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From stylized video clips to long reads on local culture, luggage brands offer a surprising depth of content dedicated to honoring the exploration that their products make possible.
Did a brand that sells rolling bags for the airport really have so much to say?
Away’s suitcases feature a hard shell, build-in USB charger, and 360-degree roll, and at a $225 direct-to-consumer price tag, they are hesitant to box themselves into the luxury category. Co-founders Jen Rubio and Stephanie Korey use words like “aspirational,” “premium,” and “thoughtful” in their place.
“We never set out to create a luggage company, it was all about creating a travel brand,” says Rubio who recently explained to Skift how organically their multimedia content efforts began. It was at a meeting between the co-founders and soon-to-be editorial director Ally Betker where the ideas really started flowing.
“How can we tell the stories and how do we talk about travel the way that we think and create channels to do that?” they asked themselves.
The strategy started with a podcast aptly called Airplane Mode. The podcast explores travel through different lenses such a health, love or travel with the places featured prominently displayed.
Then came the blog Here. The stand-alone site aims to be a destination separate from awaytravel.com and features stories such as “What It’s Like to Really Be a Digital Nomad” and “Connecting Korea and Kentucky with Chef Edward Lee” from a team of contributors. The Here team released a print magazine in July as well.
So far, the team hasn’t set any goals in terms of traffic or sales, instead using the platforms as a way to articulate Away’s stance on travel and allow the creative team to find their bearings.
“What’s been really great is that we haven’t said this platform has to sell this many bags. It puts a lot of pressure on the editorial team to hit certain metrics and we wanted to create something that was true to our brand,” explains Rubio.
“That’s driven a lot of traffic and brand awareness and really let the editorial team figure out what they wanted. We are now setting goals to make them better and to expand reach and referral traffic.”
Their written content is also distilled into a quarterly magazine, which is placed inside every new purchase.
Moving ahead, Rubio and the team are looking at ways to tie the content into their offline presence.
“We have this editorial content and how do we tie that into our offline presence. These are all things that we are thinking about. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Meet that demand!”
How Legacy Brands Do Content
Away is far from the first luggage brand to tap into the unlimited content possibilities that come with operating in the travel space. Tumi has been in the game since 1975 and found success with its Global Citizen campaign, which has featured globally recognizable pros from race car drivers to actresses since 2014.
“Everything we do is through the lens of the Global Citizen and we’re trying to share how they are pursuing life,” explains Heather Gorman, VP of marketing and global support.
“Our customers are trailblazers.They are a confident, curious group and they give us the permission to go out and share stories about this unique cross-section of individuals involved in creative endeavors.”
Tumi’s video featuring Oklahoma City Thunder Point Guard and NBA 2017 MVP, Russell Westbrook, is their most successful campaign to date, says Gorman.
“We matched him up with a director we thought could really get his journey and vibe — timing was end of season, and he was about to welcome his first child — he wanted to be with the Oklahoma City community and family who supports him unequivocally.”
The synergies showed. The video hit 895 million impressions in 48 hours and 1.25 million views.
Gorman’s team considers several factors when measuring their success. There are campaigns such as 19 Degree campaign that can be measured in views, however, Gorman also considers engagement and sales with realistic expectations.
“On the marketing side, our main objective is growing awareness amongst a hyper-targeted audience to ensure that we’re sending qualified, highly convertible prospects into the store and online,” she explains.
“We are also fortunate to have a trove of amazing content to use from our community who tag @tumitravel — this is a crucial indicator not just of the emotional connection to the brand but more than anything the performance of the product.”
Another luxury brand capitalizing on the eagerness of their customers to share their journey, luggage included, is Ghurka.
The 40+ year old brand with high-quality leather bags provides a template on their website where customers can upload their own Ghurka stories. It’s something like a small Tumblr post for everyone to see.
Editor’s Note: Away was a sponsor at Skift Global Forum in September.