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Using Original Podcasts to Build Brand Relationships



Podcast pro Steve Pratt, VP and Co-Founder of the multi-award winning Pacific Content, told me his company no longer makes branded podcasts. They haven’t for a few years. They make “original podcasts with brands.” And win awards doing it for brands like Ford Motor Company, Rocket Mortgage, Morgan Stanley, Slack, and Red Hat.

The difference? These are no “thinly veiled infomercials. Instead, Pacific Content works together with their partners to “make a show that’s designed as something that only that brand can make; you give a gift — or create a significant amount of value — for the people that the brand wants to have relationships with.” And that, says Pratt, is how and why a brand makes a show that solves for their specific business problem, AND makes them into “media companies,” too.

But don’t forget about the marketing. Good content that isn’t salesy has to go hand in hand with good marketing that doesn’t just try to “interrupt.” So, excuse me (!), but marketers should listen to this informative conversation all about connecting the dots between business objectives and audience preferences via podcasting. Steve should know: his company of “50 passionate podcast nerds” is focused exclusively on original podcasts that promote brands with authenticity and without compromising quality.

Steve and I also discuss:
  • How Dell Technologies’ podcast, Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson, became a “masterclass” on disruption and innovation, and sold listeners on Dell without selling products (and you can hear Dell Global Marketer, Rachael Henke, talk about this in Epi 6 from 5/20!) 
  • Creating a branded podcast strategy like a Venn Diagram between business goals and listener interests
  • How podcasts drive loyalty
  • Opportunities for “brands as media companies”
  • Branded podcasts vs. Advertising in another podcast: What’s the litmus test? (And when Steve suggests brands call Bart Roselli at VeritoneOne, per episode 41 on effective ad campaigns!)
  • Establishing marketing effectiveness in podcasting
  • Success measurement tactics and KPIs
And, since Pacific Content gives good content themselves, don’t miss Steve’s own musings on the future of podcasting, how he did on his 2021 predictions made in our friend James Cridland’s show…and what he’s projecting for 2022!

Please share the podcast, and if you liked this episode, feel free to show support in my virtual tip jar at https://buymeacoffe.com/mossappeal — and please follow and engage with Insider Interviews on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Reach out to be considered for an episode — or suggest questions or a guest — or to have your own bespoke podcast series produced and/or hosted by E.B. Moss.

Email us at podcasts@mossappeal.com.  We’re “hear” for you!


Cadillac CMO Melissa Grady Dias on Marketing a Maverick (with heart)



A milestone! It’s Episode 40 of Insider Interviews! And for that, who better to interview than Cadillac’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Melissa Grady Dias, who is, herself, marketing a milestone: the launch of what will be the first all electric line of luxury brand vehicles (EVs), starting with the Lyriq!

This episode was recorded in September, and since then the new Lyriq has sold out of pre-sale reservations. So how did it get so popular? Why is Cadillac “the maverick” of the GM brands, and how does its marketing deliver on its corporate parent’s promise to be the most inclusive company in the world?

For the past two years, Melissa Grady Dias has held the key. She is a marketer’s marketer, a master of math and of insight-driven creative. With a heart. That “brand and demand” combo (as I’ll write more about in The Continuum) is what’s helped infuse those corporate cause-oriented values into everything from gaming tie-ins to 6-second ads, to experiential marketing with Michelin-rated chefs. To hear Melissa be moved by the definition of equity and inclusion is to understand what “drives” (sorry) much of the brand messaging, but messaging that is always backed by data.
As she explains:

“I try to understand how and where my audience is consuming media, and how they’re entertaining themselves. Then I try to be in those places, but to do it in a different way, so that it really breaks through.”

While always in pursuit of an advertising career, (“I used to watch Who’s the Boss and I loved Angela and I wanted to be like her,” she confesses) Melissa almost took a wrong turn. But discovering Database, Direct, and e-Commerce studies in a Masters program led her to expertise in performance marketing and technology. Her passion for good creative added the rest of the fuel.
After discussing how she “followed her career north star to OnStar” we took some deep dives into how she is marketing the 125-year old brand, including:
  • What it means to “show up differently” and how the Cadillac marketing team approaches the funnel differently, too (hint: upside down!)
  • With GM looking to go all EV and towards a 0, 0, 0 world (zero emissions, zero crashes, and zero congestion) how Cadillac, historically an innovator brand, is at the forefront of that effort:
  • Just why Cadillac overall — from the Escalade to the XT6 — is like the maverick of GM brands, while still infused with corporate cause-oriented values.

