THE REBIRTH OF TRAVEL
Tourism in China has been the single most booming industry in recent years, matching a behavioural and aspirational shift from mechanic mass tourism to independent, meaningful travel. Airbnb has been since 2008 one of the most disruptive travel brands at global scale, and has lately set their eyes on the world’s largest travel population. For a brand like Airbnb, China represents the opportunity to bring a unique travel philosophy to local realities.
Given China's extremely competitive landscape in the home sharing category, which is led by local players, Labbrand understood that a comprehensive and innovative approach to Airbnb’s identity localization was needed. We articulated a process that integrated our scientific approach to branding with Airbnb’s unique essence to shape a local verbal and visual identity that stays true to the global brand.
A NAME THAT SPEAKS TO THE HEART
Airbnb considers it to be their mission to create a world where all 7 billion people can belong anywhere. In 2014, they launched a new visual identity with a unique brand symbol, the Bélo, that represents love, people and places; an embodiment of Airbnb’s brand essence. This element of their identity needed to also help convey their brand meaning in Chinese, something which cannot be achieved by the English brand name: the brand name Airbnb’s original meaning “airbed and breakfast” is powerful for its historical importance but it might not describe their evolution as a brand.
Working closely with San Francisco and China teams, we embarked on finding a Chinese brand name that could communicate Airbnb’s philosophy while allowing the brand to grow beyond home sharing. We kicked off the creative process by aligning on the strategic and creative implications of the Chinese brand name creation, as well as the key criteria to evaluate all name creations.
Meaning “Welcome Each Other with Love”, the chosen brand name 爱彼迎 [ài bǐ yíng] perfectly conveys Airbnb’s unique brand vision.These three characters symbolize love (爱), people (彼) and places (迎), and when combined deliver the essence of the brand. On both a language and conceptual level, the Chinese name aims to express “belonging” in a human, warm tone to Chinese travelers.
AN INSPIRING IDENTITY TAILORED FOR CHINA
Afterwards, Labbrand worked with Airbnb to integrate the new Chinese name into the brand signature, for which we not only customized the individual Chinese characters to match Airbnb’s English wordmark, but also identified the optimal proportions to ensure readability in all sizes and devices – this being essential for an online brand.
Having set new principles for the application of this signature, Airbnb then commissioned Labbrand to create comprehensive visual guidelines for their China identity, to guide all future brand applications.
Aibiying stood out amongst over 1000 names after comprehensive linguistic checks as well as qualitative and quantitative research. Meaning ‘Welcome Each Other With Love’, this name conveys Airbnb’s brand vision of creating a global community connected through love and a world where everyone can belong anywhere.
Labbrand is proud to have worked with Airbnb in the creation of 爱彼迎. The powerful message delivered by 爱彼迎 conveys in a clear way what Airbnb’s mission is to Chinese travelers.
Airbnb China’s identity represents a clear evolution on the branding level, as it not only marks the brand’s confident expansion into the China market, but more importantly, it signifies a meaningful evolution of Airbnb as a distinctive brand on the global level.
With a wider portfolio, Airbnb will continue to spread a new travel philosophy beyond home-sharing; one that focuses on local realities and belonging.