New Airbnb Logo Generates Social Media Buzz – And Controversy
Airbnb made waves last week when they unveiled a new logo called “The Bélo,” a simple symbol intended to resemble a heart, a location pin, and the “A” in the company name. Taken together, all these elements are meant to evoke a sense of belonging, a concept that’s very important to the brand. However, almost immediately after the logo was revealed, the internet started buzzing with design junkies pointing out that the logo looked almost identical to that of software developer Automation Anywhere—or more alarmingly, certain parts of human anatomy.
Before the controversy, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky had been hoping that the new design would become a hallmark for the company, akin to the easily recognizable Lyft moustache, or the Dropbox opened boxes. The logo redesign was part of the company’s larger growth plans, which include a complete overhaul of their website, making it more user-friendly and visually appealing than its previous iteration.
Rebranding a company with brand recognition is always a big challenge, but when factoring public reaction into the mix – often all bets are off. Even the most thought out strategies supported by extensive consumer research can crumble under the scrutiny of the general public at the time of launch. Global companies including Tropicana and Gap have modified their brand identities after negative social media reaction.
Time will tell if the controversy over the Airbnb rebrand will fade out, or if the company will need to adapt their brand accordingly.