HOW AIRBNB LEVERAGED VIDEO TO TELL ITS BRAND STORY
By ICX Media - May 04, 2018
A success story to learn from
Since its inception in 2008, Airbnb has prided itself on connecting with its customers and audience in unique ways. The company’s marketing strategies have run the gamut from “One Less Stranger” to “Belong Anywhere,” always with the emphasis on what the customer gets from a travel experience instead of what they’re selling. While being cognizant of their target audience’s interests, Airbnb successfully utilized video to tell its brand story and establish even greater credibility, customers, and market share.
But how exactly did they do that? They stayed true to their brand story and found innovative ways to incorporate it into video. Their dedication to being customer-centric and fully focused on people, instead of their product, is what makes their video marketing come alive and grab the viewer. From Airbnb Stories to the “Live There” campaign, the company has ingrained its brand into different forms of video, all of which appeals to their target demographic and tells the company’s story in a genuine way.
Stories from the Airbnb Community
Storytelling is a compelling means of explaining a brand story and making something intangible, such as a travel experience, tangible. On their Community Stories page, Airbnb features short videos that include real hosts who take the viewer around their town or city. Walking through the streets, visiting the local merchants, and hearing the passion behind the hosts’ voices about their neighborhood makes the viewer want to travel there immediately. It isn’t about selling a location or destination, but rather the viewer buys into wanting that experience of their own, which is what Airbnb is all about. Their brand story comes alive through these short videos because they highlight the nuances of different locations, uncover hidden gems, and remind the viewer of what the world has to offer. Who wouldn’t be inspired to travel after watching one of those videos?
Tessa, an Airbnb host from Camden Town, London, UK, walks us through her town in the short video below and her perspective and appreciation for her town make the video engaging and the location desirable. Camden Town is more than a location to Tessa; it’s her home.
In 2016, Airbnb launched their “Live There” initiative, which challenged people to not just visit different areas of the world, but to live like a local during their travels. They endorsed avoiding the tourist traps and encouraged staying in an apartment, cooking like a local would, and experiencing the culture in an authentic way. Not only did the idea correspond to the company’s brand story, but it solved a common travel problem: people don’t want to be considered tourists when they travel. In fact, Airbnb conducted a survey and found that 47% of travelers are not happy when they’re considered a tourist in a new place and 55% would like to combine tourist activities with local experiences.
Airbnb produced amazing videos that spoke to the “Live There” mentality and how by living instead of visiting where you travel makes your experience richer and more fulfilling. This is aligned directly with their brand and mission to make travel enjoyable, personal, and memorable. After watching the following “Live There” campaign video, it’s hard not to want to book a trip and dive into a new culture and live like a local.
Because Airbnb has instilled its brand story in its marketing efforts from the get-go, this push to not just travel, but live elsewhere comes across as natural and organic. It connects to the brand’s mission and supports what Airbnb wants to provide its customers.
Aside from these two video marketing campaigns, Airbnb utilized video to confirm their values and mission, addressing topics such as acceptance. This short clip powerfully instills the message that everyone belongs at Airbnb and no form of prejudice is allowed on their platform or from a travel experience.
The 1-minute video has limited text, but the images used to portray the myriad of people in the world resonates with the viewer and drives their point home more effectively than any blog or press release could ever hope to do. Again, diversity, inclusion, and acceptance are all inherent parts of the Airbnb’s brand story, so this feels genuine instead of ‘timely.’ Customers would expect this kind of message from the brand, which only strengthens its message and conviction.
Airbnb’s video campaigns serve many purposes, but they all tie back to the company in a relatable way. By weaving their brand values into every piece of content, especially video, they’ve built a strong foundation that people believe in and endorse. From a brand perspective, their equity and credibility in the marketplace are incredibly high and it is because they have remained true to their core brand story while showcasing it in different ways. Without video content, Airbnb’s brand would not be as strong or persuasive because video can do and say so much more than text or graphics alone. Airbnb truly understands that video evokes emotions and has capitalized on that in their video marketing efforts.