“Cadillac is also a bit of a maverick and we’ve always stood for those people who really have big dreams and bold ambitions, but really they’re the change-makers.”

  • Melissa’s reaction to CEO Mary Barra’s statement on making GM one of the most inclusive companies in the world, and how they’re doing that — on social, in a campaign or in how they’re spending money;

“Equity is treating everyone the same and fairly. So if there’s a dance everyone’s invited to the dance. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

  • Campaign development:

“When Regina King heard the brand manifesto, she could relate it to her story. And …it inspires me to be a better person, too. That’s how the “Never Stop Arriving” campaign was born: it’s about hitting a moment, celebrating yourself and then thinking ‘Now, how do I keep making the world better? How am I going to keep moving forward?’”

  • How they identify prospects and find them, starting with addressable and digital then filling in as they go up the funnel, right to tentpole events like their Oscars™ or PGA sponsorships;
  • Melissa’s perspective on audience demographics “I’m never saying, ‘where are the 25-54 year olds with a certain income’” and feelings about linear TV to podcasts…even their innovative use of gaming and AR and VR as part of the sales process;

(Note – Take a look at Cadillac Live for a unique view of how vehicles can be experienced in our showroom and supply-chain challenged times! And fun fact: More test drives happen on YouTube than in a car dealership! So hear how Cadillac Live deployed a takeover with a “first” on the video site!)

  • Hear how data is handled and respected and leveraged;
  • How experiential comes to life in unexpected ways, like finding inspiration in the Lyriq grill for food recipes!;
  • How future CMOs can follow a similar path to success? Melissa shares a three-point plan of action which, of course, starts with follow your passion.

Finally, hear why my heart was pounding – as with most people who experience Super Cruise for the first time – but in my case just from watching their effective long-form celebrity videos about the hands-free driving option! Melissa has described this as the “let go” moment.

As voiced by Tiffany Haddish in the video, “Sometimes you gotta grab the wheel and sometimes you just have to let it go.” It’s trust that you’ll get where you need to be. Melissa, who makes it a point to meditate daily, thinks her personal mantra – ‘I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be’ – “ties into that idea pretty well.”

Easter Egg Moment: Insider Interviews aims to give you the “insider scoop” on media, marketing and advertising, along with the personal side of execs. And you’ll catch a very human moment around 20 minutes in…. But do enjoy all 40 minutes of this informative and jam packed conversation!
If you found this helpful, feel free to help support ANOTHER 40 episodes of Insider Interviews and add to my virtual tip jar to buy me a coffee“: https://buymeacoffee.com/mossappeal
And please support us with a review wherever you listen, share this episode. Or allow me to help you get started with a podcast or content marketing strategy: podcasts@mossappeal.com.

Follow Cadillac:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cadillac
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cadillac

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THANK YOU for listening!

E.B.

 


Pearl Servat’s Visible Marketing Wisdom



When I met Pearl Servat three years ago, Visible was brand new in the world of wireless carriers, and Servat was generating content about it. Now she is fairly new in an elevated role as Head of Brand Marketing and Demand Gen for the disrupter division of Verizon Wireless, and gives good content herself in our conversation about driving customer connections.
Servat honed her PR chops in the entertainment and brand world under the mentorship of marketing heavy hitters like Pat Kingsley (PMK-BNC), but made the switch, as they say in the world of carriers, to helm “brand and demand” marketing. In Epi 39, she discusses both her own evolution, and that of Visible. Hear how she leverages partnerships with like-minded brand ambassadors and ensures the first all-digital wireless carrier in the US doesn’t forget its mission of kindness and transparency:

“I essentially sit at the intersection of where I’ve always loved to be.  Between brand building and conversion and acquisition, driving and growth.”

Mission First, Marketing Next.

  • Servat explains that Visible’s mission drove her to lead efforts to connect people during some of the scariest days of the pandemic.
  • Hear how a simple email campaign that Visible sent asking how customers were holding up during the pandemic had unexpected impact.
  • Staying true to its DNA, the brand launched the #VisibleActsofKindness campaign and garnered over 2 million organic interactions.
  • Hear her perspective on the importance of both brand and demand marketing, as her title implies, AND experiential marketing — such as when they turned Los Angeles bus stops into mock living rooms, and even ski lifts settings giving customers a tactical connection with the all digital brand in lieu of physical retail locations.

