Upstart luggage company Away caters to a digitally-native, constantly connected market. Its signature travel luggage comes equipped with an ejectable battery so travelers need never again search for a charging station in a busy terminal. The bags have become part of the uniform for hip, smart Instagram-happy travelers, in much the same way that Casper is the new mattress for this generation.
So it makes perfect sense that they are now publishing their own print magazine.
“Jen Rubio, president and chief brand officer at Away, recently said onstage at Brandweek that the luggage company started publishing Here Magazine after noticing that people were calling its customer-service line looking for travel tips,” writes Sara Jerde in Adweek.
“The worst-case scenario, Rubio imagined, was that the magazine would become a ‘great travel blog. The best-case scenario? It would be a ‘stand-alone media division that’s generating revenue, generating profit for the company,’” according to Jerde.
They hired an in-house editorial team to create the new Here Magazine, and the company is tucking a copy into every piece of luggage sold. For their ad partners, it’s an absolute slam dunk in terms of reaching the right market.
“We had an amazing distribution platform because it’s going in the suitcase, so it means that anyone who’s buying it has a certain amount of income, is about to travel, and we knew exactly who the demographic it was going to because we were a direct-to-consumer company and these are our customers,” Rubio said.
Away and its Here Magazine is the latest in a string of young, hip companies to launch in print, as Jerde explains.
Mattress company Casper launched Wooly last fall (after their digital magazine Van Winkle’s sort of came and went – the irony of a digital magazine designed to promote healthy sleep was just too big an obstacle I believe.) Dollar Shave Club joined the print club with Mel Magazine. And of course, Airbnb has partnered with Hearst to create some data alchemy in their print title Airbnbmag.
What gives? Why are these young, hip companies so keen to explore print? Adam Alter, associate professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business says it’s about establishing a brand identity quickly.
“Today, the quickest way to establish your brand is often by sharing content, by producing stand-alone content in the form of blog posts and images that are curated to showcase your brand, so it appeals to the consumers you’re targeting,” Alter told Jerde.
“A successful brand magazine,” Jerde continues, “could bring in advertising dollars and attract new subscribers to mailing lists. Once a company has that email, it could be used for promotional purposes and notifications about new product launches.”
Times change. Products change, and lifestyles change. But what these young companies seem to understand is that there is something about the printed magazine experience that cannot be replicated. And that makes it the basis of a sound marketing strategy.