SOFA SESSIONS #6: HOW BRANDS CAN LEVERAGE THE POWER OF AUDIO
Welcome to our sixth Sofa Session – the series zooming best-in-class social expertise straight to your screens.
Joining Gemma Glover, ENGINE’s Head of Influencer Strategy, this week was Oenone, host of chart-topping podcast Adulting, Adam Uytman, Director of Content at Listen and Matt Vieira Bazley, Social Media Manager at Direct Line Group. Together, they discussed how brands can best leverage the power of audio, and the role that influencers can play in building a brand’s presence within the audio space.
The past few months have seen huge changes in the way we consume and engage with social media content, and audio has undoubtedly been one of the most interesting areas of growth.
There is no more intimate content experience than audio. Unlike other mediums, it can reach people wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. It’s incredibly personal and holds huge potential for brands. At ENGINE, we believe it’s a golden age for audio content – the question is, how do brands make the most of this opportunity?
PODCASTS & THE PANDEMIC
Gemma kicked off this week’s discussion by asking Adam to outline the ways our consumption of audio content has changed since the coronavirus pandemic. “Audio was already growing exponentially”, explains Adam. “But since the pandemic, people have more time to listen – when they’re walking, cooking, working – so audio is more popular than ever. People are actively looking for content that helps them to manage or escape the situation, so podcasts with themes of wellness, entertainment and comedy have done very well”.
Gemma said she could relate to need for escapist content and commented on how podcasts can be good for your mental health. Helping connect you to the wider world in an accessible and intimate way. Like having a friend in the room who’s chatting to you. It also helps that podcast, and audio in general, is a medium that’s fairly easy to record and produce remotely – creating an opportunity for brands to make content that’s genuinely meaningful to their audiences during lockdown.
SAYING ‘OH YES’ TO A NUMBER ONE PODCAST
“We recently partnered with ENGINE to create Little Chapters of Chill for Churchill Insurance,” said Matt, “a series of children’s audiobooks narrated by author and podcast host Giovanna Fletcher, designed to bring more calm to the home. We’d originally planned for it to be released during the summer holidays to help parents keep the kids entertained during car journeys, but when lockdown hit, it just felt like the right time”.
When asked what the response to Little Chapters of Chill had been like, Matt said it had been amazing with the audiobooks even topping the ‘Kids and Family’ category in the iTunes charts. “Even though the project was ultimately about driving brand awareness, we went the extra mile to create this little moment of calm for families during a tough time and I think they really appreciated it”, said Matt. “We even had one parent get in touch to say that listening to the books had helped their child cope when feeling overwhelmed by the lockdown”.
Gemma posed the question, “When creating the audiobooks, did you have to think about the content differently than when you create for other social platforms?”. Matt replied that the core strategy always remains the same, but that having recognisable brand assets, such as Churchie the dog, helps to make audio feel like a natural fit for their brand. Authentically and effortlessly weaving the Churchill brand in throughout.
THE UNIQUE POWER OF AUDIO
Gemma agreed with Matt on the need for authenticity when creating any kind of influencer content, and asked Oenone whether she finds that some topics work better than others on her podcast. “Money, pensions, sex – all the things you want to talk about with your friends, but don’t always feel well-versed enough in to start the conversation”, said Oenone. “It means that when a brand wants to partner with me on my podcast, it’s because they genuinely feel aligned to the content I’m creating and the cultural touch-points I’m hitting”.
“That’s the unique power of podcasts”, said Adam. “A radio advert can pass you by, but it’s different with podcast ads. Because a podcast isn’t just something you switch on to give the room some noise. It’s something you come back for week after week, you wait for it to drop on your phone, you actively choose to listen to it and that means you’re actively choosing the adverts too”.
Gemma agreed with him, commenting that in many ways the podcast format is an advertiser’s dream. Highly sought-after, niche audiences diving into their passions in an intimate setting. Listening whilst their hands are busy, and their minds are curious. And the numbers back this up, with 75% of listeners known to take an action on a sponsored podcast message.
NEVER MISS A MOMENT.