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Dueling Brand Personalities: Airbnb vs. Vrbo

Consumers gravitate toward certain brands like they gravitate toward people who share more in common with them. When it comes to buying products or services, consumers are drawn toward brands that embody similar characteristics to themselves or characteristics that they aspire to. Maintaining a coherent brand personality requires consistency, and a brand’s voice across all channels including a company’s website, social media accounts, and even press releases, should utilize content that consistently reflects the brand’s desired personality.

To demonstrate how to assess brand personality on social media, we captured the most recent 3,000 Twitter posts from two vacation rental marketplace company accounts: Airbnb and Vrbo. We aggregated the posts from each company and scored the language using Receptiviti’s Big 5 Personality framework to generate language-based personality assessments of each brand.

Brands’ objectives: Building community through communications

According to Airbnb, the company strives to instill a “sense of belonging” in their community of guests and hosts, and their mission is to “create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” Vrbo’s also seeks to create a sense of community, and the company’s recent branding updates included changing their logo to incorporate stripes, as the company states that the stripes symbolize “different people coming together.”

Clearly, both companies are attempting to convey similar personalities in their communications, but how effective are each of them in doing so? To help answer this question, we analyzed each using facets of the Big-Five personality model, and focused on Extraversion and Agreeableness, both of which are related to belongingness.

Approach and findings:

The analysis was simple to conduct. For each brand, we separately aggregated all original posts as well as each brand’s responses to comments within their posts. All the language for each brand was then combined into a single text and analyzed with the Receptiviti API.

Our point-in-time analysis showed that Airbnb’s language on Twitter is generally more extraverted—particularly more cheerful, friendly, and sociable—than Vrbo’s. Airbnb also conveys a more agreeable tone, coming across as more cooperative, trusting, and generous than Vrbo.

Alternative approaches to analyzing brand personality:

In addition to the example described in this post, there are other approaches that can be used to understand brand personality:

  • Consistency of brand: Compare a brand’s personality in their original tweets to their personality in responses to comments (to determine how brand voice is coming across when addressing customer feedback).

  • Changes over time: By aggregating social media posts by week or by month, it is possible to assess how a brand’s voice changes over time.

  • Beyond personality: Other language psychology measures, such as Receptiviti’s allure measure (which determines the degree to which a brand uses attention-grabbing language), can help assess brand voice.

Whether you’re a brand or a marketing and communications agency, Receptiviti can help with assessing the psychology and personality of brands and audiences. Contact us to learn more.

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