Podcasting has really taken off in the last 10 years. A slightly new take on talk radio, podcasting has become a prominent tool for communications and public relations professionals. In recent years several brands have emerged with their own podcasts, providing a less traditional avenue of exposure and awareness.
In 2016, the dating app Tinder launched DTR, a podcast about dating and relationships in the digital age. Each episode focuses on one person who is trying to find love on Tinder. The host and producers take control of the guests’ Tinder account and then advises them as they message matches and go on dates. Though the series is sponsored by Tinder and the app is mentioned many times throughout each episode, it does not feel like you’re listening to a commercial. The show is not about Tinder, it’s about human connections in the digital era. The producers have created an authentic and captivating series that promotes Tinder but does not feel like advertising.
A recently launched branded podcast is In Your Dreams, sponsored by Casper. The premise has the host analyzing listeners and guests dreams in comical and interesting ways. Casper is a mattress company, so the association with dreams is clear, however, it is not forced. Earwolf produces the podcast and comedian Chris , Casper is not actually making the podcast, but their financial support is what allows it to exist. They get the brand exposure and association with a cool show concept, without a lot of the work.
In our Social Media and Digital Communications class, we discussed Purina’s branded podcast Dog Smarts, which involves a canine expert exploring different areas of dog’s brains and development through interviews with other experts. Purina makes pet food, but that is not what the show is about. The podcast will draw in readers interested in the subject matter and then create a positive association for the with Purina. It feels more authentic than traditional advertising and marketing initiatives.
Branded podcasts are likely to grow in numbers as more companies and organizations see the benefit the existing ones are bringing to brands. With interesting subject matter and the right equipment, anyone can start a podcast. There are many possibilities for brands of all sizes to break into podcasting for a more authentic communications tactic.