Successful podcast campaigns need clear briefs, say Lloyds and Spotify ad leaders

Defined objectives allow brands and agencies to identify the right partners

Defining a clear campaign brief with specific objectives is central to running an effective podcast advertising campaign, according to top ad executives from Lloyds Bank and Spotify, allowing brands to identify podcasts that can reach the audience they want to target

Lloyds Bank’s senior advertising, media, and brand communications manager Vicky Handley and Spotify’s UK and Northern Europe head of sales Ed Couchman spoke to PodPod in the latest episode of the podcast about the importance of authenticity in podcast advertising and how brands can ensure they’re targeting the right audience and running effective campaigns. 

According to Handley, podcast hosts can help brands raise awareness and trust with customers, as listeners are more likely to trust them due to their pre-existing relationship. However, in order to find podcasts that will help reach their target audience and deliver their key message, brands should have a clear objective and brief in mind. 

“There's certain different messages where you need to have a much more emotional connection with customers, and the only way that you can do that is via media partnerships, via influencers, and via presenters that have got that sort of emotional and authentic relationship with their listeners,” said Handley. “Because essentially, they're more likely to listen, understand, and trust the brand that they're talking about rather than us saying ‘look at us here, we’re Lloyds Bank, we're doing this.” 

Couchman also said that host-read sponsorships can be particularly authentic if the host has an affinity or personal connection with the brand they’re promoting. From his perspective on the sales end of podcast advertising, once the communications objective and the audience brief have been set, his team can start finding which podcasts can help reach that audience. 

“Vicky might have a communications objective, it could be a new product, and the agencies that she worked with will probably have a brief around the type of audience they want to reach and the sort of key messages they want to land,” said Couchman. “Then myself and the team would look at that brief and… we would put some suggestions together of regular podcasts that reach the target audience.” 

As part of his role, Couchman is responsible for ad sales on Goalhanger’s slate of podcasts, including hits like The Rest is Politics with former political figures Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart. He told PodPod that Stewart is an Airbnb host and when the holiday rental home company was looking for podcast hosts to promote its brand, Spotify put Stewart forward as a partner that could bring authenticity to the campaign. 

“That sort of personal experience just made it really authentic, he had a bit of fun with it and I think listeners are much more likely to pay attention to that, because it feels really real,” said Couchman. “One of the things that we try to do at Spotify is be pretty close to the talent and try to understand their likes, tastes, and preferences.”

“Obviously we have a whole bunch of teams that do that, through producers and talent agencies, so we try to service what we think might be the right sort of products or ideas to the right host.”