Branded Podcasts 101

Image from Search Engine Journal. Microphone in front of podcast recording equipment.

Image from Search Engine Journal. Microphone in front of podcast recording equipment.

What if you could advertise your brand or products without the audience realizing they are listening to an advertisement? What if they were willingly listening to that content for 20+ minutes? That’s the whole idea behind Branded Podcasts. Branded podcasts are becoming more and more common as companies realize that the key to success is engaging with their customers. The ability to create a personal relationship is what leads to brand loyalty.

Branded podcasts can range from fiction to nonfiction, or from round table discussions to individual interviews. Brands can also team up with popular podcast networks to leverage their already engaged audience and style of creativity. Companies need to assess their target markets and evaluate what is appropriate for their brands/products.

A few examples of successful podcasts are from companies like eBay, Microsoft, Slack and GE. eBay produced “Open for Business” which brings you behind the scenes of how great businesses are built from the ground up. They answer many questions any start up could have from hiring, pricing, and advertising. Microsoft’s “HUNT the TRUTH” is a fictional storyline based in the Halo Universe (Microsoft’s famous video game franchise.) This was a surprise hit and a great way to tease the soon to be released newest installment of the franchise. Slack, a cloud based team collaboration tool, hosts a podcast called “Variety Pack” where they reinforce the company’s goals of unifying work teams and creating a more efficient business environment. The podcast is about building great teams at work, culture, innovation, and everything in-between. Finally, GE collaborated with Slate Magazine to create “The Message” which follows a story line in its own universe where the main character’s work on decoding a message from outer space (it drew many comparisons to War of the World's broadcasted in the 1930s.) Although this doesn’t directly correlate to GE’s business, the podcast displays outside the box thinking, which is one thing GE tries to promote. (Another example of this is their Ideas Are Scary campaign.) The overall theme is that the podcast doesn’t necessarily have to correlate to a product like Microsoft’s Halo, but it can enforce company values and build relationships with its customers.

In a highly competitive advertising world, unique podcasts can be what helps your company stand out from the rest of the pack. When sponsoring or creating content for podcasts, it is important to create content that your target audience will find interesting or beneficial. It is quite the feat to have consumers voluntarily listen to branded programming. Branding and content are just as important as the products/services your business offers.