Logos Mean More than You Think
It is shocking that companies do not seem to recognise the profound influence logos can have.
Airbnb, the home rental service and latest darling of Silicon Valley, launched a new logo in mid-July to much fanfare. As part of a rebranding campaign, the new logo was named Bélo and was said to signify people, places and love. But internet users saw something entirely different.
Gizmodo wrote that “The New Airbnb Logo Is a Sexual Rorschach Test For Our Time”! And the BBC reported that “Airbnb’s new logo faces social media backlash”. And the problem didn’t stop at internet users photoshopping the logo into all kinds of strange adaptations. It also emerged that Airbnb’s logo is almost identical to an existing one used by an IT company called Automation Anywhere. The two companies are apparently “working cooperatively to address the issue.”
Don’t just come up with a new logo, research it first!
The new Airbnb logo has stirred up a veritable hornets nest. Gizmodo yesterday wrote that “The New Airbnb Logo Is a Sexual Rorschach Test For Our Time”! And the BBC today reported that “Airbnb’s new logo faces social media backlash”.
Airbnb new logo on left and spoofs of it to the right!
This is not the first time that a company has goofed up when renovating or changing its logo. Some years ago, GAP attempted to change to a new logo but abandoned the effort when its new logo met with a fast and furious backlash on both Twitter and Facebook.
It surprises me no end that companies do not seem to recognize the profound influence that logos can have. For instance, even its shape can influence consumer judgments of the physical characteristics of the brand.
As an example, our research shows that angular logos lead consumers to make inferences about the hardness (inflexibility for services) and durability of the product or service associated with the logo. Rounded logos, however, lead consumers to infer that associated products or services are soft (customer responsive for services) and comfortable.
So, to all the companies contemplating refurbishing or changing their logo, please do your homework. Ask consumers what they associate with the new logo, whether they like it,… Going with internal opinions is like playing Russian roulette.