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The Art of a Good Pod: Authentic Stories and Maybe Reading Your Dad’s Porn

Trends and Insight 263 Add to collection
Kathleen Moroney, creative director at Red Apple, shows how brands can enter the podcast space without disturbing the balance between podcaster and listener
The Art of a Good Pod: Authentic Stories and Maybe Reading Your Dad’s Porn
You’re on the way to work, it’s raining and the bus is late, and yet you’re smiling - laughing even. Heads turn as you chuckle and giggle, snort and cackle. Guffaws ring out and laughter peels from your lips. But no, you’re not having a nervous breakdown or channelling Heath Ledger’s Joker - you’re listening to a podcast!

And then the host wraps up the segment and an advert comes on - skip!

But wait, this advert is funny. The host, whilst obviously in partnership with a brand, is making the commercial their own, and you’re listening as intently as you would to the actual content - this can’t be normal.

And yet it is. As more brands enter the podcasting world - through the creation of sponsored content or their very own branded shows - their integration is growing ever more seamless; more tailored to audiences and listeners than ever before. But how exactly does this happen? How do brands create sponsored content that adds value to the listener; that doesn’t jar or jape - but entertains and excites? 

Well, we caught five minutes with Kathleen Moroney, Red Apple Creative’s creative director, to find out exactly that. In this interview, Kathleen reveals the podcast that has her in stitches and the biggest mistake brands make when trying to join the podcasting big leagues...

Q> Why must brands think so differently about podcasting and creating sponsored podcast content?

Kathleen Moroney> The most unique thing about podcasts is the loyalty. Something like 92% of people will listen to a podcast alone, so it’s usually a very private, personal activity. In addition to this, most people will be listening on headphones - the immersion is total. It’s a real ‘lean in’ experience. As a brand, this can be a sensitive space to work into. You’re essentially tapping into a very trusting relationship between the podcaster and the listener - which, when done well, can be fantastic. 

Also, there has to be a certain letting go of control when a brand works with a podcast, and whilst there should always be a collaborative attitude, the host or hosts really have to be left alone to communicate the message in the way they think is best. It’s why their listeners listen to them at the end of the day. 

Q> Outside of sponsorship or advertising, how can brands create authentic podcasts themselves? 

Kathleen> All good podcasts have to start with a good story. Listeners will only engage with content that holds value for them and has an engaging narrative at its heart. To this end, the starting point for brands should always be the mining down to that fantastic core idea - only after that should logistics such as styles and formats be thought about. 

Jaguar Land Rover and Acast did this exceptionally well with their ‘Discovery Adventures’ podcast series. JLR created a family-friendly fully scripted adventure series, told through 3D binaural and immersive audio and designed to be listened to in the car, all together. By placing the customer at the centre of their creative process, rather than wedging in a semi-related message, JLR created a final product that held huge value for their audience. 

Q> What are the biggest mistakes brands make with podcasts? 

Kathleen> Inauthenticity. And trying to push a message without really thinking about the consequences. 

Brands that shoe-horn blanket messages into these semi-private audio spaces - that don’t take deep consideration of the podcast or its audience, run the risk of creating to the brand’s detriment. Listeners can always tell when there’s content that doesn’t fit organically with the show - no matter how big or popular the brand itself is. Taking something that was written in a creative department and putting it in the mouth of a listener’s favourite host is instantly identifiable as disingenuous, and could work against the brand.

There also has to be a strategic tailoring of the advertising strategy across the entire audio-sphere. From radio spots, to audio streaming spots on platforms such as Spotify, to podcasting platforms - there has to be a differentiation of the content created.

Q> And finally, what podcast has you hanging onto every word? 

Kathleen> It has to be ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno.’ It’s such a simple idea that truly feels like a passion project - well, as much of a passion project as reading porn your father has written, of course. But when you listen to it, it really does feel like you’re sat with friends, reading ridiculous raunchy excerpts and laughing along. It’s authentic and funny - no wonder the country fell in love with them. The fact they’ve managed to create a brand in the process is testament to truthful, value-added work.

Kathleen is creative director at Red Apple Creative, part of the same group of companies as SNK Studios who sound design and mix a plethora of agency audio and visual content - including all of Red Apple’s audio. Working across original content creation, writing, producing and consultation, Kathleen is constantly innovating what the audio space could look like. For more about Red Apple, and their latest projects, please click here.
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SNK Studios, Fri, 14 Jun 2019 11:45:16 GMT