Branded podcast content isn’t new. Brands have been creating podcasts for a long time. But the top branded podcasts do something different from the other brands. What is this difference? What is the secret sauce to their strategies? How are these brands creating branded podcast content that stands out?
It’s no longer a me-too thing for your brand to have a podcast. No, the number game is over. Today, branded podcasts are all about quality.
Brands today, take podcasting very seriously. So seriously that they don’t just put together a tiny team to start a podcast. They tap into existing talent to create their branded shows. They hire agencies, producers, hosts, and even have an earmarked budget.
Some branded podcasts top the charts, and some others go on to win awards too.
In short, brands have fully embraced podcasting and clearly understand why they are creating a branded podcast.
Top Branded Podcasts Understand ‘Why’
If you are considering starting a branded podcast, we’d like to give you a dose of inspiration. So in this post, we shortlist 24 branded podcasts that might be well worth your attention.
In the rest of this post, you’ll learn about some very big and smaller brands that started podcasts, why these shows stand out, and what you can learn from them. Wherever possible, we’ll also share the impact that these branded podcasts had on their brands.
Please note that these shortlisted podcasts are in no particular order.
If you’re ready, let’s jump right in.
2 Minutes of Zen by Zendium
Anyone that loves their teeth!
- Do-This-While-You-Do-That positioning.
- Short 2-minute episodes.
Zendium is a popular toothpaste brand in the UK.
2 Minutes of Zen, is about dental hygiene. The show gives you quick and simple wellness hacks you can do while you brush your teeth, for a healthy mind, body & mouth. They use leading health and wellness experts to guide you through everything from a strengthening squat workout to a calming mindfulness practice, all to be done while you’re brushing your teeth. Interesting, right?
NHS Couch to 5K by NHS
Anyone that wants to be healthy, or someone that wants to run a 5k or a marathon one day.
- Learn-On-The-Go positioning.
- Every episode finishes on a high.
The National Health Service or NHS is the umbrella brand for the publicly-funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom.
NHS Couch to 5K podcast is essentially a running plan designed to get complete beginners from couch potato to running 5k (or 30 minutes) in nine weeks. When you listen to this podcast, you can not just go from being a couch potato to running 5k, but do that with the help of experts like Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli or Michael Johnson.
Slack Variety Pack by Slack
People working with teams at workplaces.
- Don’t-Be-Afraid-To-Be-Different attitude.
- Smart to use sounds from the Slack app on the show.
Slack is a software company that’s focused on making team communication easy.
And, Slack is also undoubtedly a leader when it comes to podcasting. They spent a considerable amount of time with podcast sponsorship before jumping into starting their own show – the Slack Variety Pack.
This is how Slack described its show when it first launched:
“Think of it as This American Life meets Office Space meets Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
And the audience loved it. The show garnered nearly 2 million listens over the first 15 episodes. They’ve used the podcasts effectively as a way to market themselves without being sleazy.
Work in Progress by Slack
People working with teams at workplaces.
- Distribution-driven episode length, format, and content.
You are perhaps surprised that we picked a second podcast from Slack. But we have a reason for picking the Work in Progress podcast. First, let’s understand what the show is about. Here’s an excerpt from the podcast’s description:
“Behind every working human, there’s a story. Work in Progress is a new show about the meaning and identity we find in work. Each week, hear stories of personal ambition and debilitating insecurities, great successes and abject failures, the plans we make and the luck that…happens.”
Interestingly, Slack’s founder Stewart Butterfield was so impressed by the Slack Variety Pack, that he decided to invest in creating this second branded podcast. But this time, they decided to double-down on the distribution. They partnered with SiriusXM to tap into the satellite radio’s subscriber base of over 30 million listeners.
The Sauce by McDonalds
Everyone who (now) heard about McDonald’s from all the newspapers and other media (and loyal customers who didn’t!).
- Specific purpose and short-term goal.
- Clever positioning and timing.
McDonald’s needs no introduction!
The Sauce, however, has an interesting story that we’ve written about elsewhere. Here’s what the show is about:
The Sauce is the story of how the best intentions went awry when McDonald’s brought back their coveted Szechuan Sauce.
While I’ll let you understand the full story in this post, the podcast was smartly positioned as a PR tool to reduce the impact of bad-press created due to a one-off incident in a few McDonald’s outlets.
Hackable? by McAfee
Anyone using a computer or an electronic device that’s connected to the internet.
- Narrative drama with characters similar to the listener.
- Rides on the element of curiosity, surprise, and drama in every episode.
McAfee is an American global computer security software company.
‘Hackable?’ is a branded podcast from McAfee that gives us a front-row seat to explore where we’re susceptible (from a security point of view) in our daily routines, without even realizing it.
