To: Steph Korey, co-founder and CEO of Away

Dear Steph,

Away has built an impressive toolkit to help today’s travelers, no matter where they’re going or how they’re getting there. Your mission to improve the travel experience and its innumerable encumbrances has sparked a new group of consumers who turn to Away for its value proposition as an affordable, minimalist luggage company with aspirational significance.

The paradox of Away’s business is that you sell luggage that will last—but after that initial purchase, how can you maintain a long-term relationship to a shopper, beyond just selling them more products? With your podcast, Airplane Mode, and your magazine, Here, Away begins to transcend beyond a product company to a brand that inspires a lifestyle, shifting the conversation from “getting there” to “being there.”

But as the Away ecosystem expands, spreading this gospel farther and louder will be vital to retain past luggage customers, in addition to acquiring new ones.

Here’s one idea about how to do it.

Launch the GetAway program.

As Away continues to provide the vehicles necessary for better travel, your products—and your customers—increasingly circle the globe. What if you launched the GetAway program to activate your ever-growing network of customers, disseminating the Away brand across the world? Here’s how it could work:

  • First, customers who purchase an item from Away’s site would receive a set of three, biodegradable miniature flags, customized with their name or initials.
  • As customers embark on new journeys, they could memorialize their trip by planting a flag in the ground and photographing it, in the same vein as the iconic photograph of the astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the first U.S. moon landing. While travelers would naturally share these photos on their personal social media accounts, Away could centralize them with its own online collection to show the global impact of the brand.
  • On the back of each flag, inquisitive passerbys could find a URL, which would bring them to Away’s collection of GetAway images. Travelers would also be able to post songs or other media alongside each image, curating a digital time capsule of their trip that embodies the sounds and visuals they associate with it.
  • As customers continue to travel, they could purchase new sets of the flags, charting their journeys over the globe and creating new time capsules. As customers make memories, they would simultaneously spread your brand, stirring up more wanderlust and inducing more people to travel.

Over time, the GetAway program could even become a separate app that Away customers could use to geotag their whereabouts, highlight and review spots along their journey, and post other related media. Some of these contributions might provide fodder for Here and Airplane Mode, but more importantly, the app would start to create a robust digital network of where Away luggage and their owners have been, much how like your team page features different employees in locations around the world.

This is just one idea that could promote Away as the go-to travel brand—not only in terms of product, but as a hub of memories and a way of life. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and Lead Analyst
Loose Threads