PR Mistakes – Branding and Crisis Lessons from Airbnb

By Mark Macias

Airbnb has a powerful brand but its leadership team is making a crucial mistake that has the potential to destroy its revenue model.

I recently wrote an editorial for Luxury Daily that took a behind-the-scenes look at how the home sharing service is losing the media war.  Here’s a quick look at the 5 PR and branding mistakes Airbnb is making. Entrepreneurs and marketing executives can learn a lot from it.

Branding and Crisis Lessons from Airbnb

1) Allows the competition to define the narrative

It is not a coincidence that laws banning Airbnb are all similar. They are likely written by the lobbyist after the hotel trade industry makes large campaign donations.

2) Muddles the message.

Rather than going with a strong defense that explained the weaknesses of that report, the Airbnb PR team muddled the message.

3) Needs more positive features

Rather than defending itself, the Airbnb PR team should be explaining how the company is helping the community.

4) Must Compete on a higher level

All politicians are elected with the help of campaign donations. If I was leading Airbnb’s PR team, I would devote a team to researching these politicians who are actively attacking Airbnb.

5) Needs more transparency

Airbnb needs to identify better features that demonstrate how the company is helping the community. That should be a pretty easy story to sell.

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Finance Monthly and ACQ5 5 – an international industry award – named Macias PR the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year – USA. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark MAcias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.