Beyond the New Logo, Here's Why You Must Learn from Airbnb. By Yeoh Siew Hoon Thursday, 24th July 2014
There’s been lots written about the new Airbnb logo: some have panned it, some have mocked it, comparing it to bits of the human gentitalia and some have applauded it;
But beyond the logo change, there’s something bigger happening, something that we in travel should watch carefully.
With its new logo, Airbnb is trying to own the word “belonging”. It calls the new logo, Belo, “the universal universal symbol of belonging, as travellers seek a more intimatediscovery of the destinations they visit, as compared to the moretouristy experiences”.
"Belonging” is a very powerful idea. Not only does it move Airbnb one step ahead of the “sharing” economy it pioneered but it taps into an innate human desire to want to belong – “belong anywhere”, as Airbnb is promising.
I recall the late Dame Anita Roddick of Body Shop speaking about this idea in the 90s and it was this she tapped into when she came up with her message for the brand she created.
She said that cosmetics on their own didn’t really work but what she wanted to do was give women hope and a sense of belonging – that by buying Body Shop products, they were buying into the cause of “against animal testing”.
And here’s Brian Chesky’s, (below, image credit: Airbnb) founder and CEO of Airbnb, view of the future. (I took this paragraph from this latest article written by New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman.)
The 20th-century economy was powered by big corporations that standardized everything because they never really knew their customers, argued Chesky.
“The 21st-century economy will be powered by people” — where the buyers all have identities and the producers all have personal reputations — “so I will be able to sell something directly to you and delight you and surprise you, and the selection you’ll be able to choose from won’t be 4 but 4,000,000.”
Now last November, I just happened to catch Friedman and Chesky together on stage and it is evident that Friedman is a fan of the Airbnb model.
To him, the real innovation from Airbnb was to create a platform of “trust” – “where everyone could not only see everyone else’s identity but also rate them as good, bad or indifferent hosts or guests. This meant everyone using the system would pretty quickly develop a relevant “reputation” visible to everyone else in the system.”
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