The Symbolism Of Airbnb

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Various elements of the brand strategy, such as the role of emotion, brand equity and brand identity, are interdependent on each other. Change of one element results in changes in another, but the consistency of all can build a strong brand. Brands can be divided into two categories, functional brands and symbolic brands. Airbnb does not only provide a platform for hosts and guests to interact, it also has a grand mission and vision to build a more inclusive community. As a symbolic brand, the use of symbolism is of importance in strategy. A look on the symbolism of the brand Airbnb and its relation to consumer, corporate and society will be developed in the following paragraphs.

The term “symbolism” is related to different disciplines of
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When people talk about the brand image, they will associate the symbolic meaning of the brand as well. The uniqueness of the symbolic meaning helps the brand differentiate from other competitors, it serves as a motivation to stimulate customers’ purchase decision. Airbnb targets at users who have a room/apartment to spare and who wants to book accommodation. Apart from this basic prerequisite, Airbnb’s potential users are people who are open-minded, who enjoys meeting new people and making new friends, who are curious about learning other cultures, who want to seek unique travel experience, who are daring to jump out of the mainstream of living in hotels or hostels, who believe in the goodness in human nature, who want to live like a local, who want the feel of belonging… The aforementioned characteristics are the symbolic meaning of Airbnb, which capture some of the shared status or aspirations among a large amount of people. According to Timothy (1996), degree of similarity between a brand’s image and a customer’s image can greatly influence how they evaluate the brand and even purchase decision. That is to say, consumers tend to choose symbolic brands that is in accordance with their perceived self. But if consumers are not satisfied with their current true self, they can project an ideal self and attain it through consumption. And thus, the symbolic meaning of Airbnb and its brand image is not only appealing to those who have those characteristics, but also to those who like to attain those characteristics. Using Airbnb means they support its symbolic meaning in most cases, and by consuming they integrate those symbolic meanings into their own. Competitors like hotels or hostels do not own the same symbolic meaning, and thus customers who are attracted by
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