Making your Brand a Personality with Podcasts
If you’re anything like me and find that you’re not trendy enough to keep up with cool, hip music, while also hating your entire music library- then you must love podcasts! Different from other media, podcasts give the gift of multitasking. They’re suitable for driving in the car, commuting, sprucing up daily chores like cooking or laundry. Podcasts are also very situational and can fit into anybody's life. Want to learn about the secrets of the universe? Or hear about the day-to-day life of a twenty-something navigating the big city? They’ve got you covered. Only have 15 minutes to spare? You’ll still find the podcast for you. Podcasts are filled with personality and can make you feel like you’re right there with the person speaking to you.
Each year approximately 98 million Americans are listening to podcasts, according to the Edison Research Survey. It’s no wonder why brands are using this growing trend to their advantage. Typically, brands engage in a sponsorship where you’ll hear their ads a couple of times throughout the episode. This can also occur in the form of the podcast artists themselves speaking about the brand. If the podcast you partner up with is popular, then you really do get a good bang for your buck. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that ad revenues hit $314 million in 2017, forecasted to double by 2020. So what could be even better than a podcast-brand partnership? A brand’s very own podcast, of course! Brands are now beginning to produce their own podcasts and a couple of them have already succeeded.
The multinational beauty and personal care chain, Sephora, used their savvy branding skills to produce the podcast #LIPSTORIES. When Sephora launched a new lipstick alongside a campaign called “lipstick for real life”, they used the podcast as a part of their campaign efforts. The episodes on #LIPSTORIES share stories from the everyday lives of influential females. Each episode is hosted by a different woman who is either a founder, creator, CEO, or thought leader. According to the podcast’s description, the stories are from while “they’re out traveling the world, crushing it at work, or even just hanging out with friends”. While this approach was a fun way to engage with customers it was also effective in selling their product. With only 7 episodes spanning about 20 minutes, the podcast has received an iTunes 5-star rating!
The more obscure brand podcast to come out, in my opinion, has been from Umpqua Bank. If you don't know who Umpqua Bank is, they’re a West Coast based company who has coined itself as being an unconventional community bank for millennials. They pride themselves on addressing and understanding the millennials’ misconstrued predicaments. Their podcast “Open Account” talks about money and all of the thrill, confusion, power, and stress that comes with it. Open Account is hosted by SuChin Park, a former MTV news correspondent, and features guests with their own personal experience in each episode. The episodes talk about money openly and honestly, and gives insight on financial struggles with some tricks of the trade along the way. Of course there is still marketing for Umpqua Bank scattered throughout the podcast, making it beneficial for the company. Open Account has been given a 4.5 star rating, which is still very good in the podcast world.
If brand-produced podcasts are going to continue to bloom, then I argue that my prized grocery store, Whole Foods, would immensely benefit from one of their own. Aside from me being a loyal and maybe over-the-top customer who would thoroughly enjoy listening, it would also be beneficial for any consumer. In general, people care about where their food comes from, where it’s sourced, how it's produced, and so on. Any insight about Whole Food’s food production will add value for anybody shopping there. They can showcase how items like their produce and fish stand out above other grocers. They can give backstory and history about their production and sourcing, or the brand itself. It's an incredible way to subconsciously market to consumers. Referencing any new products and how they came to be will certainly influence consumers (especially me) to check them out. To go even further, having different guests appear and share recipes using some of Whole Foods’ unique, possibly new, and exquisitely fresh products would be an added bonus. They can take their “healthy” brand identity and turn into a great show. I know I’m not the only Whole Foods-Crazed person so I’m confident this podcast would be a hit.
I’m fully on board with this brand-produced podcast phenomena. I imagine it will only increase from here as more brands recognize the profound marketing influence and gain it can have for their company. The personality it gives a brand and the interactivity that comes along with it is truly one-of-a-kind marketing experience and am eager to see where it goes.