Modern podcast studio setup with hosts recording a branded podcast, highlighting professional audio gear and creative interior design.

Case Studies of Successful Branded Podcasts

Exploring Brand Engagement through Podcast Case Studies

For marketers, podcasts pack a punch. They excel in the areas of brand storytelling, brand engagement, and building audience loyalty. Dive into these ten branded podcast case studies. These shows haven’t just reached their audiences — they’ve captivated them. They’ve nurtured a strong bond between the brand and its listeners. Every case study demonstrates the company’s initial business goals, how the podcast helped deliver on them, and the key implementation factors behind their podcasting success. Enjoy! 

  1. BCIT
  2. Staffbase
  3. Amazon
  4. Avison Young
  5. Genome BC
  6. Royal Bank of Canada
  7. Saje Natural Wellness
  8. lululemon
  9. Cineplex
  10. Allianz Trade

BCIT: Encouraging Lifelong Learning and Resiliency with “Fireweed”

The Challenge:
Coming out of COVID19, The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) recognized the urgent need to discuss global issues such as climate change and social justice in a way that inspired resilience and adaptability. Their goals: 1) Prepare the next generation for the job market, where “adaptability” had been identified as a critical skill. 2) Position their institution as a hub of flexible, life-long learning. 3) Promote institutional engagement with businesses and leaders in the west-coast “Cascadia Corridor.” The challenge lay in crafting a message that resonated deeply and encouraged continuous personal and professional growth.

The Solution:
We built a narrative-style podcast for BCIT called “Fireweed,” aptly named after a resilient local plant known for thriving in adverse conditions, and designed to symbolize and discuss human resilience. Featuring a variety of policy-makers, academics, and industry leaders within the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, the podcast presented real human stories of adaptability and perseverance, then tied in expert trends analysis to set those stories in context. We also brought in recent grads from BCIT’s journalism program to act as hosts – making the show more relatable to its target audience. 

The Results:
Fireweed” achieved an extraordinary 98% listen-through rate per episode and doubled its listenership season-over-season, indicating the podcast’s resonance with its audience. The high engagement rates suggested that the stories of resilience and adaptability were exactly what the audience needed to hear. 

Expanded Insight:
BCIT’s approach demonstrated the power of aligning its content with current global issues and human interest stories. By focusing on themes of resilience and learning, BCIT positioned itself as a forward-thinking educational institution, relevant and responsive to the challenges of our times.

Businesswoman listening to a podcast while taking notes, illustrating active engagement with branded podcast content.

Staffbase: “Infernal Communication” – A Comedic Take on Professional Challenges

The Challenge:
Internal communication software company Staffbase faced a significant hurdle in increasing brand awareness and engagement in North America, a region where their presence was not as strong as in Europe. The key was to introduce the brand in a way that felt authentic and engaging to a new audience of internal communications professionals, and beyond.

The Solution:
We created “Infernal Communication,” a narrative-style podcast that infused humor into the otherwise serious topics of professional communication, providing a fresh approach. Guests shared candid first-person stories, and joked with the hosts. We aimed to create “the kind of show comms professionals might talk about in the bar, after work.” The podcast featured light-hearted, yet insightful explorations of various challenges encountered in the communications field, making it relatable both for professionals from the comms industry – and for anyone interested in the art of communication. 

The Results:
The podcast outperformed expectations with high engagement metrics, including a 90% average consumption rate and achieving ten times the anticipated downloads in its first season. It was a clear indicator that the combination of humor and professional insights was a winning formula.

Expanded Insight:
The success of “Infernal Communication” highlighted the importance of understanding and addressing the cultural and professional nuances of a new market. Staffbase’s strategic use of humor and relatable content effectively bridged the gap between European success and North American engagement.

 

Amazon: Boosting B2B Engagement with “This Is Small Business”

The Challenge:
Amazon aimed to deepen engagement with small business owners, crucial to its B2B segment, by revamping their existing podcast. The goal was to emphasize how the Amazon Small Business Accellerator program supports small businesses, and to turn passive listeners into active, engaged community members who saw Amazon as a key partner in their entrepreneurial journey.

The Solution:
Amazon created “This Is Small Business” with a focus on high-quality production, targeted content, storytelling, and strategic marketing. They also emphasized the backstory and entrepreneurial curiosity of their captivating host. The podcast is packed with actionable advice, inspiring success stories, and expert insights that are directly applicable to the listeners’ business challenges. It feels personable and relatable at the same time. 

The Results:
The podcast saw a 30% increase in consumption rates season-over-season and a significant improvement in first-minute retention rates. The targeted approach in content and marketing led to higher engagement and an increase in the number of episodes consumed by each listener.

Expanded Insight:
Amazon’s podcast demonstrates the effectiveness of tailored content and high production quality in building a loyal audience. It also highlights the importance of a relatable host-figure. By focusing on the specific needs and aspirations of small business owners, Amazon strengthened its position as an essential resource within the small business community.

