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5 insights from Airbnb’s art department

The ​latest ​chapter ​of ​Industrial ​Orientation ​Programme ​(IOP) ​had ​M.A.D. ​School ​student s​turning ​up ​at AirBnB’s​ doorsteps​ on ​the ​evening ​of ​December ​19th. ​


Exemplary ​hosts ​themselves, ​the ​Art ​department facilitated ​an ​insightful ​sharing ​on ​how ​is ​design ​an ​important ​business ​proposition ​in ​their ​company. “How​ does​ design ​lead ​people ​to ​trust ​the ​brand?” If ​we ​can ​summarise ​their ​formula ​for ​success, ​it ​would ​probably ​be ​how​ their ​attention ​paid ​to ​the ​smallest details​ pay ​off.


Here ​are ​5 ​of ​our ​key ​take aways ​from ​the ​friendly ​hosts​ this ​week:


Going beyond to stand by a value


It ​is ​one ​thing ​to ​have ​heard ​of ​Simon ​Sinek’s​ famous ​line: ​“People ​don’t ​buy ​what ​you ​do, ​they ​buy ​why ​you ​do it”, ​and ​quite ​the ​other ​to ​live ​it ​out ​as​ a ​company’s​ philosophy.


Belong ​Anywhere. ​How ​do ​you ​live ​it ​as ​a ​way ​of ​life? Rooting ​your ​organisation ​in ​values ​allows ​for ​greater ​flexibility ​in ​your ​products ​and ​services. ​


For ​example, AirBnb ​doesn't ​have ​to ​confine ​services ​to ​renting ​fixed, ​tangible ​spaces. ​A ​short ​but ​insightful ​day ​tour ​with ​a local ​can ​foster ​an ​authentic​ sense ​of ​belonging ​as​ well.


Spaces ​can ​be ​designed ​to ​belong, ​relationships​ can ​be ​designed ​to ​belong, ​experiences ​can ​be ​designed ​to belong. ​Another ​great ​example ​is ​Night ​At ​from ​Airbnb, ​whereby ​guests​ get ​to ​spend ​the ​night ​in ​places​ others can ​only ​dream ​of. ​


Be ​it ​Dracula’s​ castle ​or ​Denmark’s ​Lego ​theme ​park, ​the ​element ​of ​fun ​is​evident ​to ​truly enable ​anyone ​to ​belong ​anywhere.


Be at the right place, right time


Context ​is​ often ​the ​most ​overlooked ​detail ​of ​any ​marketing, ​advertising ​or ​design ​brief. ​How​ does ​your moment ​fit ​into ​the ​time ​frame, ​in ​that ​specific ​set ​up?​


An ​essential ​but ​challenging ​task, ​it ​is​ always​ good ​to plan ​according ​to ​the ​flow​of ​events​ as​ the ​year ​passes​by. As​ your ​creations​ and ​ideas ​are ​interconnected ​with ​other ​influences​and ​cultures, ​hardly ​anything ​lives ​in isolation ​today. ​


Hence, ​it ​is ​important ​to ​pay ​attention ​to ​how​your ​creations ​link ​and ​flow ​down ​to ​the ​call ​for action. ​AirBnB’s​ advertisement, ​#weaccept, ​received ​great ​feedback ​during ​the ​Super ​Bowl. ​


That ​was ​in conjunction ​with ​the ​political ​landscape ​at ​the ​point ​of ​time, ​with ​the ​public’s​ focus​ on ​Trump’s​ administration and ​ideals​ on ​acceptance. From ​a ​more ​technical ​viewpoint, ​it ​is​ always​ good ​to ​have ​a ​good ​mix ​of ​landscape/ ​human/ ​moment/ close-up ​scenes ​and ​shots ​to ​weave ​in ​an ​appropriate ​story ​in ​the ​given ​context. ​


Like ​an ​appetising ​salad ​bowl, the ​dressing, ​toppings ​and ​ingredients ​make ​up ​the ​eventual ​spoonful ​of ​delight.


Celebrate and lift people up

There ​can ​never ​be ​a ​stronger ​emphasis​on ​people, ​because ​they ​are ​the ​ones ​who ​make ​up ​your ​brand.


Numerous ​brands ​have ​been ​focusing ​on ​building ​intimacy ​with ​their ​customers, ​and ​this​ is ​even ​more important ​for ​a ​sharing ​platform ​like ​AirBnB.


