Alexandra Legouix is not the type of person to shy away from asking intimate questions. In fact, after years of experience as professional TV presenter and live event host, she has now taken on a new challenge, hosting Auto Trader’s branded podcast Show On The Road.
This podcast takes on a different format than the traditional studio recording, with Legouix taking guests on a ride in their dream car, visiting their most memorable places. Although the podcast is only one hour long, the actual car rides would last up to four hours per recording, allowing Legouix to have an intimate and honest conversation with her guests about their personal lives and careers. PodPod asked Legouix what she has learned from this experience so far and how the podcast has impacted Auto Trader’s image.
How would you describe your podcast?
Auto Trader’s Show On The Road is a brand new podcast that takes celebrities out of the studio for a personalised road trip around the places that shaped them. Auto Trader matches each guest with a car, chosen specifically for them. Then, I take the driver's seat for the interviews and we take trips around nostalgic sites that provide reflections on each guest's career.
We'll take listeners down avenues that they wouldn't have ordinarily heard about, and avenues a studio-based show wouldn't ordinarily get to explore. We’ve had some amazing guests across the first season that have included Jill Scott, Gorka Marquez, Francis Bourgeois.
Why did you start your podcast?
It was all about getting rid of the dusty image that Auto Trader has and finding a brand new audience to show consumers that Auto Trader is a modern brand that can be for everybody and not just people interested in cars.
We chose the talent specifically to target and reflect that, and we try to really find a younger, more female demographic to engage with Auto Trader and hopefully bring about a much more meaningful connection from Auto Trader. It's been really well received and very popular with exactly the right target audience - so that's very reassuring.
What advice do you wish you’d been given when you first started?
I think every single person involved would have had a different answer, from dealing with the complexities of doing the whole event in a car - the sound and camera logistics, the length of time it takes to drive around places like London in traffic. We would choose eight key, lovely memory places for our guests but it would take four hours to do about 10 miles in total. It meant for some amazing and really long conversations with each guest, but the logistics of it made it a little complicated. Then, of course, the editing to choose the best bits for an hour podcast.
I guess, from an advice perspective, it would be to ensure enough time to allow for all of those little things that we hadn't anticipated. From a personal perspective, it would be about researching each character in just slightly different ways than I would do if I were interviewing them as a presenter, because it's just getting the nuances and the rawness that we were hoping for from each person - which I did, but I'd probably do slightly different preparation.
How many people does it take to create an episode of your show?
We collaborated with a production company called Fresh Air, who were amazing, and they looked after every aspect of the podcast, from conception to post-production and upload. So, they did all of the guest booking, the research calls, mine and the guest’s briefings, the script writing, the editing, the promotion, and the logistics.
There’s also all of the people from Auto Trader who put together the idea and worked really hard on keeping the true notes of the Auto Trader brand. So, we reckon there were 15 working on every episode, at least, and then on each episode set there would usually be four from Fresh Air, two to three from Auto Trader, myself and the celebrity.
Do you monetise your podcast?
No, the purpose really wasn't to monetise. It was definitely about brand awareness.
How do you promote your podcast?
Every guest was contacted to post a personalised video on their social channels with a link to the episode. Auto Trader was really keen for it to be much more than just a podcast, so they created a bespoke marketing plan that spans social and host reads on Spotify to try and reach as big an audience as possible.
We even did an episode on our YouTube channel, which has just shy of a million subscribers with Rory, who's the host of that channel. It was a lovely half hour video podcast episode which was separate, but again, brought in a different channel. Doing a big splatter gun effect was really key in the success of the podcast, rather than focusing on one particular channel.
What have you learned about yourself since starting the podcast?
I recently qualified as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. Alongside being a presenter, the counselling side has taught me the art of really listening and really hearing what people are saying. I think combining the interview skills that you gain from presenting with actual proper listening has led to much more congruent conversations and I think it really helps each guest feel heard and feel it ease, rather than just thinking I've got 50 questions over these hours that I want to plough through.
I would inevitably go off script because I was using those different skills to actually really listen to what the guest was saying. I was drawing in from other parts of me and I haven't had an opportunity to do that before, so that was really valuable.
Who listens to your podcast?
We've had crazy, very diverse listenership. Because of the talent and who we chose - Strictly stars to TikTok stars - it's been really wide reaching. I know that Auto Trader aimed at a much younger, much more female audience and they've really been successful at reaching that demographic.
It's great for Auto Trader, because that isn't the core audience that we had, so it's been a really good way of reaching a much bigger audience.
What was the last podcast you listened to?
I keep going back to The Diary Of a CEO because he has amazing guests on and I really like how he interviews them. He had Gabor Maté on recently, who talks a lot about the somatic response to stress and how emotions that we're dealing with can manifest in our bodies and I'm quite fascinated by all of that stuff. I'm a yoga teacher and a mindfulness coach so that sort of bridges the gap a little bit for me there.