From Wi-Fi to webcams and cars to computers, these episodes expose the places hackers may hit, and explain how they get our information.
The USP of the show lies in the fantastic rendition of the drama from real-life scenarios. The host Geoff Siskind and cybersecurity expert Bruce Snell are the characters that hold your attention in every episode, as they introduce other supporting characters to render real-life scenarios.
The Distance by Basecamp
Entrepreneurs and business owners.
- Tiny niche.
- R20-minute episodes with narrated interviews.
Basecamp is a software company that makes project management and team communication tools.
The Distance focuses on telling the stories of private businesses that have been operating for at least 25 years and the people who got them there.
The premise of the show is so unique, focusing on a tiny subset of the larger business world.
Rise & Grind by ZipRecruiter
People looking for jobs, and those hiring people.
- Smart leverage of an already-popular platform (Daymond John, in this case).
ZipRecruiter is a job search portal.
Rise & Grind is a podcast where Daymond John (of Shark Tank fame) interviews entrepreneurs, musicians, and athletes that share the secrets they use to outperform, outwork and outhustle their way to the top.
There’s nothing special about the episodes themselves. They are all interviews. But what’s interesting is in the way ZipRecruiter, through being the main sponsor of the show, taps into the fame of Daymond John to get in front of millions of its target audience.
LifeAfter/The Message by GE
People interested in Sci-fi, and those who know GE.
- Smart use of storytelling and Sci-fi that relates to the brand’s vision of building a world that works.
General Electric is a technology company.
The award-winning podcast series The Message podcast and its sequel, LifeAfter, take listeners on journeys to the limits of technology. Here’s an excerpt from the show’s description from Apple Podcasts:
“In The Message, an alien transmission from decades ago becomes an urgent puzzle with life or death consequences. In LifeAfter, Ross, a low-level employee at the FBI, spends his days conversing online with his wife Charlie – who died eight months ago. But the technology behind this digital resurrection leads Ross down a dangerous path that threatens his job, his own life, and maybe even the world.”
Inside Trader Joe’s by Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s customers.
- Behind-the-scenes stories.
Trader Joe’s is a grocery store company.
Inside Trader Joe’s is a podcast where the brand gives you an inside view of everything at Trader Joe’s. The company’s marketing director, Tara Miller, and VP of marketing products Matt Sloan host the podcast, and give you a behind-the-scenes view by interacting with store managers, employees.
This is definitely one of the best-branded podcasts simply because of the authenticity and straightforward storytelling.
HUNT the TRUTH by Microsoft
Anyone that was interested in Microsoft’s HALO video game series, and waiting for the launch of HALO 5: Guardians.
- Using a branded podcast as a launch vehicle for a major product release.
Microsoft needs no introduction.
Though Microsoft’s attempts with branded podcasts haven’t been great, this one needs a special mention. Here’s an excerpt from the podcast’s description on Apple Podcasts:
“HUNT the TRUTH is a fictional investigative audio series set in the universe of HALO. Starting just before the events of HALO 5: Guardians, season one of HUNT the TRUTH follows journalist Benjamin Giraud (Keegan-Michael Key) as he investigates the story behind the Master Chief, humanity’s greatest and most mysterious hero.”
The first season of Hunt the Truth won a Bronze Clio Award in 2015 in the Audio Drama category. It got over 6.7 million views putting it in the top 1% of all Apple (iTunes) podcasts. The series also received recognition on iTunes as one of the Best Podcasts of 2015, won a Shorty Award, amongst many other recognitions.
In the opening week, the game grossed more than $400 million, surpassing Halo 4’s record of $300 million. By January 2016, Halo 5 sold 5+ million retail copies worldwide since its launch in October 2015.
Color Full Lives by State Farm
Primarily African American women.
- The show nicely blends advice and education, laced with hearty conversations between three women.
- The brand strikes a connection with a specific community of its target audience without talking about its core offering.
State Farm is an insurance company.
On the Color Full Lives podcast brings you behind the scenes to a talk between girlfriends. They discuss sex, relationships, social media, and more. Features popular women hosts from well-known podcasts.
The show was started to celebrate the vibrant lives of African American women and start the conversation about their financial goals for their future.
The podcast also won several awards like the 2018 EX Award, 2018 Reggie Award, and two 2018 Chief Marketer Pro Awards.
What’s interesting with this branded podcast is the way it helps an insurance company (!!) strike the perfect chord with a particular community of people by amplifying their voice and offering useful financial advice.
Casting Call by SquareSpace
Aspiring podcast hosts, podcast listeners, Gimlet Media fans.
- Smart co-branding – titling, positioning, and execution.
- Audio reality show.
SquareSpace is an American software company that offers software as a service for website building and hosting.
