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Special Project

Special Project
From the 10th Annual Shorty Awards


Finalist in Consumer Brand


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 Twitter and igniting the spirit of travel across these platforms. 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 social media would play in building brand awareness. An expert in brand storytelling herself, Jen was an early adopter of Instagram and Twitter, even claiming the handle @jennifer on both platforms. Under Jen's guidance, Away launched their social accounts 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, social media has become a entry point for people to discover Away (Instagram being the second most common behind friend referrals), resulting in an almost 200k social following, a factor that has contributed heavily to Away's acquisition of new customers and business growth.

Strategy and Execution

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 uses social media to drive brand awareness, provide broader context around Away as a travel brand through storytelling, and maintain a direct line of communication with its community. As a new business (two years old in February 2018), Away has grown it's following and customer base significantly, in part, by using Instagram and Twitter.

One way that Away uses social media is to highlight brand activations and campaigns for new product launches. On Instagram, for example, posts might include UGC from Away customers around the world, stories taken at launch parties, or behind the scenes footage from creative campaign shoots. On Twitter, the brand announces product or collaboration launch news and promotes recent Away press coverage.

One of the most important functions of Away's social accounts—and one that drives significant customer growth is using these platforms to create context around Away as a travel brand vs. just one that sells luggage. Instagram has been an especially useful tool for this as they've been able to encourage UGC. Away receives photos of their suitcases from all over the world from both influential ambassadors and everyday travelers who post and tag #travelaway. Away incorporates this content on their IG account and, in fact, hundreds of Away's photos and stories 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.

Away also uses social as a community management tool by incorporating content on Instagram and Twitter 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 and Twitter are crucial platforms for Away to field 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 Instagram and Twitter are direct channels 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 a combined following across both social media platforms of almost 200,000. 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's top performing tweet of 2017 had 23,321 impressions.

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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