Rebranding the world’s most compelling hospitality idea.

On the 16th July 2014, Airbnb trended on twitter for 8 hours. The launch of the rebrand had created a global conversation, making this date the biggest day in Airbnb’s history.

A year earlier in July 2013 we embarked on a year long partnership to change the Airbnb brand and help them realise their vision of becoming the world’s first community super brand. Working in close collaboration with the company at all levels, the rebrand touched every aspect of the business.

This opportunity was presented to us as a chance to shape the way the world views travel, hospitality and sharing. We set out to create a unique process which resulted in a new visual brand and reimagined their digital products.

You guys had got so deep into the work – you literally unlocked and inspired us about what was possible.

Brian Chesky – CEO and co-founder, Airbnb

Understanding the culture.

To fully understand the Airbnb community and brand, we conducted an in-depth immersion process that involved four agency members visiting 13 cities, across four continents. They stayed with 18 hosts and recording every aspect of their stay. We also interviewed more than 120 employees and placed half of our project team at Airbnb’s San Francisco HQ for 3 months.

Belong Anywhere.

Our creative strategy was deeply informed by the insights found in the immersion. In particular, we found that when people come into contact with Airbnb they typically have a strong, emotional sense of purpose and affection for the community they’re a part of, yet this spirit wasn’t being communicated through the brand.

We looked to address this by working with the Airbnb team to develop a new proposition for all internal and external audiences; “Belong Anywhere.” This proposition informed every aspect of the new global brand identity.

Creating a marque anyone could draw.

Part of our goal was to design a marque anyone could draw – something that transcended language and formed the foundation of the new brand. The marque, named Bélo, encompasses values of belonging and is imbued with four meanings of People, Places, Love and Airbnb.

The marque is also used as a community symbol that can be expressed differently by each community member and in every listing – it is not bound by language, culture or location. The end result is a symbol we hope people feel compelled to share, one that accepts we are all different, one to wear with pride. Our long term aim is to create a universal symbol for Airbnb.

DesignStudio were inspired by our culture as much as we were inspired by their process.

The team is incredibly collaborative and flexible. They opened up their creative process and let us in, and ultimately the close partnership led to the best possible solution for the Airbnb brand and community.

Andrew Schapiro – Head of Brand Creative, Airbnb

Building the community.

The story continues, we work on with Airbnb helping develop community platforms to bring together the global voice of the community.


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