Skift Take

Travel brands are increasingly standing up for the values they share with their customers—and are finding that doing so offers new ways to connect. Brands with an authentic voice make the greatest impact as the market continues to reward the risk takers.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

If you’ve been paying attention to brand messaging in 2017, you’d likely agree that more and more, brands are taking a stand and defending the values that matter to themselves and their customers. This hasn’t happened in a vacuum—our heightened political climate has shown customers that standing up for what they believe in matters more now than ever.

By having authentic values, a company can react in real time to cultural moments, drive consumer dialogue and grow its profile. Such opportunities for meaningful engagement turn marketing into an organic enterprise of connecting communities as well as driving positive social impact.

Airbnb, for instance, demonstrated the power of its purpose when it offered free accommodation to people affected by the travel ban, and again when it canceled several bookings associated with the August white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The company doubled down on its values in a head-turning, diversity-celebrating Super Bowl commercial, and in its commitment to provide short-term housing for 100,000 refugees, natural-disaster victims, and aid workers over the next five years.

Doing the Human Thing

This embrace of social consciousness is in line with what many travelers are looking for: new perspectives on the world, connection to others, and a glimpse of the potential for a better future. The best marketers intuitively know how to humanize the brand experience and drive the emotional connection a consumer feels for a brand.

Immersive brand storytelling is an effective way for brands to show their values and stand out from the crowd. New technology is empowering brands to engage consumers like never before with innovative forms of storytelling, ranging from virtual reality and 360-degree video formats to personalized and tailored messaging—and consumers are listening. According to a June 2016 study from Yahoo, 52 percent of millennials watch branded video content at least once a week, and those numbers increase when the content is seamlessly delivered.

Through the confluence of entertainment and advertising, brands are becoming some of the best storytellers in the world. Combine engaging storytelling with an authentic, purpose-driven ideology, and the brand-consumer connection has never been stronger.

In an increasingly saturated content marketing landscape where capturing consumer attention is more challenging than ever, creating the content itself is only half the battle. Learn more about inspiring your audience through engaging storytelling here.

This content was created collaboratively by Oath and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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Tags: brand marketing

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