“It’s beyond just retaining the consumer for us…We truly try to be as intentional as we can at every touch point with the brand. So, it doesn’t just start and stop with marketing.”

Partnerships that Matter

  • Partnerships and brand ambassadorships help extend the reach of the brand.
  • Servat emphasizes the importance of partnering with people who live by the same mission as the company.
  • Potential partners have seen the work Visible is doing and reached out to the company, interested in collaboration—the mission drives these kinds of partnerships.
  • Staying on trend? Servat credits her team, modestly saying she’s not “nearly as hip and cool as they are.”
  • And on working with marquee names like Kevin Bacon and Dan Levy? Well…

“When it comes to talent partnerships, we do a significant amount of research…And we only work with talent who walk the walk when it comes to social impact, what they stand for on an ongoing basis, [and] how they connect with their own communities.”

To hear more on the early stage Visible marketing efforts, listen to Insider Interviews Epi 10 with then CMO Minjae Ormes.

Connect with Servat and Visible

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If you found this helpful, or liked other Insider Interviews episodes, please support us with a review wherever you listen, share this episode, and even add to my digital tip jar to “buy me a coffee!”

If I can help you connect your podcast/tv/content dots—or, just want help getting started with a podcast or content marketing strategy, please reach out to me at podcasts@mossappeal.com.

 


Warner Bros.’ Shaleen Desai is Very Animated About Good Storytelling



Shaleen Desai is like a caped crusader for content. This SVP of Adult Animation is super focused on solid stories and shares how he is bringing super heroes and more to animation…and beyond. In his career of 20+ years and counting in Hollywood, Desai has been with Letterman, Viacom/CMT, Fox 21 and gone from working with Jason Bateman at Aggregate to Warner Bros. on “Batman” and other IP. Overall, whether it’s animated or audio his focus is making sure Warner Brothers Animation products will resonate anywhere as just good storytelling!
While Insider Interviews listeners heard from Desai in Epi 33 – which was taken from his NATPE ContentCast panel about crossover IP — in this episode 36  Desai gets the chance to go more in-depth around how Warner Bros. Animation and Blue Ribbon Content work with the overall organization to tap top talent — from development to writers to the stars behind the mics. For example, when you hear those words, “I’m

Batman” in a forthcoming scripted podcast it might be spoken seriously by Winston Duke on Spotify… or by a campier Jeffrey Wright in a version called Batman the Audio Adventures on HBO Max. [Since this recording earlier in September it was announced that The Audio Adventures will launch on 9/18 — which is (who knew?!) “Batman Day“!] And of course, there’s always animation, with Batman, Caped Crusader headed to Cartoon Network and HBO Max soon.

But Desai is focused on more than super heroes. He’s also developing new approaches to content, dabbling in AI and more short digital films and podcasts through Blue Ribbon, and always working to just identify the next good story that can live, well, anywhere!
  • Want to know exactly how the pandemic shifted content consumption of more adult animation?
  • How do they pick which story might live as a cartoon or a podcast?
  • Will it land on Adult Swim or HBO Max …or even Spotify or Freeform?
  • Will Desai hire E.B. for voice work!? And why DO E.B.’s doormen call her “Batgirl”?
Learn all this and more from this Hollywood vet and the voiceover wannabe host of this episode.
Please find Shaleen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaleen-desai-aa661412/
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If I can help you connect YOUR podcast/tv/content dots, or just get started with a good #b2b podcast, please reach out to me at podcasts@mossappeal.com


A Panel with Podcasting Over-Achievers: Desai, Washington, Wilson, Lantigua-Wilson – Epi 33



ContentCast Speakers I had the good fortune of being asked by NATPE – the global trade association focused on the business of content, to help produce the first ever conference in the media/marketing industry dedicated to the topic of iterating IP from podcasting to TV and back again.

What the heck does that mean? Well, it’s basically around how TV shows are turning into podcasts to find new audiences and podcasting content has turned into TV shows and films.  Think Homeland, Dirty John, even Dirty Diana! So of course I made myself one of the moderators (oh, and a did a little co-hosting with actor Amy Hill (“Magnum, P.I.”)).

