How creative constraints and limitations of brand can be turned into a springboard for innovation, crafting captivating podcasts that resonate authentically with your audience.
By: Roger Nairn
Did you know that a bet led Dr. Seuss to write a story using only 50 different words? The result was “Green Eggs and Ham” — a tale that not only captivated millions of children and sold more than 200 million copies but also became a masterclass in creativity within constraints.
This masterclass can be applied to your brand’s podcast.
The Green Eggs and Ham Hypothesis
We often hear from potential clients about the challenges they face connecting their brand to a podcast. Operating within the ethical framework, business goals, or “sandbox” of a brand IP can feel like a creative constraint. “Who’s going to listen to that?” they ask. We often get the same question from podcast talent (writer, producers, sound designers) in the industry.
Here’s the truth. With the right mindset, the constraints are part of the fun. Enter psychologist Catrinel Tromp and her intriguing Green Eggs & Ham Hypothesis.
Tromp suggests that constraints don’t stifle creativity; they actually supercharge it.
We like to think of any constraints we experience while creating a great podcast with a brand as a huge and exciting challenge worth undertaking. Better than a blank page, it’s a page that points you in a direction and then says, “Okay. Now, wow me.”
Not sure what we mean? Here are some examples from our day-to-day:
- “It must engage with only Gen Z women, interested in fashion and beauty…oh…and they don’t like being advertised to.”
- “Our brand is buttoned down and professional. We need to keep within these strict brand guidelines.”
- “Our audience is busy Chief Information Officers, and we only have 10 minutes of their time to wow them.”
Daunting, but oh, the possibilities!
Take, for example, Infernal Communication by Staffbase. In each episode of Infernal Communication, we take a deeper look at the wild little fires communicators have to put out every day. What started out as a challenge (talking about communications to communicators…essentially talking to them about work) turned into a podcast that gives communicators a fresh perspective that soothes the burn of their latest communication snafu, and helps them think differently about their work and life.
And the listeners love it!
The podcast has seen a 90% listen through rate, and has even received some notable awards:
- Bronze for Best Writing at 2023 Signal Awards
- Hermes Platinum Award
The Podcast Puzzle
With a branded podcast, you’re not just creating content; you’re crafting a unique audio experience that aligns with a brand’s identity, engages listeners, and leaves them craving more. It’s like being a chef in a kitchen where the ingredients are the brand’s values and your audience’s desired content. Your food critic? The audience themselves waiting to see if your podcast suits their palate.
We become audio alchemists, mixing the right elements to create something that’s delicious to listen to. It’s a tall order, but remember, Dr. Seuss wrote an entire story about dodgy eggs and ham, and it became a bestseller!
The Secret Sauce: Authenticity
Your secret sauce in this creative kitchen is authenticity. Stay true to the brand’s voice while exploring new storytelling techniques, soundscapes, and engagement tactics that your audience will relate to. You want them to see themselves in the material. It’s really about finding that sweet spot where the brand’s identity and the audience’s interests intersect authentically.
When you nail this creative challenge, what you’re really doing is building a bridge of trust with your audience. Every episode is an opportunity to deepen this relationship. Just like Sam-I-Am persistently offering green eggs and ham, your podcast offers your brand’s message in an engaging, repeatable format.
So, how do you cook up a successful branded podcast within these constraints? Embrace them! Use the limitations to sharpen your focus and stir up creative solutions.
Feast on Your Constraints
Let these constraints challenge, inspire, and push you toward uncharted territories of creativity. Just like “Green Eggs and Ham,” your podcast could be the next thing your audience never knew they needed but soon won’t be able to imagine living without. Create a podcast that owns its constraints, celebrates them, and wears them like a badge of distinction. If you do this, your audience will take you here, there, and everywhere!