How brands are using podcasts to engage with audiences on a deeper level

No – podcasting‘s no longer a new, shiny thing anymore. It’s not a passing fad. There are very real reasons why companies are involving themselves with podcasting and finding how it’s a powerful way to engage with audiences.

Much of its magic is that people are actively choosing to listen – which allows brands’ personalities to come across in the storytelling of a podcast more sincerely than other forms of media.

We spoke with some of the leading podcasting experts on how incredibly powerful podcasting can be for organisations who are looking to engage more fully with audiences.

James Cridland, leading podcast commentator says podcasting’s “lean-in” nature makes it so engaging:

“I think people have actually made the decision to listen – it’s not wallpaper,” Cridland insists. “People typically are listening with earbuds in. So, they’ve actually got real attention, real focus on what they’re listening to; and you can’t very easily at least turn off your ears.”

Compared with other media, podcasting allows audiences to more effectively remember a brand’s message.

“You know you can’t very easily skip through advertising in the way that you can in the newspaper, for example,” James says. “When an ad comes on – particularly if it’s a sponsorship message being read by the presenter that you’re listening to anyway – you do actually pay notice to it.”


American podcast commentator and author of HotPod newsletter, Nick Quah, agrees.

“You have an audience that explicitly chose to consume the thing,” Quah says. “This is a space in which the audience is right for an interaction of the advertiser. They will listen to an hour-long conversation that’s very compelling and they would sort of stumble into the advertising experiences in a way that is meaningful to them.”

One brand which is diving head-first into podcast engagement is GE, which has produced several podcasts. In Australia, it created Decoding Genius, a 6-part podcast series on childhood geniuses and innovators, and which won an International News Media Association Award.

Joanne Woo, VP Communications of GE Australia, says audiences’ relationships with brands has evolved.

“I think the world has changed so significantly that the way people want to interact with brands is completely different to 10 years ago, five years ago, even 12 months ago,” Woo says. “They really want to connect on a deeper level and they want to hear stories that resonate with their families and their aspirations.”

Podcasting is allowing GE to build on its reputation as an innovative company.

“It allowed us to own the innovation space and be the head of the marketing curve plus engage GE customers and attract new ones,” Joanne Woo says. ” And to me it proved that brands can own innovative and evergreen content and be storytellers.”

Mamamia Women’s Network has also embraced podcasting to speak with its community of women.

“What’s great about podcasting is it’s really intimate,” says Kylie Rogers, former Managing Director of Mamamia. “And women are leaning in. They’re choosing to better understand what content we’re tackling within that podcast and so they want to be there.

“And we have something like 82 percent unaided ad recall for all of our clients who are sponsoring our podcasts — it is very, very effective,” Rogers insists.

That’s an incredible statistic – 82% unaided ad recall! How many ads do you remember from inside a glossy magazine you last flicked through, or from the dozens of ads blasted at you from an hour of commercial radio?


According to Peter Gearin, branded content strategist and founder of online magazine, Branded Tales, it’s podcasting’s ability to provide credibility and trust over time, which is so powerful for brands to engage with audiences.

“In the end what good content marketing does is help build credibility, awareness and trust over time. And then you hope that the audience that actually is listening to you will eventually award you with their business.”

And that’s what some of Australia’s leading companies and organisations are doing – building a level of trust and authenticity in the podcasts they create or are associated with.

Final thoughts are from GE’s Joanne Woo:

“Certainly, what we’re seeing is that audio is experiencing significant growth as a platform and will one day be consumed just as frequently as video, if not more. So, I think as a brand you need to have an audio strategy – it provides a channel for brands to engage with the audience at a more intimate level.”

This article is from a special podcast episode of BE Podcasting. Listen to Do you have a podcasting strategy?