The Casting Call podcast is an interesting one. Here’s an excerpt from the show’s description:
“Casting Call is like a Hollywood singing competition, but for people who are pros at audio interviews and non-fiction storytelling. On the show, an esteemed panel of judges will join host Jonathan Goldstein to vet submissions from aspiring podcast hosts across the country, and select three finalists to travel to Gimlet HQ to make a pilot of their show.”
The interesting part of the show is both the plot and the execution. If you’ve been listening to podcasts, chances are that you’ve heard of SquareSpace. They’ve betted big time on podcast sponsorships. It’s interesting to see that even in Casting Call, SquareSpace plays the role of the sponsor of the winning podcast host’s mini-series produced by Gimlet Media.
That brings us to the execution itself. With drama, conversations, and more, this podcast is more like a TV reality show minus the video.
Wireframe by Adobe
User Experience/User Interface designers, graphic designers, and the design-curious. Although, the last one can be a total contrast to the first two listener segments.
- Using current affairs and things we experience every day, to connect with target audience.
Adobe is an American computer software company.
The Wireframe podcast reveals the stories behind user experience design, for UX/UI designers, graphic designers, and the design-curious.
Adobe has been in the business of making software for creative people…largely. But some of their software is also used by a far more wide variety of people – the PDF Reader, for instance.
What’s interesting about this branded podcast is the way the show is positioned, and how they’ve used current affairs smartly.
IRL - Online Life Is Real Life by Mozilla Foundation
Anyone that has an online presence.
- The brand uses the podcast as a means to educate the public of issues related to online presence.
The Mozilla Foundation is an American not-for-profit organization that supports and leads the Mozilla open-source project.
IRL – Online Life Is Real Life podcast is a show where the host explores the disconnect between online and real-life and tries to get to the bottom of online issues like privacy breaches, hacking, fake news, or cyberbullying.
This branded podcast by The Mozilla Foundation nicely blends current affairs, news, technology, and throws light into important topics on technology and the online internet.
The host Manoush Zomorodi, a technology journalist, brings in the much-needed touch of audio journalism when dealing with important topics like the internet and democracy, and such. The show’s last episode came out in September 2019, and in November the same year Manoush took over as the host of NPR’s TED Radio Hour from Guy Raz.
RBC Disruptors by Royal Bank of Canada
People who are interested in Canada’s economy.
- Positioning as a thought leader.
Royal Bank of Canada is a Canadian bank.
RBC Disruptors is a podcast hosted by SVP John Stackhouse about reimagining Canada’s economy in a time of unprecedented change.
This branded podcast is different from the others we’ve listed here because of the way the brand uses it.
First off, it’s hosted by a senior executive who is also “responsible for gathering and interpreting global economic, business, political and social trends and providing the leadership team and board with insights”.
Secondly, the host is also an award-winning journalist and the ex-editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail newspaper. And this background is evident from listening to the episodes.
Keeping You Organized by Smead
Anyone interested in staying organized.
- The show helps the brand be on top-of-mind of target users, thereby turning them to effective influencers and ambassadors of the brand.
Smead Manufacturing manufactures and distributes office filing products and records management solutions.
The Keeping You Organized podcast brings you the best organizing tips, advice, and behind-the-scenes stories from the top professional organizers in the nation.
Starting with the name of the show – ‘Keeping You Organized’, the producers of the show have done so many things right. The show focuses on you, the listener, and your needs. That’s where the show goes beyond the needs of their products address.
The show dives deep into topics that its audience cares about. Organizing remote meetings, organizing diet, work from home routines, organizing for empty nesters – these are just some titles of episodes from this podcast.
Endless Thread by Reddit
For those who want a weekly dose of Reddit’s top threads.
- The episodes are based on real threads on Reddit. They even bring on the people that started these threads and those that increase the value of those threads with insightful comments.
Reddit is an American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website.
The Endless Thread podcast is one where the hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the site’s vast and curious ecosystem of online communities, collaborating with Reddit’s 330 million users and over 140 thousand communities to find all kinds of jaw-dropping narratives.
This branded podcast from WBUR and Reddit presents interesting narratives from Reddit’s users. From the name of the show, the podcast has so much of what Reddit really is.
Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson by Dell
Anyone interested in understanding the past, present, and future of digital disruption
- Really good storytelling by an excellent narrator and host.
Dell Technologies is an American multinational technology company.
The Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson podcast is one where Walter Isaacson, the host, and a digital revolution expert, tells the unexpected stories of digital disruption.
Dell Technologies rebranded itself to a technology company, after years of identifying itself as a computer company. This podcast aptly fits its positioning as they use Walter Isaacson (the author of the book, Steve Jobs) and lean-in on his interest and expertise.
True Tales of Luxury by Harrods
People who love Harrods, and those who love to hear stories of objects inside the luxury store.
