THE SHARING ECONOMY’S MARQUEE STARTUP Airbnb recently unveiled a new brand identity and positioning to help propel its international expansion. Airbnb’s new wordmark and logo nicknamed “the Bélo” is said to have been the culmination of a year-long process, including a cross-cultural analysis to ensure their identity would be understood around the world.
Exhaustive branding efforts are unusual among pre-IPO Silicon Valley companies. For years they’ve leaned on primary colors, gradients and rounded fonts, default signifiers of fun and friendliness that negate the staid formality of the more conventionally-minded business world, attempting no greater meaning than “this is not your father’s corporation.” Even Google only starting taking its brand semi-seriously in 2010, six years after it went public.
In keeping with their self-identity as midwives of emancipation and utopia, the industry has historically relied on the form of the manifesto over the logo as its preferred vehicle for communicating with the public. In works like A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, The Cluetrain Manifesto, The Wealth of Networks and Here Comes Everybody, writers have found success marketing Silicon Valley in populist terms. By conflating political action and market transaction, they are able to claim that their products are no mere trifling gadgets or mundane information processors, but serve a higher purpose.
via The Cult of Sharing.