Once upon a time… in Content Town, the summer was hot and ideas were scarce. The two leaders ‘Informative’ and ‘Entertainment’ had started becoming more tolerant of each other, thanks to ‘Quirky’, who acted as a mediator. But problems of this “idea drought” still persisted and now there was now a new guy in town – a Content Hunter called ‘Podcast’. He was struggling with a particularly special problem - for some reason, he wasn’t able to hunt down the required content and sell it to the local Content Factory as his taxes to stay in the town.
This is also how many content creators felt when podcasts first entered the marketing scene. They had the skill and the means, but they just weren’t sure of how to use the medium to create relevant content while also trying to retain existing consumers.
So what exactly are podcasts? In common terms, they could be called pre-recorded audio programs that are available to stream or download on your phones or PCs whenever you would want to hear them. So… a sound-based marketing tool huh? Well, what is it about sound that makes it such a great way to market your brand, you wonder? The answer to that is also quite simple – sound makes it possible for a listener to hear the emotion and meaning behind a brand’s words! Wouldn’t that feel like a personal touch? Yes, it would, and that is precisely why podcasts can play a key role in the digital marketing strategies of companies today.
Many famous brands have engaged in podcast marketing, the most notable of which is fast food giant McDonald’s with its 2018 venture titled The Sauce. Born out of controversy, this audio show employed an investigative format and was the result of a solemn promise made by the brand to revive and supply Szechuan sauce to all its loyal fans across the US and how, despite all its best efforts, it failed to keep it. Another example of a big brand going “audio” is eBay’s Open for Business which was launched in 2016. Centred on helping its audience develop their business from scratch, this podcast followed a journalistic format and focused mainly on entrepreneurs who were successful in building a business from a simple idea to a full-fledged company.
Ever since it has hit the markets, podcasts have taken the general media consumers by storm. Listeners can now connect with businesses of all kinds through a simple audio streaming format, and all of this is precisely what makes podcasting a fantastic tool for businesses to communicate with customers about their services!
Then one day, in a fortuitous turn of events, Podcast met Quirky. And even though you couldn’t tell it at the time, this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful partnership. Quirky, using the insights he gained during the time he spent with Informative and Entertainment, realised that he could help Podcast hunt the content he was so desperately looking for! Podcast needed Quirky to find the content that he could sell to the Content Factory in return for some Consumer Retention Currency, and Quirky needed Podcast because he saw his audio talents as powerful and way ahead of their time, and also as an opportunity for self-growth! Then suddenly, something occurred to Quirky.
He realised that if somehow his new pal could meet with Informative and Entertainment, then their combined abilities could in fact help the entirety of Content Town get through this calamity! But alas, it all sounded too good to be true! Why would they want to meet him? Why would they want to bother with him when they’re already doing fairly well?
However favourable podcasts got, not every brand or firm agreed to jump on this bandwagon. Brands that use marketing techniques that rely on a good balance between direct information and creativity are less likely to go down this new route of quirky podcast marketing. For instance, brands like Axis Bank or WD Elements don a more serious face with their marketing approach and are quite content with their traditional marketing styles and if it works for them, there’s no reason why they should change it.
However, brands like HSBC and Larsen & Toubro, albeit with similar serious tonalities, have openly and quite successfully engaged in podcast marketing, making them exceptions to this notion of “not suitable for everyone”. This reinforces the already evident fact that generalisations in the marketing realm are often of little meaning as tides can turn at any time and the brands that keep its bow of strategy pointing forward will gallantly tear through the waves of ever-changing market trends and make it to safe waters.
Entertainment & Informative finally, after much fuss, went on to acknowledge Podcast as the newest member of their town… and Quirky and Podcast set out on several new adventures together and always harnessed each other’s abilities to help Content Town flourish! Will they ever become friends with Informative or Entertainment? Will any of them propose a solution to end this drought of ideas that plagues their home? What lies ahead for them, we do not know. But what we do know is that the denizens of Content Town need all four of them now more than ever.