In July 2014, Airbnb introduced the rebrand, as well as a redesign of its mobile app and website. Chesky explained the concept in a cerebral, high-minded essay on Airbnb’s website: A long time ago, he wrote, cities used to be villages. But as mass production and industrialization came along, that personal feeling was replaced by “mass-produced and impersonal travel experiences,” and along the way, “people stopped trusting each other.”
Cofounder Nathan Blecharczyk is Airbnb’s CTO, but his role has broadened over the years. He’s also a host: He has had 178 guests in his home in the past two years. Airbnb, he wrote, would stand for something much bigger than travel; it would stand for community and relationships and using technology for the purpose of bringing people together. Airbnb would be the one place people could go to meet the “universal human yearning to belong.”
Excerpt from How Airbnb Found a Mission—and a Brand by Leigh Gallagher in Fortune
I remember when Airbnb’s new brand launched in 2014. I watched their video and made fun of their new logo with my friends. You probably did too. It turns out, their brand is no laughing matter. It’s brilliant. Let me explain.
The brand answers a longing that we didn’t know we had. It invites you into a place that feels like home, even though you’re away from home. At it’s best, it introduces you to hosts that welcome you like you’re a close friend visiting for a long weekend. You can even text with them.
Airbnb’s brand offers you the opportunity to trust again; in your host and in the Airbnb community. More times than not, that trust is rewarded. At least that’s been my experience whenever my wife and I vacation. We use Airbnb almost exclusively.
Why does this matter to you?
Your business has a brand; whether you’ve been intentional about it or not. Airbnb’s brand is a reminder to ask a simple question: What longing, desire, or deep need does my brand fulfill?
There are likely hundreds of other businesses that sell the same thing you do, just like there are hundreds of places where I could book a room for my next vacation. I’ll choose Airbnb because it gives me the opportunity to trust my host and have an experience I could never get in a hotel, experiencing the city I’m visiting as if I lived there. Why will your customers choose you?