Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing mediums globally and Gareth Cliff, of CliffCentral.com, believes it is no different for the continent. “Podcasts are beautifully crafted stories in audio and visual that come into an audiences’ lives when it suits them,” he says.
Cliff hosted a panel discussion on podcasts at the recent TBWA Disruption conference held in Johannesburg.
Panellist Siya Metane (SlikourOnLife) says people are choosing new media options. “If you are a brand you want to be in the position where you are chosen.” He adds that in the digital world we are living in, it’s not just brands competing against brands for peoples’ attention. “Brands are finding themselves positioned against an individual with only 10 followers, but he believes he is a brand. It is not even brand to brand competition; it is opinion to opinion competition.”
Where podcasts differ to platforms such as Twitter is that they allow for real engagement, says fellow panellist, Thami Pooe (The Interchange). “Podcasts, unlike Twitter, which is an echo chamber, allows the audience to engage with a topic from all sides.”
Panellist Timothy Maurice (The Brain and Brand Show) agrees with them. “People assemble and collect content. This makes the content more valuable than when you sell it to them. When content is collected and shared a higher priority is placed on it. This is what podcasts do.”
However, while audiences understand the value of podcasts, the same can not always be said for brands. Maurice says:
Clients/brands tend to ask how many listeners a podcast attracts instead of asking what that audience is interested in, what is the potential of this audience and this opportunity. Instead of focusing on the numbers, he says brands should be thinking about creating ways to connect.Brands such as BMW and General Electric (GE), with podcasts on food and true crime respectively, are good examples of brands who understand this. “These brands’ link to their audience is bringing them content they know their audience cares about,” says Cliff.
Podcast is not target marketing - instead, the audience chooses you, says Cliff. “Hard sell is the worst thing you can do in this environment. Podcasts are about good old storytelling and that is what makes it so powerful.”