, and whatever the future may hold.
It became apparent that Airbnb’s line of ‘a place to stay’ was selling it short. Immersion into all things Airbnb – from its San Francisco headquarters to homes in 18 metro cities and villages around the world – revealed that our inklings were right: Airbnb is all about people and not about the places at all. The passion of its founders and the love and generosity of people around the world was changing the culture of travel with places and personal experiences unlike any other. Belonging the world over was Airbnb’s truth and its differentiator.
From our learnings and research we defined Airbnb’s brand mission as ‘Belong Anywhere’. This higher purpose gave Airbnb a clear reason for everything they did throughout the business. It all came from their focus on Belonging.
From this brand strategy we created a full brand identity. The ‘Belo’ logo sat at the heart; a symbol that represents Belonging, transcends language and is simple enough to be drawn by anyone.
The higher purpose of Belonging shifted the brand's language and messaging from location and price to focus on the warmth and welcome of no longer feeling like a tourist in an unknown place. Rather than showing a dreary room listing, photography and film boldly captured the real people and places that make these magical travel experiences and special connections possible.
“When I look at this brand, I suddenly realise everything I’ve been trying to say, now we have a way to express it.”
CEO & Co-Founder, Airbnb
As part of the brand overhaul, we moved our team to Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters to redesign its technology and digital experiences towards seamless global storytelling, wherever you are and whatever language you speak.
The Airbnb rebrand trended on Twitter, won a host of awards and is still globally recognised as category-defining. It also helped to propel Airbnb’s valuation to $29 billion above their closest competitor in less than four years. On its first day of trading at the end of 2020, Airbnb’s share price more than doubled the $68 per share price set for its IPO the day before. This gave it a market cap of about $86.5 billion, well beyond that of their biggest competitors.
‘Belong Anywhere’ shaped the brand but more importantly it unified and differentiated the business, giving Brian Chesky and his team a clear mission from which to grow. Internally, it’s embedded in every single part of the business – the decision-making lens that steers everything from HR and office design to CSR and partnerships.
Externally, it’s an icon. More importantly, however, the brand enables Airbnb to adventure, explore and do a whole lot more in the future.