But I wanted my panel to feel a little more like a podcast. So you’ll hear some mini-1:1s with major insights from Steve Wilson, Chief Strategy Officer of QCode Media, Shaleen Desai, SVP of Adult Series for Warner Brothers Animation and their Blue Ribbon Content podcast division, Juleyka Lantigua-Williams (yes, from my “bonus episode,”) of Lantigua-Williams & Co., and Glynn Washington, Host/Executive Producer of Snap Judgment Studios.
There’s good news/bad news:
This conference streams free on July 14, 2021. If you missed the full four hour event you’ll want to join NATPE and to play that – and their myriad other conference about the content business, on demand. The good news is that at least you can hear some of THIS panel right here. The bad news? The audio is lifted right off of the conference recording. So some of the quality of the sound might not be perfect, but the quality of the content is excellent.

With that, hear why I called this a panel of over-achievers who will wow you with their accomplishments, and their insights.

Lantigua-Williams:  I am the founder of Lantigua-Williams & Co. We’re an independent podcast and film studio, and we adopted the slogan erasing the margins earlier this year, after three years of thinking about what it is that we want to do in the world. And that seemed to fit. We try to tell stories that make it really complicated to put things and people in boxes.

Washington: My name is Glynn Washington. I am the host of Snap Judgment and Snap Judgement Studios. We created the shows Spooked, Heaven’s Gate and Snap Judgement.

Wilson: I’m Steve Wilson. I’m chief strategy officer at QCode Media. We specialize in making original scripted fiction podcasts. We’re really trying to tell new stories, with amazing creators and see them become the next wave of content that we all love in the world.

Desai: I’m Shaleen Desai the senior vice president of Animation at Warner Brothers Animation. I also oversee our company’s scripted podcasts initiative for Warner Media.

Transcript:

Moss: Steve, you spent 15 years at Apple, you’re a font of knowledge. I think that you’re probably putting that to good use at QCode, which is a relatively newer to the industry. So, I wanted to start with you so that you’d give us some building blocks. What inspired you to join QCode and skip retiring with the ‘gold Apple watch’?

Wilson: Well, I certainly did enjoy my time at Apple, working with partners in the content space. I did editorial and partner relations and marketing for apple podcasts for some time. In working with partners, always envisioned myself, going to the publisher side, having the opportunity to, not just be on the platform side, but really work with original stories and amazing partners. Got to work with everyone in the podcast industry, some incredible people, including the panelists here. And, as I looked across the industry, I was fascinated by what QCode was doing.

The company that started about two years ago by a former agent named Rob Herting. And Rob had seen time and again how Hollywood can be risk-averse, and it can be challenging, to start new stories. QCode was founded to try to build new properties and audio experiences for people that the world had never heard before.

And something I’d point out at the top is it’s interesting in all the media that we consume how, fiction plays a really big role — except for in podcasts; fiction tends to be a smaller portion of podcast consumption, and we really see there’s there being a huge opportunity to expand in that area. So, I just had to jump at the chance to join QCode.

Moss: So it’s safe to say that you are bullish on narrative audio. When you and the team are deciding on that content do you do it with an eye to the long tail? How well will it get monetized and will it, you know, play in Peoria and across other platforms?

Wilson: Well, it’s a consideration. We want to tell amazing original stories that there are audiences for that can be really niche and specific content and different verticals. We are building content that’s all different genres — sci-fi through even female erotica, like our show with Demi Moore called Dirty Diana. We think broadly about the different interest areas consumers have. And then when it comes to things like derivatives and TV and film, that’s a consideration though we are primarily focused to ensure that the podcasts that we make is going to work on its own. And we turned down projects that won’t work as a podcast. So we do think about the holistic view of the stories and the content that’s being told though.

Moss: So, it’s not just QCode developing and finding the product, but it’s also those coming to you and you’re looking at it all through that lens of first will it play as a podcast?

Wilson: A hundred percent. Some of them come in as original podcast ideas. Others came from different forms of media to begin with. So, the Left Right Game, for example, was a viral Reddit thread that we developed as a podcast, and it’s now in development, with Amazon. And, we have other projects as well, like Dirty Diana came in as a book. So sometimes the idea for the podcast actually originates in another media type and becomes a podcast and then can go be that other media type as well.

Moss: I want to do something that’s common in marketing podcasts: a little cross-promotion. I want to give props to AdLandia.  It’s a great B2B podcast about the industry, (unless you think insider interviews is even better!) You were just on that episode last month and it was packed with great information — and the hosts quoted Malcolm Gladwell, who said, ‘we think with our eyes and feel with our ears.’ Is that also how QCode approaches projects?

