Tuning In: How a Podcast Can Elevate Your Brand

If the 1930s were considered the Golden Age of radio, then consider today’s media landscape the Golden Age of podcasts – and with good reason. Branded podcasts are an opportunity for companies to increase brand awareness, engage with their existing community, and become thought leaders in their respective fields. If you’re a brand looking to launch a podcast, here’s what should be on your radar:

Branded, But Not Too Branded

Podcasts are a proven highly effective way of reinforcing your brand’s mission to your target audience, but we’d like to argue that the best branded podcasts are the ones that don’t feel like branded podcasts at all.

Life is Good's branded podcast, featuring guest Casey Harris

In summer 2019, we worked with Life is Good to produce and launch the Life is Good Ping Podcast: a podcast all about the power of optimism. Co-founders Bert and John Jacobs sit down with inspirational icons in music, sports, business, and more to discuss how they push back on today’s negativity and embrace optimism. Positivity is at the heart of the Life is Good brand (I mean, it’s literally in the name), and the Ping Podcast truly drives home their optimistic mission without overbearing listeners with direct Life is Good advertising or product placement.

Podcasts such as #LIPSTORIES from Sephora, Why We Eat What We Eat from Blue Apron, and Slack Variety Pack by Slack are other listen-worthy examples of companies that have mastered the fine line between getting your brand identity across without losing the reason why people tune in to begin with: to get some good content.

Loyalty Beyond Listening

26% of Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis and 17% tune in weekly – and we mean really tune in, with 45% reporting that, when listening to a podcast, they listen to most (if not all) of the episode (Edison). Advertisers can pay for this kind of dedication, but with podcasting, loyalty happens naturally.

Not only are podcast listeners fiercely loyal to their favorite producers, but their loyalty will follow podcasters beyond just streaming platforms. Take Dax Shepard: his podcast, Armchair Expert, averages one million downloads per episode, and the podcast’s Instagram (@armchairexppod) has amassed nearly half a million followers. That’s a community of over 450,000 engaged fans, dedicated to Shepard’s podcast.

Branded podcasts can also act as an extension of your existing company or personal brand, garnering interest from both new and old fans. Influencers are a prime example of this: popular college influencers Danielle Carolan (@daniellecarolan) and Brooke Miccio (@brookemiccio) collaborate on their podcast, Gals On The Go, which has a 4.6-star rating with over 4,000 reviews on Apple Podcasts. Their podcast stays true to the girls’ individual, personal brands, as they engage in casual conversation about college, lifestyle, travel, and more. While their personal YouTube channels (and collective 730,000 subscribers) drive current fans to their podcast, those who find the girls organically through podcast streaming platforms will likely check out their other social media.

Dax Shepard's branded podcast Armchair Expert
Gals on the Go branded podcast by YouTubers Danielle Carolan and Brooke Miccio
Man listening to a branded podcast

Content On The Move

One distinctive benefit of podcast listening is that it’s a passive activity. Videos on social media and streaming platforms require the viewer’s full, undivided attention to get a message across. However, podcasts aren’t as needy. Of those who listen to podcasts on a regular basis, 22% are listening while driving, and 11% are listening while working. 49% are listening at home, which means they’re probably listening to Crime Junkie while walking their dog or cleaning the house (Edison).

Podcasts allow fans to tune in while pursuing other activities: an important distinction from video-based series or platforms. This means that brands can reach their target audiences during times where video just can’t compete and the casual, conversational format of podcasts make consumers more receptive to the message of the content.

Controlling The Message

Producing a branded podcast means you get to control your message. What do you have to say? What do you want people to know, and how can you tell them in a new, engaging way?

For example, Life is Good promotes their message of optimism but includes a ping pong challenge at the end of each segment to keep things interesting. Chances are you already know a lot about your audience, so use existing research to find a way to cater to your target market.

If you’re looking for a new medium to engage with your core audience, give podcasting a whirl. You’ll have the space to really prove your brand values while attracting new audiences that share those same values during times where videos and images can’t.

Our work producing the Life is Good Ping Podcast earned several first-place finishes during the 2020 award season, including a Gold Bell Ringer from the PR Club of New England, a PRSA Bronze Anvil, and a PRNews Digital award.

Looking to add a podcast to your brand toolbox? Need help getting your ideas off the ground? Drop us a line, we’ve got your back!