Podcasts are everywhere these days as the fastest-growing form of media. And with the accessibility of home recording devices, free services to upload one’s content, and a growing number of potential listeners, it seems like everyone and their cousin has tried to start one of their own.
But what happens if you’re a brand? How do you enter the podcasting space with a strategy, and create something that builds upon your brand? And once you’re there, how do you measure success?
We asked Ceej Tantengco, the Head of Partnerships and Development at the award-winning podcast production company PumaPodcast, about three ways podcasts can help your business.
PumaPodcast has worked with a variety of brands, from leading telcos Smart and PLDT, to NGOs like RARE Philippines and Asia Society Philippines. Three of their enterprise podcasts won Anvil Awards for PR Tools, demonstrating the impact a podcast can have in building one’s brand.
#1: Go beyond reach and build deeper relationships
Most people are familiar with the celebrity hot mic podcasts, and so many brands’ first instinct is to purchase ad placements to take advantage of their reach. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a lot more a brand can do. Not only are there multiple kinds of ads, but there are also more hardworking executions that can build deeper relationships with the audience.
An organization can sponsor episodes that feature topics aligned with the interests of their community or work with a podcast production company to create a podcast under the name of the brand. Are you a streaming service for video? Why not sponsor a pop culture podcast to make episodes discussing your shows? Are you an architecture firm looking for new clients? Why not have someone from your company guest on an urban planning podcast?
It’s not about hard-selling a product, but rather showing these audiences that you care about these topics just as much as they do.
#2: Target specific audiences
“One of the biggest myths is that mass media equals mass audience,” says Rishad Patel of Singapore-based media startup Splice. A podcast will not replace your billboards or your TVCs, but it should still be an important part of your integrated marketing ecosystem.
Podcasts’ strength is not in their raw reach, but in the depth of investment and trust that listeners have in the podcasts they listen to. You can see this in how leading global brands approach their own podcasts—it’s not meant to engage with everyone, but rather with a hyper-specific audience in mind. It’s not broadcast, it’s “narrowcast.” This is why in podcasting, reach is a less valuable metric than retention.
LVMH, the conglomerate behind luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Bulgari, has “Tips to the Top,” a leadership podcast sharing inspiring stories from high-ranking women within their company. It specifically targets ambitious career women as its listeners—a key consumer group for their company.
Meanwhile, the ice cream brand Ben and Jerry’s has a podcast about racial justice in America, produced with Vox Creative. Why? Because it aligns with their brand values. They’ve been known to donate to progressive causes and even endorse Democratic candidates during the US Elections.
The billboards exist to sell ice cream to the general public, but we can surmise that their podcast is about earning their core community’s lifetime loyalty because of shared values. They know who they want to talk to, and they double down.
#3: Give the public a new way to engage with your brand
A common problem faced by brands (especially in the utilities and banking sectors), is that their social media page functions primarily as a help desk. You may try to put out brand-building content, but the comments section remains flooded with customer concerns.
Podcasts offer the chance to—literally—engage in a different conversation. For example, PumaPodcast produced Smart Communications’ “Philippinerds,” a podcast that celebrates pop culture in the Philippines. Its first season spoke to experts and fans about Korean culture in the Philippines, with mini-documentaries on topics like how K-Dramas came to local TV for the first time, and why they resonate with Pinoys.
It’s still in line with Smart’s overall push involving Korean endorsers and data promos to stream Korean content, but separate enough from the day-to-day operations to give Filipinos a new way of interacting with the telco brand.
Podcasts are here to stay. It’s worth exploring what they can do for your brand. And as in business, the strategy goes a long way.