Episode #003 - David Beebe, 'xennials' and travel, United Airlines goes to the Olympics
In the third episode of The Destinationists, co-hosts Lauren Quaintance and Andrés López-Varela speak with David Beebe, co-founder of Content Decoded and former VP of Global Creative and Content Marketing at Marriott international who says his entire career "has been in storytelling and entertainment". David shares lessons from his work as one of the world's leading marketers, in particular how, while at Marriott, he established one of the industry's most influential and effective content studios. David is an eloquent standard bearer for the idea that brands have the opportunity to lead with storytelling and transform their marketing by putting their consumer first. "I don't think consumers care where their content comes from," says David, "if you're giving them content that is informing and entertaining... you'll build a stronger relationship with them where they will be acceptable to you pitching them a little more harder."
One of the most important principles David applies to his work is what he calls The Three C Strategy; those Cs stand for 'content', 'community' and 'commerce'. David tells Lauren and Andrés this approach allows you to easily build and scale content across many channels, which you can then build a community around and, with sustained growth, you can integrate commerce and start seeing a return on your investment to, perhaps, turn marketing into a revenue centre. David outlines how he used this approach and his 'audience-first' philosophy at Marriott to deliver major content-led initiatives for Moxie Hotels, the French Kiss film and Marriott Traveller. The big take-away from Andrés and Lauren's chat with David? Think like a media company (but don't become a media company) by putting your consumers at the centre of any content you create, not your own brand's features and benefits.
Our regular ‘Trend Monitor’ segment covers some of the travel and marketing trends included in the new Future 100: 2018 report from J Walter Thompson Intelligence. The report's headline trend is the self-described 'xennial' generation, a group of older millennials and younger Gen X-types that don't feel adequately represented by either demographic group. Andrés and Lauren have a hard time reconciling this new generation because marketers should be more focused on behaviours, needs and interests rather than age and broad social groupings. Also discussed, the impact on travel marketers that trends such as digital nomads (a very xennial way of life), the rise of 'second tier cities' and brandlessness are going to have in 2018 and beyond.
To round out the episode, ‘Campaign News’ covers United Airlines' activation of their Team USA Winter Olympics sponsorship. Andrés argues that with the loose superhero teamwork theme the airline has really "turned up the cheese on this one" and Lauren attempts to understand the rationale behind the creative and scale of this campaign. Both hosts identify a potentially more unique and relevant angle for the campaign which has run across a range of mediums and formats in the three months leading up to the February 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Content Decoded website
David Beebe: brands need to think - and act - like media companies//PR Week
French Kiss//Official Marriott website
The Future 100: 2018//J Walter Thompson website (the full report is gated content)
United Airlines Team USA sponsorship announcement//United Airlines' Newsroom