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Now that Airbnb and Uber have firmly established themselves, their marketers are looking at ways to ensure they’re taken seriously.
Top marketers at Uber and Airbnb in Australia want their brands to be seen as more than just disruptors of the taxi and hotel industries.
Speaking on a panel hosted by Marketo in Sydney earlier this month, Benjamin Hallam, head of marketing at Airbnb, said now that home sharing is a familiar concept in the Australian market, his attention is shifting to brand longevity.
“We are past the disruption phase…we want to shake that off and move more around the longevity of what we are here to do,” Hallam said.
“For us as a brand in this market – Australia is the second-largest Airbnb market in the world – I think now we have to move from awareness to what are the long term benefits of Airbnb.”
Hallam said although millennials are “super comfortable” with Airbnb, the company is focusing on building that same relationship with families and grey nomads.
Airbnb wants customers to have an emotional connection to its brand, Hallam said, to match its online product experience.
“For us, brand and product are super important,” he said.
“I think any traditional company that just goes ‘we have to go straight after digital’ and leaves the heritage behind is just as wrong as a digital brand coming in and saying ‘our product is great so we are just going to focus on that’.”
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Similarly, Uber wants to be seen as more than just an upstart that annoys taxi drivers.
“Uber is always put in the disruption bucket. We are looking ahead now to the impact we can have in the cities that we are in,” AJ Tills, senior marketing manager at Uber, said during the same panel discussion.
“That comes by both knowing or guessing what customer’s problems are going to be in the future. Ultimately brands need to be creating great experiences by being close to their customer and then reacting quickly.”
Earlier this year Uber announced it is sharing the data it has accumulated with urban planners to help them better manage transport resources to match demand. It’s also mapping Australian streets to build its own street data and reduce its reliance on third-party maps.
Tills said Uber is exploring how to make the experience during an Uber ride more personalised and relevant based on where the rider is going, what time of the day it is and how long the trip is going to take.
“More and more we are looking at what kind of experience we can create in-app,” Tills said.
“If someone is going into the business district in the morning and has a 10-minute trip, can we serve them up an article they might be interested in? If they are going to a suburb that they might not have been to before, can we show them a list of cafes or restaurants that they might be interested in? There are different kinds of experiences like that which we are looking at to create that more personalised experience.”