As we have recently established, branded podcasts are a great way to reach an active, engaged audience. When developing your own podcast, you should look to others you enjoy for ideas.
Here are 7 branded podcasts you should look to for inspiration:
1. Toyota Untold (Toyota Motor Company)
- As mentioned in “5 reasons your business should have a podcast”, Toyota shifted the identity of their brand to that of a “mobility company” with the launch of their podcast Toyota Untold in 2018. Each episode features interviews with various people – engineers, employees, race car drivers, and even fans – associated with Toyota. The stories they tell shape the mobility narrative by connecting the audience with real people and what moves them.
- The podcast steers listeners towards aspects of the company they might not know about – like medical innovations and social programs – in a more meaningful way than a 60-second TV commercial. Whether talking about the business of auto shows or making the outdoors more accessible to all, each episode paints Toyota as an innovative company which develops new technologies and gives back to its customers.
- Listen to Toyota Untold here.
2. The Message and LifeAfter (GE Podcast Theater and Panoply)
- General Electric took a markedly different approach than most with their fiction podcasts The Message (2015) and LifeAfter (2016), the former of which won a Webby Award for “Best Use of Native Advertising” in 2016. Don’t let the word “advertising” fool you, this isn’t Star Trek with product placement – no mention of the protagonist using a GE appliance here! Instead, General Electric is spurring creativity and curiosity with unique sci-fi storytelling.
- Like the old-school radio drama sponsors of yesteryear, General Electric cultivates goodwill with its audience by providing entertainment for free. Their storytelling plays off innovations General Electric sees changing the world soon. As with many shows before it, GE is also hoping to encourage the next generation of researchers, engineers, and scientists to think outside the box.
- Listen to The Message and LifeAfter here.
3. Batman: The Audio Adventures (WarnerMedia)
- Speaking of old-school radio dramas, WarnerMedia is bringing back a classic with Batman: The Audio Adventures. A free podcast is the perfect way to reach those superhero fans who may not have yet subscribed to HBO Max, the new home of DC Comics’ streaming video. This audience is already used to serialized content; whether it’s a classic cartoon, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or comics, podcasts fit perfectly into their media regimen.
- Between the Batman: The Audio Adventures and the next show on this list, WarnerMedia is betting that podcast listeners will look to HBO for their television fix. While both podcasts are advertised as “streaming on HBO Max”, they are also available to people without a subscription. These podcasts show the way in which “freemium” products can help convert potential customers over to a paid service.
- Listen to Batman: The Audio Adventures here.
4. Band of Brothers Podcast (WarnerMedia)
- WarnerMedia is getting fans to dust off their VHS box sets (and consider subscribing to HBO Max) with their new Band of Brothers podcast celebrating the 20th anniversary of the acclaimed miniseries. By encouraging people to rewatch the series and listen to interviews with the cast and crew, WarnerMedia is likely hoping to solidify HBO Max as the home of prestige TV and break through to audiences who have not subscribed to the premium streaming service.
- The show is also hosted by Roger Bennett, host of the American soccer podcast Men in Blazers. With this move, WarnerMedia is planning to leverage Bennett’s existing podcast audience in hopes they will give his new endeavor a try. By betting on a known podcast host, WarnerMedia is making the call that he can do it better than someone from their team.
- Listen to the Band of Brothers Podcast here.
5. The Pleasure is Ours (Trojan and iHeartRadio)
- Taking known talent and using them to signal-boost your brand is a good call; something Trojan (yes, that Trojan) also did with their 8-part podcast, The Pleasure is Ours. By recruiting influencer Cody Ko to humorously interview celebrities about NSFW topics, Trojan is pushing young adults to open up about life, relationships, and, of course, safe sex. Trojan plays this well: the focus isn’t solely on condoms or other products they offer. Instead, the conversations focus on whether or not common advice is valid, with brief ad breaks by Cody Ko leveraging the idea that podcast host live reads are an effective advertising technique.
- Podcasting is particularly popular with adults ages 18 to 34, a valuable advertising demographic. If your brand is looking to connect with this young, enthusiastic audience then a podcast is a good bet – especially if the topics you want to cover may face scrutiny on other platforms.
- Listen to The Pleasure is Ours here.
6. Liquidation Preference (Kussmaul Legal and RobMakesPods Productions)
- Not every podcast needs to be an interview or an audiodrama; some are just a friend giving good advice. That’s the concept behind Fort Worth-based startup attorney Andrew Kussmaul’s podcast, Liquidation Preference. Each 10-to-15-minute episode is like a weekly happy hour meetup with your best friend who happens to specialize in startup law. Kussmaul breaks down complicated topics into easily digestible advice, all while relaxing with a drink in hand.
- Kussmaul started out strong with blogging for content marketing purposes, and his podcast is the next step. His podcast is not only great for anyone running (or looking to run) a startup, but also an excellent example of how one person can make a compelling podcast. By leaning on his own expertise, Kussmaul is not only able to establish himself as a thought leader among startup attorneys, but he also retains control over every element of his messaging.
- Listen to Liquidation Preference here.
7. 2 Minutes of Zen (Zendium)
- Toothpaste company Zendium’s podcast is proof that you do not have to commit to interviews or storytelling to have an effective audio product. Instead, the company released a 20-part podcast series focusing on 2-to-4-minute exercises that are easy to do while brushing your teeth.
- Zendium embraced the idea that podcasts are a functional medium, showing that a podcast can be the perfect way to keep your brand at top-of-mind while the customer engages with your product. If there is a particular time-consuming action associated with your product, consider creating a podcast that your customers can enjoy while using it like Zendium did.
- Listen to 2 Minutes of Zen here.
Whether it’s an interview, an audiodrama, or a solo project, podcasting can fill a marketing niche for your company. To learn more about podcasting, stay tuned to the Sparkyard blog to learn 5 Tips for Starting Your Own Podcast.
About the Author
Rob Upchurch is a freelance podcast producer and founder of RobMakesPods Productions. Looking to have the headaches of podcast production taken away so you can focus on the fun of being a creator? You can contact him at email@example.com.