Reinventing Brand Awareness: The Transformative Power of Branded Podcasts.
By: Roger Nairn, CEO
I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t know everything (don’t tell my wife). So, I confess, I was recently blown away by a fact that I learned from my 5 year old.
Are you ready for this? I wasn’t.
Over a bowl of morning Cheerios, my son decided to drop this bombshell on me:
“Dad, did you know that an Orca whale is actually a dolphin?”
My son: “Dad?”
My son: “It’s true.”
I looked it up. He was right.
Living on the West Coast my entire life, I’ve always been in love with Orcas. I would see them at the aquarium, spot them in the channel from the deck of a ferry, or catch a glimpse of a pod passing a local restaurant on a warm summer’s evening.
They are incredible.
But they sure as hell weren’t dolphins…Until I found out that they are.
So, where am I going with this?
To me, dolphins always felt like sharks without super sharp teeth. I mean really, what is a shark without the sharp teeth? A dolphin, I guess… Then I made my Orca discovery.
Now, I’m drawn in and absolutely love dolphins and dolphin facts. For example, dolphins only sleep with half their brain.
What does this have to do with brands and podcasts?
Just like my orca/dolphin discovery, podcasts pull you in and deepen your relationship with your audience or act as an impactful introduction. Podcasts offer an unparalleled opportunity for brands to form a deep connection with their audience. They are more intimate, personal, and conversational than traditional marketing channels, offering an entirely different experience. Podcasts can help brands tell their stories, share their values, and establish a strong and memorable presence in the market. In fact, podcasts have been instrumental in enhancing brand awareness and building a loyal customer base for many businesses around the globe. When you discover something unexpected through a podcast and win your audience’s curiosity, you have opened the door to them becoming your biggest fan.
Let’s put in our scuba gear and dive deeper into how podcasts can be a game-changer for your brand. The water’s warm.
Podcasts as Conversations, Not Monologues
The beauty of many podcasts is in their conversational style. It’s a natural way for brands to communicate with their audience. This approach creates a stronger and more personal bond between brands and consumers. Other podcast styles can strengthen this bond even further by exploring different worlds through place-based storytelling, action, and riveting dialogue — taking listeners on an immersive audio journey that opens their hearts and minds. No matter the format, the key to effective podcasting is to engage in meaningful, enlightening, and enjoyable discussions. Through podcasts, brands can share insider stories, visit different locations, discuss and debate industry trends, and offer expert insights, all while implicitly promoting their brand values and offerings, simply by being the podcast owner.
Example: RBC Disruptors : RBC’s John Stackhouse understood the value of engaging innovative Canadians in conversations about the future. RBC Disruptors is an ongoing podcast series about reimagining Canada’s economy in a time of unprecedented change.
Position Your Brand as a Thought Leader
Podcasts can significantly contribute to your brand’s thought leadership. By hosting conversations on relevant topics and providing expert commentary, you can position your brand as an authority in your field. Featuring special guests, such as industry leaders and influencers, can add more weight to your content and help in reaching new audiences.
Example: IDC’s Cloud ERP Playbook looks at how businesses can adapt to the Cloud. The three-part series is hosted by IDC analysts and interviews business leaders who have been through the transformation to Cloud-based technology.
Seamless Integration of Branded Content
Podcasts offer a unique way to seamlessly integrate branded content. Sponsors and advertisements can naturally fit into the flow of the conversation, unlike the often jarring interruptions of traditional commercials. This subtlety is what makes podcast advertising effective. The listeners are more receptive to your message as it comes across in a non-disruptive and organic way.
Redefiners by Russell Reynolds Associates explores conversations with leaders who create impact and drive change around the globe. Each episode features a brief interlude of related observations from an in-house expert at RRA, exploring leadership tips and trends.
The Power of Repetition
Podcasts are not one-time affairs. They follow a series format where listeners tune in regularly. This repeated exposure to your brand helps in building recall and familiarity. The power of repetition combined with the personal touch of podcasts significantly boosts brand awareness and loyalty.
Amazon’s This Is Small Business, hosted by millennial journalist Andrea Marquez, increased its output to a regular weekly show, winding its way into the hearts of small business owners everywhere, and steadily climbing the charts. It reached #1 for USA: Entrepreneurship and #2 for USA: Business in Apple Podcasts.
Unlock a Global Audience
The digital nature of podcasts allows brands to reach audiences globally. They are not limited by geographical or time constraints. Whether your listeners are on a morning commute, working out, eating their breakfast cheerios, or cooking dinner, your podcast can reach them. With over half of US consumers listening to podcasts –— and numbers growing worldwide — the potential to increase your brand awareness on a global scale is massive.
Expedia’s Out Travel the System podcast explored the wide world of travel, featuring experts on scene in China, Spain, and all around the world, attracting an international audience in the process. When Covid caused travel chaos, Expedia was able to use the podcast to strengthen their position globally as a helpful brand that provided useful information for travellers. This podcast was nominated for an “Audience Honor” for Branded Podcasts in the Shorty Awards.
Finally, podcasts are an excellent way to build a community around your brand. Through discussions, Q&A sessions, and comments, you can interact with your audience, address their questions, and gather feedback. This interaction fosters a sense of belonging among your listeners and strengthens the relationship between them and your brand.
Staffbase’s Infernal Communication is an award-winning podcast targeted at internal comms professionals. The show is the ‘talk of the town’ on Staffbase’s internal newsletter and Slack channels — reaching thousands of employees where they naturally hang out and delivering content relevant to their jobs and interests.
To leverage the full potential of podcasts, focus on delivering value to your listeners. Be consistent in terms of content quality and release schedule. Consider the creative and immersive potential of the audio medium to affect hearts and minds. The content should align with your brand voice and resonate with your target audience. And remember, the ultimate goal is not to hard-sell but to build a relationship with your audience.
Much like my orca revelation opened a new world of admiration for dolphins, podcasts can create and help shape our understanding for a brand. They offer a deep, personal connection with audiences. So, take the plunge into this transformative medium; it’s a vast ocean of opportunities out there.