Reinventing Brand Engagement: The Transformative Power of Branded Podcasts.
By: Roger Nairn, CEO
I really struggled during COVID (as many did). I’m a social person, but I’m also addicted to reading, watching, and listening to the news. You can imagine it was terrible, then, when I was locked down and kept away from face-to-face contact with everyone except my wife and son while also being exposed to the constant spiral of negative news (which, of course, hasn’t gone away).
Like many of you, I took solace in the incredible entertainment available today. Some of it was happy, some of it sad… All of it made me feel something. Whether it was an engaging TikTok channel, the latest series on HBO, or a podcast, the talented folks “out there” kept me happy and entertained — Which is why this report caught my eye.
The report from agency powerhouse, Wunderman Thompson, suggests that the future of brand metrics could lie not just in conventional business measurements, but in the domain of human emotions. This new era, labelled ‘The Age of Re-Enchantment’, proposes that emotional KPIs — think: the ecstasy of awe, the surprise of a jaw-drop, or the chill of a spine-tingle — will gain more traction as people increasingly seek brands capable of infusing joy and enchantment into their lives. People are so tired of being yelled at by advertisers. They want to feel something from brands, and if they get what they want, they’ll reward the brand in return. This gives branded podcasts a prime opportunity to leave a lasting impression.
Contextualizing the Trend
Globally, we’re grappling with war, climate change, prejudice, disease, and economic instability, which collectively contribute to a mental health crisis. Gen Y and Z (and Alpha) are reportedly feeling more stressed and anxious than ever. Wunderman Thompson’s research indicates a startling 46% of people confessing to feelings of constant exhaustion and burnout, while 67% agree that technology exacerbates their detachment from the real world.
However, there’s a flip side to this narrative. Here’s the positive news: An overwhelming 89% of people express that awe-inspiring experiences bring them joy, with 83% actively pursuing experiences that boost their happiness. A significant 77% yearn to truly “feel something, to feel alive”. In this context, branded podcasts can play a crucial role by delivering engaging, emotion-provoking content.
The Implication for Marketers
The current socio-cultural climate presents a unique opportunity for marketers to leverage branded podcasts to alleviate dread and despair and enhance joy by curating experiences. A substantial proportion of the survey respondents (67% out of 3,000 surveyed in the US, UK, and China) indicated that brands should put a lot more effort into crafting captivating advertising or marketing strategies.
Do you hear that, brands?
The Role of Branded Podcasts
Branded podcasts can deliver fun and excitement, offering listeners an enjoyable escape (and we all need an escape). Not only do podcasts deliver pleasure in the moment and on your own time, but the anticipation and recollection of the experience amplify that enjoyment.
Branded podcasts can facilitate meaningful connections in a world where 85% feel we have less time for each other. By creating conversational spaces and establishing listener engagement rituals, brands can bridge gaps and nurture connections.
Multi-sensory experiences are highly sought after by 63% of respondents. Branded podcasts can cater to this demand by crafting immersive auditory experiences that captivate listeners in both the digital and physical realms.
Approximately 74% of consumers relish an element of surprise and mystery in their experiences. In the world of branded podcasts, moments of serendipity and unexpected twists can heighten listener engagement and enjoyment.
Given the fact that only 25% of respondents to the Wunderman Thompson survey have a positive outlook on the future, it seems brands have a responsibility and an opportunity to uplift spirits. By focusing on social and environmental solutions, with human emotion-focused KPIs, branded podcasts can inspire optimism and showcase a brand’s commitment to making a positive difference.
The ball’s in your court, brands. Are you up for the challenge?