- The experience of audio-based window-shopping combined with stories and knowledge.
Harrods is a department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London.
On the True Tales of Luxury podcast the host mines the world’s greatest luxury emporium for its most precious and fascinating finds. Here’s an excerpt from the podcast’s description:
“Joined by Fashion and Beauty Editorial Directors Stacey Duguid and Katie Service, each week the girls try to outdo each other with their bid for Harrods’ most desirable objects. With guests ranging from Indian jewelers to renowned aesthetic surgeons, they bring to life the extraordinary stories behind the things that really make us want to go shopping.”
The podcast particularly comes across as unique because of the feel you get as a listener. As you listen, you hear the hosts talk about something in front of them, their description makes you think, and then you listen to the two of them talk to each other about that object. If you’re someone that’s interested in learning something about these objects, you are in for an interesting conversation
DTR by Tinder
People that are looking for a date, or a relationship.
- This show is like a reality-meets-product-showcase-meets-conversations between strangers.
Tinder is a dating platform and an app.
DTR podcast is a show about everything from opening lines, to profile pics, to dating someone out of your league. Each episode dives deep into the weird, wonderful, and hilarious aspects of dating in an Internet-obsessed world. Because even though technology has made it easier to find dates, love is still as unpredictable as ever.
What makes this podcast interesting is the fact that it comes across as a combination of a product demo and understanding people’s behavior and thinking, all happening in a conversation with the host.
In each episode, the host and sometimes a celebrity helps the guest(s) find a date. Sounds interesting? Actually, it is!
RecurNow by ProfitWell
Business owners and entrepreneurs.
- The simplicity of the show.
- Highly relevant episode titles and content.
ProfitWell is a company that makes Software for recurring-revenue business.
The RecurNow podcast is a daily show that gets behind the truth of subscription, keeping you in the know on all things recurring revenue with sophistication & opinion.
This show is simple with episodes less than 10 minutes long. The reason we shortlisted this is because of this simplicity and straightforward content. No always do you need a highly produced podcast.
Command Line Heroes by RedHat
Developers, programmers, hackers, geeks, and people who love open-source software.
- Puts a name and face to technologies we don’t see.
Red Hat is an American multinational software company that provides open-source software products to enterprises.
The Command Like Heroes podcast is an award-winning podcast from RedHat. On the show, you get ‘root access’ to stories behind how developers, programmers, hackers, geeks, and open source rebels are revolutionizing the technology landscape.
What’s interesting about this podcast is the way they bring together a legendary brand, a revolutionary idea (open source technology), nerds, and storytelling. The show attempts to put a person and a face to some of the biggest technology creations that we know of.
For the Record by Spotify
Spotify’s existing subscribers, podcast listeners, podcasters, creatives.
- Really well aligned to Spotify’s goals, values, and it’s audience.
- Use of music and existing content from Spotify.
- Positioning the podcast as a window into Spotify’s business.
Spotify is an American digital music (and podcast) service.
For the Record is a podcast that Spotify started in 2020. Here’s what the description reads:
“A Spotify podcast sharing fresh insights on important topics of the moment—in a way only Spotify can. You’ll hear from experts in the music, podcast, and tech industries as we discover and uncover stories about our work and the world around us.”
What’s strikingly unique about Spotify is in the way they position themselves as a brand and the values they are committed to. You can see that in the tone and even in the episode titles. “Supporting the Black Community”, “Podcasts: Medium of the Moment”, “Artists & Creativity During COVID-19”, “On The RADAR: Emerging Artists Find Their Voice”, all have been thought of carefully.
For example, in episode 10 when the CEO Daniel Ek and CFO Paul Vogel to add more context to the Q3 earnings, they exhibit “sincerity” from their company values. In episode 2 when they talk about “Supporting the Black Community”, they exhibit being “collaborative” from their set of values.
We’ll cover this in detail in a later post.
These are just 24 from our first shortlist of over 63 company branded podcasts created by the biggest brands you’ve heard of including Microsoft, Google, WeWork, New Balance, Reebok, Prudential, Superdrug, and many more.
Our attempt was to show you the ways these brands used podcasts to effectively connect with their audience, sometimes without even mentioning their brand anywhere in the show.
Creating Branded Podcasts
Branded podcasts are a very powerful tool to grow and impact your brand. We’ve discussed this in detail in an earlier post where we even talked about the effectiveness of branded podcasts and measuring Return on Investment (RoI).
If you’re thinking of creating a branded podcast for your company or brand, we’d love to help you. Please schedule a free exploratory call by filling the form below this post.
But if you’re looking to start your podcast and do it all yourself, do read this article where we show you step-by-step how to start your podcast from scratch.
Like to explore working with us on a branded podcast? Please fill out the details and send it our way.
We’ll be in touch with you within the next 48 hours.