Revealing a new brand identity

As most people have already seen, Airbnb launched their new brand identity this past week including a redesigned logo and corresponding website. 

airbnb brand identity.jpg

This launch has led to a flurry of online conversation mocking the logo . . .

Even the Washington Post mentioned that it looks like a butt.

Airbnb has responded to the criticism by focusing on the strategic underpinnings that led to the logo’s design, the concept of Bélo or belonging.  This concept is the reasoning behind their new tagline, “Belong Anywhere.”

While the tweets, doodles and articles mocking the new logo are good for a chuckle, the question that remains is: How serious are the repercussions of these comments on Airbnb’s long-term brand value?  We all remember the comments Apple had to bear after the iPad was revealed with everyone from reporters at CNN to late night personalities cracking the iTampon joke.  Fast forward a few years and Apple continues to lead the category. The iTampon jokes are a distant memory if remembered at all.

Apple has a powerful and consistent brand identity with a strong naming strategy.  This identity helped to quickly overcome any negative associations with the iPad name. Apple follows guidelines that are important to remember for any name development or identity design. Identity elements, like names and logos, must reflect the overarching strategy for your brand and deliver uniquely upon your customers’ needs and desires. That consideration alone should act as your filter in determining what can be or should be the right choice for elements identifying your brand.

Great names and recognizable logos can sometimes feel strange, seem out of place or even cause you to feel uncomfortable at first look.  This seems to be the case for many when it comes to Airbnb. But let’s give “Bélo” a little bit of time to seep into the American culture. It may be right on the mark, and in hindsight, all the butt and other body part jokes about their logo may also become just faded memories.