Published 4 April 2015 by Stora Enso
Airbnb is one of the biggest stars of the born-digital business scene. So why has it launched a print publication?
According to Fast Company magazine, Airbnb's publishing effort might seem a strange undertaking for the online accommodations marketplace, but actually it is a logical step in the company's plan to make its brand as omnipresent in the real world as it is online.
Airbnb explains that the print magazine, Pineapple, is a physical leap from online content to a tangible collection of the community's stories and inspirations: "The goal of all of this? That's simple: Pineapple was made to connect and to inspire. It's meant be rolled up and stuffed into backpacks, to be flipped through on trains and planes, pages bookmarked. It should be passed along from host to traveller, stranger to friend."
The reasons for extending Airbnb's brand to print are highly emotional – the company wants Pineapple to be shared from host to traveller as a symbol of belonging and as a shared celebration of their global adventure. Fast Company notes that the magazine helps Airbnb to create an end-to-end travel experience that's worthy of the pages of a high-end travel magazine. Pineapple will thus serve as visual evidence that Airbnb is capable of delivering those types of experiences to guests.
Magazine as a tool for building communities
Airbnb isn't the only global online brand that is putting a lot of faith in print. At the beginning of March the alternative taxi company Uber announced that it is also going to use print to communicate with its stakeholders. It has launched Momentum, a new publication designed exclusively for Uber's driver partners.
Momentum is a quarterly magazine that covers practical topics, like how to get exercise when you're behind the wheel, the best places to eat on the go, where to find restrooms, etc. It is also an important tool to inform the drivers about new developments at Uber.
According to Ryan Graves, Uber's Head of Operations, the mission of the magazine is to strengthen the community of the company's driver partners — currently 150,000 people strong — by making sure they are up to date on new developments within Uber and by giving them new and improved methods to connect with the company and with one another.
So it looks like print believers can be found among both traditional brick-and-mortar companies and internet players. For their part, Pineapple and Momentum testify to the continuous belief of marketers and media professionals in the value of print in the media mix.