Whilst it is now a given that technology has wholeheartedly altered the way that marketers do their jobs today, whether your brand is heard above the noise or not, is certainly another matter. I grew up in a world of outbound marketing, where intrusive advertising and continuous broadcast were the norm. Brands would essentially push their content everywhere, in the hope that their target market would take notice and purchase something. Thankfully, we have shifted to a place where brands are now making more of an effort to align quality content with the interests of their target market, attracting inbound traffic who will hopefully be dazzled and converted over time.
After all, content is king and like it or not, content is the currency of our lives right now. The amount of likes, shares, retweets, follows and/or subscribers, for many who participate in creating or sharing content, offers self-validation, social acceptance and reward. It is therefore no surprise that brands have cottoned on. Brands have worked out that if they can create shareable content that delights their target market, then their target market will act as messengers for them, sharing this content with likeminded friends, family, networks and/or colleagues they might not have otherwise had access to. One brand that does this particularly well is Airbnb.
Founded in 2008 and now worth 30 billion dollars, with 800,000 listings in close to 200 countries, Airbnb have made content their everything. For a community-driven brand whose mission is to ‘bring the world together’, they have created digital neighbourhoods, economic impact reports, such as the first Economic Impact Study on San Francisco in 2012, they made history when they released the world’s first crowdsourced vine and have created an interactive tool that invites customers to customise their logo for their own use. On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, Airbnb filmed the story of an Airbnb guest who travelled to Berlin for the first time since working as a guard during the Cold War. Thanks to its remarkable twist, the video received more than 5.7 million YouTube views in its first month online, showing us all the power of storytelling and the power of shareable content.
Above all, Airbnb know who they are, they know why they are here and they tell people why they should care over and over again with engaging and shareable content. They start with why. If you aren’t familiar with Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, then check out his 2009 TedTalk and you soon will be. For all these reasons and more, Airbnb are my chosen aspirational brand for 2018.