Brand safety and exclusivity: Podcast One’s boss Grant Tothill on how to successfully integrate brands

Speaking on a panel at Mumbrella’s Audioland conference, Grant Tothill, head of podcasts, spoke about how Podcast One successfully integrates brands into its content.

“We have had success with high-end brands and I think that’s because they come into a trusted brand-safe environment. The way we deliver it is very different it’s a bespoke execution inserted naturally and organically into the podcast and that’s just proving fantastic dividends for us,” Tothill said.

SCA’s Grant Tothill with ABC manager of Audio Studios, Kellie Riordan at Mumbrella Audioland

Tothill also spoke of the saturation of ads and how creators need to respect their listeners in how they include ads into their podcasts.

He said: “We sell on an exclusivity basis, we don’t sell on multiple clients in a podcast at any time and the reason for that is you don’t need to shout. You’re not trying to get above anyone else, you’re the only message in there, it’s host delivered.”

“Podcasting is about trust and it’s a trusted environment where people decide I’m going to have a relationship with this host and I’m going to listen to them. So when we’re delivering a commercial it should be done with the integrity of that.”

Panelist Kate Montague, founder and director of Audiocraft, agreed that respecting the audience was key in the integration and style of ads.

Montague said: “It’s not an infomercial, it’s not an ad. If you’re in someone’s ears and they’re investing that time with you, and you’re having that intimate connection.

“To yell at them about your product is going to turn people off very quickly so it’s around aligning the content and the brand in an authentic way. So what’s a meaningful story, what’s a way of conditioning the hosts words and brand mentioning in a way that feels good for the listener.”

Pairing brands with audiences was another hot topic of the panel. Grant Tothill stated that amongst clients there is growing demand for podcast metrics to assist in assessing engagement and audiences.

“The biggest thing for brands is that they do want more data. I know from our perspective we are working on a lot more data metrics that we will be able to supply to different brands. I think the other part of that is once the industry can agree on metrics that we can approach advertisers with then I think that will help everyone in the podcasting space with that question,” he stated.

Kellie Riordan, manager at ABC studios – who also featured on the panel – stated that pursuing niche audiences could also lead to successful brand ventures.

“You can go niche, you can really go to the audience they’re after – if they’re after teenage girls you can create the content that gets directly to teenage girls, but that’s podcasting’s great strength is to go to those niche audiences,” she said.

When asked by an audience member from a creative agency on how to encourage clients to spend more on their branded podcasts, Tothill stated that the quality of the storytelling was paramount to helping a brand find its audience and see a return.

He stated: The biggest challenge around branded podcasting is the editorial skills you put back into the story telling, because if it’s all about the brand it doesn’t matter what you do or how much money you spend on it, you’re not going to get an audience. And the challenge around branded podcasting is that if you create it in a style that will engage an audience you will actually get the benefit of doing it.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.