June 6, 2022

Not just talk: Why branded podcasts are worth the hype

Adriane Borden

Strategy Director

Jingles. Music samples. Radio ads. Using sound to promote a product is nothing new, but advertising through conversation is increasingly popular via podcasts. Companies use stories, culture, education, and entertainment to build their brands, showcase their values, and further their missions. Either on their own or with the help of the major podcast production companies like Gimlet, Panoply, or Pineapple Street, brands of all sizes are starting their own podcasts to keep the conversation fresh with their audience.

Why create a branded podcast?

Between streaming, gaming, and zooming – our visual attention span is maxed out. Consumers seeking relief from visual fatigue found podcasting, triggering an industry rush to audio platforms. So why are more people tuning into new podcasts? Consumers can multitask while being entertained. Driving to work, doing chores, and working out are all a little better with a little banter streaming through your earbuds. 

And the numbers back it up.

A BBC Global News neuroscience study discovered that branded podcasts are more effective than TV or radio ads. Researchers surveyed 2,500 consumers across four continents and measured their "second-by-second brain activity" while respondents consumed content. 

The art of conversation

Podcasts reflect the passions of niche audiences. When people like a host, it feels personal. You can feel their cadence and demeanor while connecting over shared interests. Hosts are the most authentic influencers because they are not just about vanity – they convey deeper meaning through conversations, opinions, and interests that consumers can nod along to. In fact, authentic conversations between hosts can create real trust – and as an extension – build trust in your brand.

Just like social media, podcasts build community. Creating intimacy with your audience can help deliver your brand message more conversationally – and inform who your influencers could be, who your hosts will be, and what topics they want to hear about. 

Who's doing it right

Trader Joe's – "Inside Trader Joe's" gives diehards a behind-the-scenes look at the store's history, employees, and operations. The show is entirely about Trader Joe's, but it produces content that Trader Joe's cult of shoppers cares about: health, sustainability, environmental impact, etc.

Lyft – the "Pick Me Up" podcast features Lyft drivers chasing big dreams on and off the road. The host of the podcast hitches a ride with a driver to uncover and share their story. And then, they'll give them a little – pick me up – to help them on the journey to their goal. 

General Electric – "The Message" podcast (and its sequel, Life After) is an eight-part science fiction series that follows a group of cryptographers investigating mysterious transmissions using real technology developed and sold by General Electric. It's a unique way to bridge the gap between entertainment and GE's commitment to tackle the world's biggest challenges. 

How to create a successful brand podcast

  • Do a competitive analysis to see who else is speaking on the same topics or targeting the same audience. Take some time to listen to other podcasts that exist in your category and take note of quality, length, format, and what you liked/didn't like about the series. Then, put those insights into action.
  • Choose your format – interview, discussion, multi-story, scripted narrative, etc.
  • Choose hosts carefully. Because hosts are essentially brand influencers, they must reflect your brand's ideas and tone of voice.
  • Decide who your distribution partner will be. Podcast distribution platforms are handy services that upload and distribute your podcast to major listening platforms.
  • Start building your audience before you launch on your social media or any other platform where your brand has conversations with your audience. Start some build-up on Instagram or Facebook to build your podcast base before your first podcast drops.
  • Feedback is a gift: Don't be afraid to gather listener feedback and adjust accordingly.

That’s it! You’re ready to grab the mic. Need a few pointers? We’re at your service. Shoot us a note at aborden@curiosity.fun.

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