top of page

Rethinking Branded Podcast Strategy: Marketers Consider Video Amid Evolving Audience Preferences.

Branded podcasts continue to evolve as marketers get more sophisticated about how they create and distribute their shows. Plus as companies take a harder look at the expense and the return they are getting from a branded podcast, that has also forced some players in the space to ask hard questions. During Lower Street’s Brand Podcast Virtual Summit last week, one of the growing conversations was around how much should a brand push into video podcasts.

“To me, podcasting is still an audio first medium. But I think video is something we're going to have to be careful about, in that there are potential audiences there,” said Nick Howard, Podcast Architect and Senior Manager at Boston Consulting Group. While he said that will put branded podcasts up against scores of digital video competitors, Howard says BCG in the near-term sees more opportunity for the firm’s clients to expand what they are doing on an audio podcast. 

“Our companies are going from just interview podcasts to more storytelling podcasts,’ Howard said. “They are looking at podcast that people want to consume – and that’s much more interesting.” 

Northwestern Mutual produces the podcast The Financial States of America and CMO Lynn Teo said she today approaches audio the same as she might other content marketing efforts on TikTok or Instagram to reach affluent, 18- to 35-year-old consumers. As brands scrutinize their spending, Teo thinks they will approach podcasts as a so-called middle funnel medium where it can help consumers consider one brand over another. “I’ve seen a trend of not just going off and creating a podcast, because it’s easy to put out one,” she said. “But to integrate it in your planning activities, so that the outcomes that you're driving are connected to your other marketing tactics.”

Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing at branded podcast producer Clark Hill Law – creator of podcasts including Cannabis Law Podcast and Immigration Today – , thinks brands need to look at the full picture of their content as well as the available channels for distribution.

“Think about your overall strategy and look at the reach and the effectiveness of a podcast,” he said. “If nobody's listening, it's time to retool that and pull back because on our end, we're a corporate resource, and we have a finite amount of money, but we also have finite amount of time. And podcast should not just exist to placate somebody's ego in your organization that has a big book of business or thinks that they are important. If it's not bringing in either leads, or awareness, or audience growth, you need to find a way to pull the plug or retool.”

Howard said there is a greater recognition that branded podcasts have a marketing purpose, whether it is generating new clients, building relationships with existing ones, or helping to recruit new employees. And he encourages companies to set up a process so that when clients give positive feedback about a podcast, it makes it to the marketing team producing the show.

Sexton said it is important to also promote a show inside the company, whether it is through internal company newsletters, sharing clips with employees, or posting on company social media. “Sometimes your best audience is within the organization,” he said. “Your people need to be listening to your podcast and know what you're all about.”

Teo said Northwestern Mutual has also learned that it is important to have data about what topics resonate with an audience, saying those can become a starting point. But others are cautious about letting listeners drive the conversation. That goes for employees, too.

“We have made mistakes, and we continue to make mistakes. I would say one of the whoppers was letting the tail wag the dog. If someone said they wanted to do a podcast and run with it, we then later tried to figure out how to rein it back in,” Sexton said. That includes issues in the early days when ownership of one of the law firm’s podcasts became a sticking point when an attorney exited the firm. “They feel they own it, and you have to be really clear that at the front end this is the corporation’s money and resources that went in the development,” he said. “We appreciate you, but this podcast will continue should you leave the organization.” 

Sexton said another mistake they made in their early days of creating content was not building enough “access points” where new hosts and talent could be swapped into a show. He also thinks brands can too easily become discouraged if they see download numbers drop-off. “It's easy to feel bad that your podcast has fallen off. Don't worry about it, Sexton said. “No one's paying that much attention to the date and time unless it's a seasonal episode, or very time sensitive issue.”

47 views0 comments


bottom of page