Why this matters and how to find out.
Make no mistake, folks. If you want to succeed in business today, great branding is absolutely crucial — and should go well beyond your logo, color scheme, and typeface.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, our frequent readers can probably guess what we’re about to say…
If you’re looking to concept, create and communicate a brand as robust and unique as your company, a podcast might be exactly the tool you need.
And, if you plan to go this route — or have done so already — you’ll want to ensure your podcast fully supports the intentions of your branding.
We understand that we’re talking about a big investment and a fairly abstract concept here, so we’re going to break this down simply.
Below, we explain…
The difference between visual identity and brand
Why exceptional branding is crucial for success and longevity
How a podcast can help you develop your intended identity
And how you can tell if you’re doing this effectively
So without further ado, let’s jump right in…
What’s the difference between visual identity and branding?
A lot of folks without extensive experience in brand building can get this confused, so let’s take a closer look…
Firstly, it’s important to understand that your visual identity and brand aren’t entirely separate entities, and that they absolutely do correlate.
Your visual identity — which is essentially just your aesthetic — is conveyed through your color scheme, logo, submarks, design style, imagery and typefaces.
That said, a great designer will craft your image, and choose all of these elements, with your intended brand at the center of their strategy.
So, what is the big picture when it comes to branding and what is a brand really?
Speaking to Chris Do of The Futur, elite brand builder Marty Neumeier — who works with companies like Google, Apple, and Adobe — summed this up perfectly.
“A brand is a result. It’s a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company,” he explained.
He also went on to add that folks who encounter your brand “take whatever raw materials you throw at them, and they make something out of it.”
In other words, your brand is born from your efforts to translate “who” your company is — but ultimately lies in the way it is perceived.
A company with well-developed branding will…
Clearly demonstrate its core values
Cultivate a deliberate “vibe” between it and its audience
Elicit specific feelings such as calm, enthusiasm or confidence
And align its visual identity with how it would like to be perceived
But that’s certainly not all…
Every public action your team takes contributes to the impression you leave on audiences which, at the end of the day, will define your brand globally.
Why should I care about branding?
While we could write countless blog posts on this topic, it’s actually pretty simple when we stick to the broad strokes…
We’re living in an era of unprecedented competition and while all great brands offer something special, your product or service probably isn’t entirely unique.
This is a truly inconvenient reality for almost every company and ultimately means that no matter what your product or service is, it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re selling.
Your marketing plan should also be built around specific feelings, your desired image, and at least one excellent story — all of which can be cultivated with effective branding.
Let’s break this down in the simplest terms…
With so much competition, you need to stand out,
You probably can’t do this by selling your product or service alone. (Sorry!)
You can do this with concrete, compelling, and well-received branding.
Faced with so many options today, folks aren’t just buying your product or service, they’re buying into your company — a move they simply won’t make without effective branding.
How can a podcast contribute to my branding?
Now that we have that covered, you might be wondering how you can use a podcast to communicate your brand effectively. Good news! Your options are endless, really.
Going back to Marty’s words, everything you throw at your audience contributes to your brand by influencing the impression you ultimately leave…
And it just so happens that longform, multi-sensory content creates a lot of opportunity for mindful, deliberate, and strategic “throwing.”
In a well-crafted series, every second of each episode — whether it’s ten minutes in length or thirty — can and should contribute to your branding.
We’re still in fairly abstract territory here, so let’s get more concrete.
A podcast that builds your brand effectively should…
Drive home your tone of voice with an exceptional host and great writing
Communicate your values and purpose by choosing appropriate topics
Convey the atmosphere and feelings you want associated with your company
And include visual and stylistic elements that support your big-picture branding
Clearly, all of this would be difficult to pack into a bus stop ad — or even short-form content marketing — and the branded podcast presents a unique opportunity to flesh out your identity.
How do I know if it’s working?
While your brand is in the eye of the beholder, there are several methods you can use to determine whether your team is branding effectively.
Consumer surveys are a common — and perhaps obvious — option. With random polls, you can get a sense of whether the impression you make on them aligns with your desired identity.
If you’d like to zero in on the impact of your podcast specifically, you will of course want to investigate the opinions, impressions, and feelings of folks who actually listen to your series.
From there, you can determine if your podcast is brand aligned by comparing the impressions of your listeners to those of a broader sample of consumers.
There are also a few ROI metrics that might be helpful in this process, depending on the intentions of your branding.
Here are a few examples…
If you’d like to be seen as friendly or helpful, brand helpfulness is the metric to chase.
Episode engagement will help you determine if your content aligns with what listeners are expecting from your company.
If you’d like to be seen as a source of information or expertise, you’ll want to measure your brand authority.
If you’d like to be seen as a leader in your space — or a builder of communities — your share of voice is well worth examining.
To learn more about these metrics, and how to measure them, you’ll want to check out our Ultimate Guide to Podcast ROI.
More on the branding game
Your brand really does lay the foundation for your success and longevity despite the fact that it is, in a sense, it’s own entity.
Marty Neumeier summed this up nicely when he explained that your brand ultimately exists only in the heads and hearts of consumers — or, in other words, your audience.
It’s become increasingly clear that folks don’t just invest in a product or service these days. We choose where to put our money based on deeper connections, big-picture impressions, and gut feelings.
For this and many other reasons, branding should be a top priority, and should absolutely be assisted — and never derailed — by your content marketing.
Your podcast is no exception, and if you want to make sure it leaves the impression you’re actually after, it might be time to partner with a production agency.
If you’d like to learn more in the meantime, check out the 6 Things Your Branded Podcast Needs to Thrive in 2022.