advice on how to build meaningful brands

April 5, 2019

60 | How Airbnb built a cult-like brand – with Douglas Atkin

Why you’ve got to listen to this episode:

We all know the story of how Airbnb was born. In 2007 young friends, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia needed to make some extra cash. They saw an opportunity when they noticed all hotel rooms in their city were fully booked for a big conference happening in town. They bought a couple of air beds and offered people to sleep and have breakfast for $80 a night in their apartment.

We’ve seen many businesses being born the same way. Entrepreneurs see a need or opportunity and they act on it. But few of these businesses manage to become remarkable brands. Airbnb is one of those that did.

In this episode, I speak with Douglas Atkin, former Head of Community at Airbnb. Douglas worked alongside Airbnb founders to help build their brand starting with identifying what their purpose was and then moving to the hardest part which is how to live your purpose.

Who can benefit from listening in:

I think by now most organizations understand the importance and the value of finding your “why”, your purpose. Simon Sinek has done a good job at getting organizations to recognize the value of knowing their “why”.

Although it’s difficult to identify your why” or purpose, and ensure it’s a good one, it’s exponentially harder to live your purpose. Failing to live your purpose make it seem disingenuous, a marketing scheme, which, of course, turns people off your brand.

So, you need a purpose. People want to know what you stand for. How you’re different from others. Why you versus all the other options they have. But it’s not enough to just state your purpose, you have to prove you mean it. Everything you do and say must align with your purpose, and that’s the hard part.

In this episode, Douglas Atkin walks us through the recipe of how to identify your purpose, how to evaluate it to make sure it’s a good one and how to bring that purpose to life.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • “The purpose is why you exist, so your job is to make it real.” Douglas Atkin
  • “There are three sacred things in an organization that you have to constantly invest in; Purpose, Values and Culture.” Douglas Atkin
  • Values are the how you get to your why
  • To find your purpose you have to look at the transformation that happens when people use your product and service. Your true value lies in that transformation.

Links to resources mentioned in this episode



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