Many companies have humble origins. Invoice Gates constructed Microsoft out of an Albuquerque storage, whereas Airbnb started with three air mattresses on the ground of a San Francisco loft.
It’s within the nature of success that it takes you away out of your roots. However when your model id is wrapped up in your origin story, development presents a strong problem to the elemental values your model is understood for.
That is the state of affairs has Airbnb discovered itself in. Not an business disruptor, however an business big, Airbnb has almost outgrown its origin story. So it’s reintroducing us to Rooms: staying with a bunch, and reestablishing human connection because the soul of Airbnb.
Rising Pains or Identification Disaster
Airbnb’s astronomic rise offers a captivating case research in model id, and to an extent they’ve been a sufferer of their very own success. They began out as a disruptor to the standard lodging business and their peer-to-peer lodging mannequin regarded set to shake up the resort business and make journey extra artistic, reasonably priced, and community-based than ever earlier than.
However the platform made it extremely straightforward to lease out your complete house, not only a single room inside it. And slowly, Airbnb grew into the very factor it stood in opposition to at its outset — a platform for self-catered lodging, streamlined and classy, certain, however not so completely different out of your common, faceless vacation lodging supplier.
After all, this has not often impacted their income, and the company even posted its first profitable Q1 this year. However income is one factor, model is one other. And this transformation posed critical challenges to their model id.
Undoubtedly, Airbnb was outgrowing its model. If not addressed, this might create an id disaster that undermines the entire enterprise. An incoherent id confuses clients, eradicating the emotional tether to your small business and permitting rivals to vie for his or her loyalty.
That’s why the rebranding of Airbnb Rooms, and emphasizing the connection to host and neighborhood, is a genius transfer. It’s a preemptory rebrand that heads off points of brand name id down the road.
With Small Business Digital Ready, you gain access to free events hosted by industry experts. Plus, get opportunities to network with peers in your area.
A Return to Roots: Neighborhood and Authenticity
So right here’s what Airbnb has accomplished: they’ve introduced Rooms to the forefront of their enterprise mannequin, giving it a recent rebrand that emphasizes Airbnb’s origin story.
Rooms was Airbnb’s unique product, supplied lengthy earlier than the positioning’s suppliers might set free their complete house. It by no means left the positioning, however as customers most popular the privateness of renting an entire house, its significance light.
And in a video launching the rebrand, they’ve accomplished every part proper to emphasise the values of authenticity and neighborhood that have been on the coronary heart of the unique Airbnb.
The video introduces us to CEO Brian Chesky, internet hosting a pair at his house. “I felt like this isn’t the Airbnb CEO’s home, that is our new good friend and host for the weekend,” they inform the digicam.
Brian’s welcoming and private air is on the coronary heart of this rebrand, and who higher than the CEO to embody the human connection that Airbnb is attempting to inject into its platform?
Alongside the rebrand of Rooms, Airbnb has launched the “Host Passport” characteristic, letting visitors get to know their hosts earlier than they keep. It’s a wise transfer, that seeks to undermine the awkwardness of staying in another person’s house.
The Host Passport turns the human interplay of a visitor staying with host from a weak spot right into a energy and places neighborhood on the coronary heart of the Rooms product.
Airbnb is not a disruptor, it’s an business influencer, and with Rooms they’re in search of to reclaim an authenticity that connects with their customers. That is particularly vital because the enterprise leans on a youthful demographic for whom authenticity is a key worth in manufacturers they belief.
Resolving Ache Factors
In addition to being an on-brand transfer that highlights their authenticity and disruptor credentials, pivoting to put internet hosting because the soul of Airbnb additionally solves numerous buyer ache factors and wider points that the enterprise has confronted lately.
Within the means of blurring the road between non-public residence and vacation house, Airbnb created a brand new market that they couldn’t fairly management. Cities grew to become more and more Airbnb-ified as conventional housing inventory transitioned into lodging for vacationers. Whereas the true influence of this on lease and inequality is up for debate, it’s actually been a supply of dangerous publicity for the model.
And clients are more and more discovering the Airbnb expertise no extra hospitable than the standard self-catering mannequin. Inflated costs, extreme guidelines, and over-the-top cleansing charges have driven some consumers again into the welcoming arms of the resort business.
Re-emphasizing Rooms is a strong branding transfer for Airbnb, but it surely additionally tackles numerous challenges the enterprise faces. It evades short-term rental legal guidelines being launched to fight whole-home letting and makes the Airbnb expertise extra reasonably priced, personable and hospitable for its customers.
The SuN Takeaway
Given the emphasis on Airbnb’s unique function, perhaps rebrand is the flawed phrase for Rooms. It’s not a brand new branding path a lot as reclaiming an previous one — again branding, moderately than rebranding. There’s an vital lesson in right here for each enterprise proprietor: development and authenticity can discover themselves at odds, and with out a coherent story in your complete business trip, you would possibly find yourself outgrowing your model and alienating your clients.
That is one purpose that companies lean on retro or nostalgic model id, like Burger King’s 2021 emblem redesign, emphasizing a return to less complicated elements and less complicated occasions. However a rebrand that looks backward has to be authentic. Inserting CEO Brian Chesky, who’s been round because the very starting, on the coronary heart of the rebrand ensures that clients can see that this actually is about Airbnb’s roots.
So even whereas your focus is on the place your model goes, don’t lose sight of the place you got here from. Your origin story may very well be the important thing to a continued connection along with your clients.