Positing PodBranding: How to Build Credibility, Connections, and Coin through Audio Content


Audio Branding typically refers to an immediate recognition of a piece of music and identifying it with a specific company. Think of NBC’s bell-like tones or the sadly unforgettable McDonald’s ‘I’m lovin’ it’ ditty. Now it’s time to open your mind to include podcasting in the Audio Branding mix (pun intended).

Put simply, a HUGE point companies are forgetting when it comes to utilizing audio/podcasting technology is that building an audio library of content provides vast new storehouses of intellectual property that can brand your firm as an expert in an industry, build connections with your audience, and make (or save) you money.


Podcasting allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader in an industry. And by virtue of interviewing experts for your podcast, (if you’re doing an interview show) listeners will automatically begin to trust your firm since you’re providing them free value-added information, no-strings-attached. It’s the same logic as writing an article for a magazine where you tray and prove you’re really smart without pitching your wares and leave your contact info in a byline. You’re essentially saying, “Of course I’d love your business. But I know I have to earn your trust and I’m willing to provide you with some content rich, pearls of wisdom for free. Hope to hear from you.”

One company that has done Audio Branding extremely well is BMW. On your next lunch break, give yourself a listening treat and check out BMW’s Audiobook presentation of, Master of The Storm. This business thriller is set entirely inside a BMW automobile and as author James Flint states in an interview about the series, “I tried to make the car a miniature theatre for the listener.” The effect works. Within moments of listening to the story you’re virtually enveloped in fine leather seats and a compelling yarn that delivers exactly what you’d imagine a BMW experience should sound like—sophisticated, romantically foreign, and expensive.

Likewise, IBM has created an extremely user-friendly and interactive Podcast in their IBM ShortCuts series that provides weekly tips on making the most out of email, IM, blogs and other online tools. Listeners can contribute their own comments or expertise or put questions to IBM experts. The show lends an approachable and playful voice to Big Blue that demonstrates why IBM stays at the forefront of innovation—they understand that products/services need to communicate to customers on a real level versus relying on business-speak.

Another organization that utilizes the mindset of creating value-added content for listeners is AIM Global, a leading RFID trade association based in Warrendale, PA. Their, Hear and Know weekly podcast features interviews with leading tech leaders on everything RFID. “Podcasting has literally added a new dimension to our communication’s efforts,” says AIM President, Dan Mullen. “Our audience can hear, first hand, the perspective of industry leaders from around the world. In the association world credibility is huge and our executive interview series separates us from other media outlets.”

‘Separates’ is an especially important concept in terms of the value of PodBranding. We all have too much to read. If you’re not producing content for your audience to hear, they’re going to listen to someone else.


  1. This item by Mr. Havens on Podbranding basically has it right on all points.

    However, until and unless podcasting as a medium has the ability to “separate” itself (to use the third party attribution in the Havens item) from other media, in particular radio and television broadcasting — Podbranding as an integral part of the media mix will find it difficult to find audiences on a regular and systematic basis.

    The reason for this is because Podcasting to this day has no “overall” content organizing apparatus in place, where listeners and viewers, especially in connection with brand-related content, can in effect “tune in” to this or that podcast “aggregation” of thematically organized content, as is the case with radio and television.

    It is true, of course, that certain “podcasting” entities on the public Internet intend for their own brands to become focal points for podcasts in the general sense. But, such entities nonetheless do not constitute an overall organizing apparatus, (or way to find different podcasts regardless of the website that lists them).

    For radio, the organizing equivalent is frequency assigned stations that focus on this or that content “format”; and, for television vertical channels, all of them on cable.

    Ironically, Podcasting as a “medium” actually does have the ability in the technical sense to organize all podcasts, in so-called master channels to which brand names are assigned in the form of, for example, .

    Hundreds of such product and service “brand channels” are available to podcasters on a network of product and service-specific master channels – that are actually called “pods”, and which were laid across the public Internet, for exactly that purpose, brand name specificity in content thematic channels, beginning as far back 1998-99.

    The problem (for podcasting and podcasters) is that (apparently) nobody in the podcasting community seems to realize that the equivalent of thematically consistent radio and television networks is available to anyone who requests access to an appropriate “pod” to which the name of the brand-related podcast is attached as in, for example, , , and so on and so forth across almost the entire spectrum of everyday common consumer products and services.

    Derick Harris
    Cyber ID
    Volcano, Hawaii

  2. I would agree that we have only scratched the surface of “podbranding”. The human voice reaches people on several levels including emotional, personal, primal and intellectual that is very difficult to convey in writing.

    While written word has strengths in being a well constructed stream of consciousness laid out in a pre-planned format. However, the spoken word in a podcast “speaks” to the person that is far more personally engaging.

    In response to Mr. Harris’s post, I agree that podcasting channels need to emerge that better align podcasts into more thematic and well focused websites than simply an all encompassing directory like Odeo, etc.

    My concept is called PodcastBuffet.com and is a network of affiliated websites that are each dedicated to a very specific niches such as yogapodcasts.com, indiefilmpodcasts.com, etc. The reasoning is that the advertisers will in essence have a “one-stop-shop” for all of their podcast ad insertion needs. They will have access to specific podcasts relevant to their target audience as well as the websites themselves which will offer traditional banner ads, product intros, etc.

    I have explored some of these concepts in a column I write for called, “Podcast Predictions” at VitalPodcasts.com. Check out “Podcast Advertising Models”, “Business Applications” and “College Lectures” where I basically break down how podcast lectures will emerge as a ned digital content category and could be a huge windfall for all major universities (and the professors/lecturers)and will be one of the hottest topics in the world of podcasting in 2007.

    In response to

    The comment by Derick harris is right on


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