 

Avison Young: “Changing Places” and the Evolution of Real Estate Spaces

The Challenge:
Avison Young needed to differentiate itself in the crowded commercial real estate market by establishing thought leadership among a niche audience of real estate professionals and investors. The challenge was to deliver content that informative, captivating, relevant, and forward-thinking to a target audience that included North America and Europe.

The Solution:
Changing Places” was a narrative show, hosted by a professional journalist, which discussed the dynamic changes in society that affect the real estate landscape. It featured deep dives into how policies, societal needs, and technological advancements are reshaping the industry and the built environment as a whole. The podcast provided a platform for experts to share insights and sparked wider discussions on future trends in real estate, design, urban planning, and architecture.

The Results:
The podcast achieved a 95% listen-through rate and extended its reach across more than 60 countries, indicating strong global interest and engagement. The targeted content strategy effectively attracted and retained a professional audience, bolstering Avison Young’s standing as an industry thought leader, while serving to orient new employees and early-stage real estate professionals.

Expanded Insight:
The success of “Changing Places” underscores the value of niche targeting and high-quality content in podcasting. Avison Young’s internationally-focused approach on industry-specific issues and trends resonated well with professionals around the world, providing them with valuable insights and positioning the brand as a key influencer in the global commercial real estate sector.

Genome BC: “Nice Genes!” – Making Science Accessible and Engaging

The Challenge:
Genome BC aimed to revitalize its engagement with a younger audience, particularly young women, who were followers on social media but not active participants in events or discussions. The organization needed a way to make the science of genomics interesting and accessible to this demographic. 

The Solution:
The podcast “Nice Genes!” was crafted to demystify the science of genomics through engaging storytelling and discussions on relevant social issues, all with a light-hearted, conversational tone. Over several seasons, upbeat hosts, guests, and producers have presented genomics as the key to problem-solving critical issues like climate change, pollution, and racism – all things younger audiences care deeply about. The podcast has featured interviews with researchers and professionals in the field, presenting genomics in a way that feels both educational and relatable. 

The Results:
Nice Genes!” achieved impressive engagement metrics, with an 85% average consumption rate and significant listenership from the target demographic of young women. The podcast’s approachable format and engaging content successfully attracted and maintained the interest of a younger audience, and been recognized with several industry awards. 

Expanded Insight:
“Nice Genes!” demonstrated the potential of podcasts to make complex scientific topics accessible and interesting to a broader, younger audience. By breaking down the science into relatable stories and discussions, Genome BC effectively engaged a demographic that had previously been difficult to reach, enhancing its outreach and educational goals.

Team of podcast creators brainstorming ideas, emphasizing the collaborative nature of producing engaging branded podcasts.

Royal Bank of Canada: Revitalizing “Disruptors” for Enhanced Engagement

The Challenge:
RBC’s podcast “Disruptors” was facing challenges in audience engagement, consistency, and audio quality, which hindered its ability to effectively convey its content. Their podcast was not adequately capturing the thought leadership that is ongoing at Canada’s largest bank. They needed a strategy that improved the technical and logistical aspects of the show while tying its content to larger thought leadership initiatives at the bank, to make the podcast a must-listen for its target audience of business owners, economic investors, and policy influencers. 

The Solution:
We undertook a comprehensive overhaul of “Disruptors“, focusing on enhancing audio quality, diversifying content formats, and ramping up marketing efforts. The podcast introduced a mix of panel discussions, on site recordings, expert interviews, miniseries, and other story-driven content, to enrich the listener experience and broaden its appeal. We also worked with the RBC team to synch up podcast content releases with the larger RBC Thought Leadership initiatives calendar, and to market the show on leading podcasts around North America.  

The Results:
The revamped podcast experienced a 500% increase in listenership and consistently high engagement rates, indicating a strong listener connection. It also garnered critical acclaim, achieving top rankings in Canadian business and entrepreneurship podcast charts.

Expanded Insight:
RBC’s revitalization of “Disruptors” highlights the importance of quality, variety, and strategic marketing in podcast success. By investing in high-quality production and innovative content, RBC not only enhanced the listener experience but also strengthened its brand presence in the competitive podcasting landscape.

 

Saje Natural Wellness: “Well Now” – Promoting Holistic Health through Podcasting

The Challenge:
Saje Natural Wellness was looking to deepen its connection with its customer base and promote holistic health in a way that was both informative and engaging. The challenge was to create content that resonated with health-conscious listeners and encouraged them to become brand advocates, and take agency in their own health care.

The Solution:
The podcast “Well Now” was developed to align with Saje’s brand mission, focusing on holistic health and wellness. The narratively structured episodes featured patient-centric conversations with Saje customers, interviews with health experts from both traditional medicine backgrounds and modern western practice, real stories from customers, and discussions on wellness trends, all presented in an engaging and relatable manner by an informed Saje host.

The Results:
Well Now” quickly became one of the top health podcasts in the world, with a 95% listen-through rate and a significant following among the target demographic of health-conscious individuals. The strategic use of influencers and targeted marketing campaigns further amplified the podcast’s reach and impact.

Expanded Insight:
Saje Natural Wellness’s use of podcasting to promote and empower holistic health demonstrates the effectiveness of aligning brand values with content strategy. “Well Now” not only provided valuable health information but also enhanced brand loyalty by resonating deeply with listeners’ wellness journeys.

