The Podcast Revolution

“Read any good books lately?” “Seen any decent movies recently?” These familiar questions about what to read or see are now joined by another medium: “Heard any cool podcasts?” Yes, the power of podcasts marches on. Podcasts entertain, and even educate. Oh, and now there are new and interesting possibilities for brand recognition, thanks to podcasts.

The popularity of podcasts

The rising popularity of listening to podcasts is in part the result of changes that people adapted to during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, it was reported that by the end of 2020, there were 345 million monthly active listeners who used audio streaming services, which was an increase of 27 percent from the year before. And the demand for podcasts has only increased.

Podcasts can be heard at anytime and anywhere

In an article for MUO (Make Use Of), a publication focused on modern technology, Danny Maiorca observed that convenience is a strong factor in the appeal of podcasts. As with their “technological ancestors”—radios, Walkmans, and MP3 players—podcasts can be listened to practically anywhere, while the user is either cleaning house, cooking or cleaning, among other activities. Podcasts are popular with multitaskers. And yet, there’s more…

The “something extra” offered by podcasts…

Taking the benefit of absorbing information even further, Mr. Maiorca points out that podcasts enable people to become educated on a variety of subjects without their having to spend a great deal of money. Many topics, with just as many viewpoints are available to listeners in a manner (read: podcast) that was not as conveniently available to them before. In some cases, content that was available in one format is being converted to a podcast. Consider IKEA, the Swedish furniture, appliance, and accessories megabrand. More specifically, do you remember the IKEA catalog?

IKEA’s catalog—from print to podcast

This past March, CNN reported that the detailed content found within the IKEA catalog—a hefty volume of printed pages—was being converted to a podcast that’s approximately four hours in length. IKEA’s selling point behind this change was to give people something new to listen to—playing on the very possible notion that they’ve already heard most other podcasts out there. The IKEA podcast is divided into chapters that include everything from a variety of furnished homes to how-to tips for decorating. And, this podcast can be accessed—free-of-charge—through well-known streaming platforms such as YouTube and Spotify, among others.

A sign of the times?

In addition to offering listeners unique content to hear instead of see, IKEA also migrated its catalog to podcast format as a complement to the rise in digital sales, which—once again, because of the pandemic—increased 45 percent by August 2020. It is too soon to know if IKEA’s conversion from print to podcast will signal similar actions from other brands, but this method of delivering and consuming content is definitely on course to continue.

Other unique branding opportunities

Very few businesses have the power that a brand like IKEA has to plan and produce as impressive an undertaking as a four-hour podcast. Consider however, that the power of a podcast is as strong as a person’s interest. Regardless of name recognition or budget, brands and businesses have a new and unique opportunity to present their knowledge to interested listeners in an informal, relatable method. The listener will remember not only the podcast, but also the name of the business or brand that provided this valuable content. Who knows? A business/customer relationship may develop—all from simply tuning into a podcast.

EGC has joined the podcast revolution with The Content Studio, our in-house shop where audio and video features are produced alongside video material. Check it out, and if you think a podcast could be a novel way to promote your business, get in touch with us.

We’d love to hear from you. And potential customers may want to hear from you.