Wilson: Yeah, I think so. Of course, Malcolm Gladwell’s is a brilliant person to quote and put things so eloquently. You know, we definitely take a lot of pride in how we put our projects together. So Q code, um, you know, really one of our pillars is rich sound design. We invest heavily in that area. We have a head of music. Is incredible, you know, classically trained pianist, a guy named Darren Johnson. He was touring with Paula Abdul and discovered by Miles Davis. Has done all kinds of work in TV and film, and he’s the one who scores, uh, our podcasts. We also partnered with Adobe on Atmos and Dolby Atmos isn’t even really supported across the industry yet on the distribution side We’ve pre produced all of our contents to really have that immersive sound because we believe that sort of elevates and takes the stories to the next level.

And we’re seeing an increase in that side too, just in the way that TV and film progressed from, you know, television sets and, you know, CTRs up through, you know, 4k HDR. We’re seeing that same increase in audio quality. And we, we make that a core part of the projects we make.

Moss: Excellent. Thank you for being our first mini episodes. Continue reading A Panel with Podcasting Over-Achievers: Desai, Washington, Wilson, Lantigua-Wilson – Epi 33


Having Sway – Danielle Wiley on Influencer Marketing



In 2020,  Danielle Wiley was included in the revered “Top 50” list by Talking Influence. And the agency she founded, Sway Group was selected by Chief Marketer as one of just three influencer agencies of the “2020 Chief Marketer 200”. So it’s a safe bet that she has something to say about #influencermarketing. And that’s what she did, in Epi 32 of Insider Interviews.

I’d had the chance to experience Wiley’s thoughts last year when she contributed to The Continuum, a publication about brand + demand marketing, which I’m privileged to edit. In that article she explained how to look at the KPIs of influencer marketing a little bit differently, and the varied ways to determine impact and engagement. We touched on that in this conversation, but a 30-minute conversation gives you a chance to understand much more — not just about this food writer turned marketer, but things like how cause-marketing is another essential ingredient in influencing consumers. And these days, Sway has evolved to embrace that (and she shared case study examples) as well as digital advertising, both programmatic and paid social, and built what was a natural extension: a content studio.

One of my favorite discoveries about Wiley (aside from learning about our common roots working at Food Network in the early days!) was that she was a baker and a cheesemonger at one point. I believe that takes the cake for eclectic pasts among my podcast guests. Her culinary chops have served her well, though, as she can name several brands in or around the category as clients, including Igloo, Coleman, and Domino’s.

If that didn’t get you hungry to hear more, here’s what else we discussed:

  • Wiley’s evolution from a baker and blogger to early stage expert in social media to our common ground in marketing chefs like Emeril as “c-hunks”!
  • Her observation of the power of engagement with popular bloggers — and the infusion of trust vs. the singular appeal of celebrity

In its infancy influencers were treated more like journalists. Brands were just sending them product and expecting that they would get reviews out of it. That worked …for a short period of time. …Then they realized ‘if we’re just sending them a box of Mac & Cheese, we can’t have control over messaging…’. And we started paying them.

  • How the transition from providing product to bloggers to hiring them necessitated greater trust and authenticity in the influencer, and the path to creative content was laid
  • How Sway itself evolved away from the “Hollywood agent” business model to be able to scale and replicate requests — whether for moms of bedwetters or people who picnic with pizza
  • How brands solve for the demand for content tonnage across multiple channels — which sparked the birth of a content studio
  • Why the most important step in the strategic brief is a deep dive into the brand’s KPIs — impressions? engagement?

The big thing to remember is that as you increase in following the engagement rate goes down dramatically.

  • What’s a micro or a nano influencer and why does it matter — and the various forms of sponsorship. (Hint: Feel free to sponsor THIS podcast just by buying me a coffee!)
  • The shift from wanting to steer clear of influencers with a point of view, to actively seeking that out — and how the GenZ demand for brand purpose has influenced how brands use influencers!
  • Wiley explained the two initiatives Sway worked on for Stonyfield Farms, for example – tapping eco-conscious influencers and creating a cause-related corporate initiative

We took a deeper dive into pro-social initiatives and examples, and the confluence of content channels. (Of course I mentioned the conference I’m producing about the intersection of television and podcasting for example!) And that led to a chat about why Wiley’s family gets a little annoyed about her heavy podcast consumption habit!

Find Danielle Wiley at:

Sway’s social channels are:
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