I recently stumbled upon Airbnb’s new magazine, Airbnbmag, while at the grocery store. I was intrigued that they had launched a magazine and picked up a copy. I was glad I did! I actually really enjoyed reading the issue and it highlighted an important branding and marketing lesson.
Showcase Core Values
While it seemed like a weird thing to do — after all, why would a tech company launch a magazine — it’s actually the perfect way for Airbnb to extend their brand messaging and to continue to showcase their core values to their community.
At its surface, Airbnb may just look like a tech company but they want you to know that it’s about way much more than that for them. They want their audience to know that they care about the human connection that traveling brings and that at its core, Airbnb is about building community.
The mission for the magazine is to bring out the human stories from around the globe, infused with local flavor. All of which fits right into Airbnb’s overall goal of helping people to book unique homes and experience a city like a local.
The magazine also allowed you to take an up close and personal look at the founder, Brian Chesky, and learn what he cares about. He writes in his Letter From The Editor about the importance of people and how travel is a wonderful way of connecting us to one another. He has a feature where he travels to different parts of the world and interacts with Airbnb owners and locals. If you didn’t already know that Chesky cares about building a community of people who love experiencing the local, authentic side of travel destinations, you do now. It’s a perfect example of how a founder’s personal values impact and shape the core values of a brand.
Lastly, the magazine is a way to create some goodwill for the company. In recent years, Airbnb has faced serious issues around racism and discrimination occurring with owners on their app. By launching a magazine that showcases a diverse array of people and experiences, they’re doubling down on their position against discrimination and attempting to walk their talk when it comes to diversity.
When it comes to marketing and branding, it’s easy to fall into familiar ideas of what brands should be doing. Airbnbmag is a perfect example of thinking outside of the norms and finding other ways to connect with an audience and share the brand’s values with them. I’m sure that their perfect target audience loves the idea of a travel magazine that is giving them a more unique and intimate taste of what to do while traveling. And they’ll absolutely remember to book with Airbnb when doing so.
What unique ways could you do the same with your brand?