The Audio era is upon us. An estimated 39 million Americans use smart speakers and/or some sort of voice technology. 70% of Americans aged 12+ are now familiar with the word “Podcasting.” 51% of Americans reported having listened to a podcast at least once in their lives. 32% of Americans report having listened to a podcast within the past month. (1) As marketers, we’d be remiss to ignore these statistics and pass up the opportunity to give our clients the ripest and most timely tools to connect their members to their culture. And here at EmpowerFi, no one waving the podcasting flag like our President and Chief Experience Officer – Kelly Hellickson.
Stef and Kelly sat down this week to hear what our leading lady has to say about Podcasting and why it’s such a big part of the EmpowerFi strategy both internally and externally. And in true Kelly fashion, it was impassioned, inspired and insightful.
Let’s hear what Kelly has to say about all things Podcast!
Stef: Alright Kel! I know you’re HERE for Podcasting as the next significant medium for amplifying your brand. Can you tell me why you’re shouting PodFi from the rooftops?
Kelly: Thank you Stef! I’m grateful to be here. Basically – Podcasting is HOT and I wanted my clients to have access to it so that we can continue to provide them with all of the solutions to their marketing, communications, structural and cultural needs – as an organizational whole. I also capitalized on an opportunity to partner with a colleague that I’ve known for years – RadioMD – as they just enter into the FI vertical. The partnership was organic and feels right. We were given the opportunity to record a series – pro bono – for our first run and had thought about producing a series in house. Ultimately though, I wanted to hand that opportunity to one of our clients – Enter Blackhawk Community Credit Union. ‘Tis better to give than it is to receive is a family credo – and one that we’ve adopted at EmpowerFi.
Stef: I love that. Why do you think audio branding is taking off the way that it is? What makes it so desirable and digestible for the listener as opposed to experiencing the voice and culture of a brand through other mediums?
Kelly: I think the desire is to keep up – with the times, with the content, the amount of content. The diversity in options plays to my needs and allows me to listen on runs with my pup, in the car on the way to meetings, the grocery store, longer drives to visit with clients, etc. With regards to being desirable and digestible versus the voice of other mediums of content … you said it right there – voice! I’m going to remember it twice if not three times as much if someone reads me a statistic and puts it into terms that I can associate with.
And finally – I feel that podcasts pay homage to our childhoods. Remember the feeling of love that spread throughout your entire core, being, your soul and your heart when your Momma or Papa or even better – Grammie – would read to you at night? I would drift off so peacefully and always remember what the story entailed – even the littlest of details! So I think there’s a little bit of that going on too when people are gravitating to podcasts.
Stef: Why do you think it’s so important for CU’s in particular? I’ve learned SO much through you about the unique culture of CU’s and how intimate the relationships can be between client and branch. How does podcasting present an opportunity for a branch to deepen those relationships and support its clients even more fully?
Kelly: Podcasts are about as intimate of a medium in today’s day an age – aside from a personalized video feed to YOU/custom crafted FOR YOU, outside of face to face interactions, as you can get. As much as custom videos are becoming mainstream, podcasting is already here – mainstream solidified.
We occupy one of the most sensitive, most taboo, LEAST discussed/talked about issues/topics/verticals: Finance. Taking a step further B2C finance. We’re taught as littles to keep that part of our lives “secret” and to not share and to never ask questions openly; within our own families, let alone strangers.
When you finally find a home for your finances and then come to find out they have a syndicated way to connect even further and anonymously via podcast, it creates a very comfortable, safe, and inviting opportunity for the education and deepening of that special bond.
Stef: For the CU that’s brand-spankin’ new to this medium, what are some topics that could be covered that would benefit the members of every branch? I know that each CU can and should create their content strategy based on knowing their culture and their members’ unique needs, but if you were just giving some good blanket advice – what topics can they tackle?
Kelly: Newbies should unite and segment their audience (via their membership topography).
If you end up with three or four segments- keep it real and brass tacks while launching a series of the podcasts per segment relative to their needs. I would recommend crafting an approach similar to the retention program for new members within that advocacy period (90 days from joining CU – welcome/educate them. Provide ways in which to take stress and costly situations off your members’ plates. Then share how to refinance, consolidate debt, partake in share accounts that yield savings and investment tools free as a perk of membership.
Stef: Amazing. Give them value right out of the gate! Last burning question – when can we expect to start hearing the voices of our fearless leaders over the airwaves?!
Kelly: You can expect to hear us next Month – August!! Also – STAY TUNED for the unveiling of our NEW PARTNERSHIP – to give you a hint … Maple Syrup! That’s all for now folks 😉
PRESIDENT | CXO