Computer screen displaying podcast performance metrics, essential for evaluating the success of branded podcast strategies.

lululemon: Enhancing Internal Communications with “The Lululemon Leadership Series”

The Challenge:
As lululemon expanded globally, the company faced challenges in maintaining a connected and engaged workforce. The need was to create a scalable, engaging communication tool that resonated with employees worldwide and reinforced the company’s culture and values.

The Solution:
The Lululemon Leadership Series” was launched as an internal podcast aimed at bridging the communication gap within the company. The podcast built on content gathered at a popular internal speakers’ series held at the company’s Vancouver head office, then featured interviews with company leaders and external guests, discussing topics relevant to lululemon’s culture and values. It was designed to be an accessible and engaging way for employees to connect with the broader company mission and each other.

The Results:
The podcast achieved a 95% listen-through rate and was actively embraced by 75% of lululemon’s global staff. It maximized the impact of their speakers’ series, and became a key component of the company’s internal communication strategy, enhancing employee engagement, training, and fostering a stronger corporate community.

Expanded Insight:
lululemon’s internal podcast illustrates the potential of podcasting as a tool for enhancing internal communications in a large, dispersed company. By focusing on topics that reflect the company’s culture and values, lululemon was able to strengthen employee connections and engagement across its global workforce.

 

Cineplex: “Hello Movies” – Reinvigorating Interest in Cinema

The Challenge:
With the rise of streaming services, Cineplex faced the challenge of rekindling interest in the traditional movie-going experience. The goal was to create a podcast that captured the magic of going to the cinema, motivating listeners to return to theaters.

The Solution:
We structured “Hello Movies” to maximize its appeal and audience engagement. The podcast included features such as behind-the-scenes insights, interviews with actors and filmmakers, and interactive segments like movie quizzes led by a respected and lively entertainment journalist. These elements were designed to create a rich, engaging listening experience that celebrated the unique aspects of watching movies at the cinema.

The Results:
The revamped podcast doubled downloads and greatly increased listen-through rates, signaling strong listener engagement. The podcast played a significant role in promoting Cineplex’s brand and driving audiences back to theaters.

Expanded Insight:
Cineplex’s revitalization of “Hello Movies” underscores the effectiveness of engaging content and strategic storytelling in podcasting. By focusing on great sound design and exciting behind-the-scenes interviews, Cineplex was able to highlight the unique experiences that cinema offers, capturing the imagination of its audience and encouraging a return to the movie-going tradition.

 

Allianz Trade: Enhancing Awareness and Engagement with “Wheel of Risk”

The Challenge:
Allianz Trade aimed to bolster its connection with businesses concerned about risk management, a crucial segment for their credit insurance services. The objective was to focus  on how Allianz’s solutions can help businesses navigate uncertainties effectively and turn risk into opportunity. They wanted to make listeners into well-informed, proactive clients who view Allianz as an indispensable partner.

The Solution:
Together with Allianz, we created “Wheel of Risk” – a fun interview podcast that uses a gameshow framing device. The podcast featured customer case studies, industry expert interviews, and discussions on risk management strategies and global trends that impact business. The Allianz host’s engaging style and her guests’ deep understanding of global trade challenges made the podcast informative and compelling.

The Results:
“Wheel of Risk” experienced a 25% increase in listener numbers season-over-season and a noticeable improvement in engagement metrics, such as average listening duration and episode completion rates. The focused content strategy led to consistent listening habits among the audience. In addition, the company surveyed listeners and discovered that new employees were relying on the podcast as a source of information and orientation to the company culture. 

Expanded Insight:
Allianz Trade’s “Wheel of Risk” podcast serves as a prime example of how targeted content and superior production quality (with a fun framing device) can cultivate a dedicated audience and share a company’s culture both internally and externally. It emphasizes the role of an informed and engaging host and well-curated content in educating businesses about risk management, thereby reinforcing Allianz’s role as a key player in the credit insurance market.

These ten case studies demonstrate a few of the diverse ways podcasts serve as powerful tools for brand storytelling, audience engagement, and strategic marketing. From enhancing internal communications to reinvigorating consumer interest, podcasts offer a versatile platform for brands to connect with their audiences in meaningful ways. So what are you waiting for? Get podcasting! 

5 Key Takeaways for Brands Considering Podcasting:

  1. Emphasize Quality and Relevance: High production values and content that is directly relevant to your target audience are essential for engaging and retaining listeners.
  2. Utilize Creative Storytelling: Effective storytelling can captivate listeners and foster a deeper connection with your brand.
  3. Incorporate Interactive and Engaging Elements: Interactive segments and engaging narratives can enhance the listening experience and increase audience participation.
  4. Align Podcast Goals with Brand Objectives: Ensure that your podcast’s content and goals align with your overall brand strategy to maximize its impact.
  5. Monitor and Adapt Based on Data and Feedback: Regularly solicit listener feedback and be willing to adapt your podcast to meet evolving listener preferences and trends.

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