Away is a global lifestyle brand designing thoughtful objects for modern travel—it started with a single Carry-On and now includes an expanding line of travel essentials.
They aren't just talking about luggage, but about what you can do with your suitcase and where it can take you.
Having launched only two years ago, Away has reached hundreds of thousands of engaged customers, spreading brand awareness through Instagram and igniting the spirit of travel across the platform. Their key objectives on social include: promoting new product launches, sharing travel stories from its customers, reaching new customers and re-engaging existing ones, educating customers on product, and using it as a platform to garner feedback.
Early on, Away co-founder and Chief Brand Officer, Jen Rubio, keenly identified the role that Instagram would play in building brand awareness. An expert in brand storytelling herself, Jen was an early adopter of Instagram, even claiming the handle @jennifer on the platform. Under Jen's guidance, Away launched their Instagram account to engage new audiences (that traditional marketing or advertising tactics might not otherwise reach), and provide context around Away as a travel brand by sharing content from its unique perspective.
Since then, Instagram has become an entry point for people to discover Away (it's the second most common behind friend referrals), resulting in a following of more than 190k on the platform, a factor that has contributed heavily to Away's acquisition of new customers and business growth.
Before Away launched, luggage companies were talking about their products' features, but none were talking about the actual travel experience. At Away, they know that the difference between a good product and a good brand is emotion, and that context is everything. It's why—from the beginning—the brand has positioned itself as one that's inspiring people to think about everything they could do with the suitcase, and has identified creative ways to inspire more people to travel.
Away has grown its customer base significantly in just two years of being in business by using Instagram to drive brand awareness, showcase their company culture, provide broader context around Away as a travel brand through storytelling, and maintain a direct line of communication with their followers. Types of content that Away incorporates to achieve this include: behind the scenes footage from campaign shoots, destinations that inspire new collections, and video interviews with various team members at Away.
Specifically, user generated content is particularly important in driving Away's strong community. Away's IG grid and stories incorporate photos of Away bags taken by customers around the world, both from influential ambassadors and everyday travelers who tag #travelaway, a hashtag displayed inside Away product packaging. In fact, hundreds of the images on Away's account are user-generated, resulting in a much farther reach and engagement rate for these posts. Away has encouraged this behavior of sharing by re-posting follower photos since the early stages of the account, even when Away only had a few hundred followers.
An important aspect of Away's Instagram strategy is also partnering with various influential ambassadors. Influencers will "takeover" Away's IG for a day during specific activations, and in advance of any product releases, Away provides product to these influential ambassadors. This allows Away to gather unique content that can also be shared on Away's IG in support of the launch, while simultaneously announcing the collaboration directly to each of these ambassadors' unique audiences.
Instagram is also a key tool in Away's community management. Content is posted on the platform to proactively demonstrate relevant customer information about Away products such as: virtual walkthroughs of Away stores, proper techniques to clean the suitcases, or tips for efficiently using the compression pad. IG is a crucial platform for fielding customer inquiries by swiftly and thoughtfully replying to comments or direct messages, and therefore creating a constant feedback loop between the Away team and customers, central to its direct-to-consumer model.
This kind of real-time back and forth allows Away to incorporate customer feedback into decisions and quickly implement any changes, whether it's a request to bring back a popular limited edition color or confusion with searching for an item on awaytravel.com. Instagram is a direct channel of communication between Away and their followers, which ultimately provides depth and accessibility to the brand for their community. Through social, Away can gather a clear understanding of customer needs and react to them, something that ultimately forms lasting brand loyalty.
In just two years, Away has amassed an Instagram following of more than 190,000. In 2017, Away's Instagram garnered significant engagement, with some posts reaching up to 17.8%, and a reach of 148,350 people. Away's total Instagram reach for 2017 was 11.7M with an average reach of 27.6k and average reach rate of 24.6%.
Away was also named one of "5 Breakthrough Brands With Ingenious Marketing in 2017" by Adweek, was listed on Newscred's "Top 50 Awards for Content Marketing of 2018", and was announced as a winner of Fast Company's 2018 list of the "World's Most Innovative Companies".
Away's fan base includes a celebrity following to the likes of: Emily Ratajkowksi, Karlie Kloss, the Haim sisters, Dwyane Wade, Jessica Alba, and Rashida Jones (which also led to a limited edition product collaboration in August 2017). Away has sold more than 300,000 suitcases and, in 2017, launched their first pop-up hotel, Chez Away, and opened four standalone profitable brick and mortar locations in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Austin.
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