Choosing ​to ​show​ a ​place ​through ​the ​eyes​ of ​the ​local ​community ​instead ​of ​the ​tourist’s, ​authenticity ​is​ the key ​trait ​that ​draws​people ​in.


The ​art ​of ​celebrating ​people ​requires​ a ​common ​touch ​point. ​


How​ can ​you ​help ​this​ individual ​to ​share ​their passion? ​What ​makes ​them ​feel ​special, ​and ​what ​sets ​them ​apart?


After ​deciding ​on ​the ​angle, ​it ​is ​easier ​to ​approach ​and ​make ​your ​targeted ​audience ​feel ​special. ​Driving ​from this ​train ​of ​thought, ​AirBnB ​did ​a ​collaboration ​with ​the ​well-loved ​Kpop ​star, ​G-Dragon, ​in ​2015. ​


5 ​lucky ​fans were ​chosen ​to ​visit ​his ​studio, ​and ​the ​star ​personally ​took ​part ​in ​designing ​their ​experience ​there.

Be aware of who and where you are

A ​well-known ​fact ​in ​marketing, ​a ​brand ​often ​has ​to ​be ​aware ​of ​who ​and ​where ​it ​stands. ​


As ​brands ​speak differently ​in ​different ​stages, ​it ​is​ crucial ​to ​be ​consistently ​engaged ​and ​conscious​ of ​the ​relationship dynamics ​between ​the ​brand ​and ​its​ consumers. ​


Branding ​is ​huge ​on ​people ​and ​culture, ​and ​shifts ​through strategies​ accordingly ​to ​the ​circumstance. In ​AirBnB’s ​case, ​they ​were ​aware ​of ​the ​different ​in ​brand ​exposure ​between ​differing ​demographics ​in ​places like ​California ​and ​China. ​


Therefore, ​the ​marketing ​strategies​ are ​vastly ​different. ​For ​China, ​AirBnB ​sees ​itself as ​a ​new​ entrant ​and ​started ​off ​with ​videos ​that ​introduce ​its ​brand ​name. ​


With ​the ​primary ​goal ​of ​simply letting ​its​ name ​stick ​on ​people’s ​minds, ​the ​video ​focused ​on ​the ​Chinese ​characters​ and ​is​dramatised ​by ​the use ​of ​sound ​and ​fast-paced ​editing.


They ​also ​approached ​local ​designers​and ​producers ​to ​create ​the ​marketing ​content, ​as ​these ​professionals bring ​in ​a ​unique ​understanding ​of ​their ​own ​country ​and ​cultural ​context. ​Being ​aware ​of ​where ​their branding ​stands, ​AirBnB ​was ​able ​to ​building ​on ​local ​expertise ​and ​ease ​into ​the ​market.

Use the past for the future

Because ​sometimes, ​growth ​can ​only ​be ​seen ​looking ​back. ​Leveraging ​on ​user ​insights​ and ​past ​data, ​a ​brand can ​successfully ​anticipate ​change ​and ​draft ​out ​the ​appropriate ​strategies​ according ​to ​the ​needs​ of ​the market.


For ​example, ​AirBnB’s​ #notyettrending ​project ​brings ​its ​global ​community ​to ​explore ​new ​locations. ​


Using past ​data ​to ​identify ​interests​and ​common ​points​ of ​why ​people ​love ​visiting ​a ​certain ​city ​or ​town, #notyettrending ​curates​ a ​series ​of ​new​ roads​ and ​new​ rivers ​for ​people ​to ​discover ​for ​themselves.

Conclusion: What makes AirBnB stands out?

All ​in ​all, ​AirBnB ​exudes​ confidence ​in ​knowing ​who ​their ​community ​is. ​Knowing ​what ​they ​like ​and ​where they ​dream ​of ​going, ​they ​strive ​to ​make ​the ​individual ​belong ​anywhere.


With ​an ​intentional ​focus​ on ​culture, ​both ​internally ​and ​externally, ​it ​is ​also ​particularly ​fascinating ​to ​note how ​people-centric​they ​are ​within ​their ​own ​organisation ​as ​well.


​Aligning ​base ​principles​and ​core ​values, ​it enables ​the ​platform ​to ​scale ​from ​one ​country ​to ​another, ​bridging ​millions​ across​the ​global ​landscape ​to ​live like ​a ​local.

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