I’ve taken the csuite podcast to Cannes Lions since 2016 and in that time have had the pleasure of chatting to 49 of the most inspiring speakers, judges and award winners who were at the event. My guests have come to the festival from as far and wide as South America and India to Canada and Australia and have included agency leaders, brand owners, a social roboticist, a music producer, a spoken word artist and a body architect, with their ages ranging from Young Lions Award winners to an 86-year-old terminally-ill patient.
But what’s been consistent in all those interviews is that every single guest has had a fascinating story to tell … in their own words.
And therein lies the power of podcasting.
With no cameras filming the guests, coupled with the fact that we’re not broadcasting live, and perhaps thanks to the odd glass of rosé too, each interviewee immediately relaxes, resulting in an informal chat that allows them to be themselves, delivering authentic and engaging stories, whilst educating and hopefully entertaining the listeners at the same time.
Global podcast listenership has exploded since my first trip to Cannes. Podcasts are easy to access and subscribe to on a mobile device and there are topic areas for everyone. People listen in the car, in the gym, on the commute, out walking or running, as well as at home or at their desks of course. And with radio stations now podcasting their programming, or creating exclusive content as a podcast, plus popular celebrities hosting their own shows too, podcasting is forming an increasing part of our daily media diet.
This has opened up a huge potential for brands to be using podcasts as a credible medium and so this year I’ll be presenting at Cannes myself alongside Zuleika Burnett, Executive Director, Creative and Innovation, Havas Life Medicom. We’ll be looking at how the most difficult narratives can be harnessed to deliver healthcare stories as podcasts and how brands can rise above the noise of the other 500,000+ active podcasts to reach their audiences.
Russell Goldsmith & Zuleika Burnett are presenting on the Healthcare Insights Stage, Palais II on Monday 17th June, 12:45-13:15
Originally written for the PRCA to help promote the course we’re running with them on The Power of Podcasting … written on 29th December 2018 …
I’ve just returned home from driving my daughter, Tara, back to Surrey University in Guildford (such a good dad) after Christmas in time for her to prepare for her New Year’s Eve party.
The journey time on a Saturday morning was around an hour each way – perfect for listening to two episodes of ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’, my new favourite podcast. The only issue being that my daughter is not the biggest football fan. England Summer World Cup fever aside, as well as being dragged along with me to Spurs a few times when she was younger, I think it’s fair to say that the thought of spending an hour in the car with me listening to a podcast that features three blokes chatting about footie for an hour wouldn’t be that appealing.
But here’s the thing. Whilst the podcast features Peter Crouch, a player who will go down in Tottenham folklore as the man who headed us into the Champions League back in 2010, and of course centres around him being a footballer, the show is about everything around football, not necessarily the game itself, and it’s funny, very funny. With episode titles such as ‘That Nights Out Episode’, ‘That Team Bus Episode’ or ‘That Fashion Episode’, the show is set up for Crouchy to share anecdotes about things that went on away from the pitch that, at times, are hilarious.
Tara enjoyed it.
The car is in fact one of the most popular places to listen to podcasts – stats range from 22% of podcast listening in the US (Edison Research, March 2018) to 35% whilst driving/travelling in the UK (RAJARLtd’s MIDAS Autumn 2018) to as much as 41% of the 52% of adults that said they listen to podcasts (Audere Communications, January 2018), although I wonder how much is a shared listening experience.
So why bring up Peter Crouch?
Well, back in June 2018, Techcrunch reported that Apple Podcasts now hosted over 550,000 active podcasts, and a quick search for ‘Football’ on iTunes, as you can imagine, results in loads of podcasts to choose from. But the reason why the ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’ works so well, and I take on board the fact that it has BBC 5 Live to help it in terms of reach, is because it’s original.
And therein lies the challenge for any brand wanting to take advantage of the incredible opportunity that the growing popularity of podcast listening brings. How do you come up with something new and different and then rise above the noise of all those other shows that are already out there with loyal subscribers?
It’s why I try and encourage the organisations that we partner with on our csuite podcast to be as original as our format will allow us, be that in where we record the show, from busy conferences with the background noise of the exhibition area providing atmosphere, to ICCO’s House of PR in one of the cabanas on the beachfront at Cannes Lions, or simply in the diversity of guests we have in the studio or range of topics we cover that impact businesses. Those topics have, in the last year, moved from just focussing on Communications and Innovation to cover key areas such as Social Mobility, Financial Inclusion, Diversity and Mental Health & Wellbeing.
Similarly, when we were brought on board by Adama Agricultural Solutions to produce ‘ArableAware’, a niche podcast aimed at farmers and agronomists, we of course researched what was already out there, but decided to create a magazine style show that, despite it being audio, we record on farms around the UK. Doing so enabled us to chat to farmers whilst walking through their crop fields, that sparked conversations that we simply wouldn’t have thought of having had we stuck to a script in a studio. It’s also allowed the specialists from Adama to visit their customers around the UK and we’ve built a community of listeners who now email us inviting us to come and record the show on their farms too. It’s been a huge success beyond just creating some content for their target audience to listen to.
So, whether you are just setting out on your podcast journey or looking to adapt your existing show with new ideas and formats, try to think about how you can offer something a little unique, that will encourage listeners them to hit that subscribe link and hopefully give you a decent rating and review to help you up the podcast charts too.
Book a place at Russell’s Power of Podcasting Workshop that he is running with fellow PRCA Trainer, Jayne Constantinis on Wednesday 20th March
It’s quite sad to think that, in today’s global society, we still need awareness days to remind the world of the need to stand up for people’s rights. However, whilst that is the case, then ‘Human Rights Day’, observed on 10th December every year , is extremely important and a day that everyone should better understand and support.
The date commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which they followed up by passing a resolution, in 1950, inviting all States and interested organisations to observe that day of each year as Human Rights Day.
The UN says that “Disrespect for basic human rights continues to be wide-spread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears. Humane values are under attack.” The organisation calls on people to take a stand for rights and stand for more humanity asking them to “Step forward and defend the rights of a refugee or migrant, a person with disabilities, an LGBT person, a woman, a child, indigenous peoples, a minority group, or anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence.”
But it’s not just at international government levels that important cause-led campaigns are a priority.
Earlier this year, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – an event attended by around 11,000 delegates from close to 100 countries, representing all parts of the creative communications industry – a recurring theme in many of the award-winning campaigns was that of having a purpose in your company’s marketing communications.
For example, one of the multiple award winners at the Festival was a campaign called ‘Fearless Girl’, created for New York investment firm, State Street Global Advisors, which involved the commissioning of a statue of girl of around 12 years old, that was placed directly opposite Wall Street’s Charging Bull sculpture.
The campaign was launched to tie in with the first International Women’s Day after President Trump’s inauguration in the US with the aim of promoting Gender Diversity, whilst raising awareness of State Street’s ‘SHE’ fund, which invests in businesses with female executives, among financial communities. According to Pablo Walker, President of McCann Worldgroup Europe, although the initial idea was to place the statue in Wall Street for just one week, it has proven so popular that they now hope to keep it there for at least one year.
So why should businesses be concerned with such issues?
Well firstly, companies with a higher purpose, beyond making a profit, tend to make more money! Simon Caulkin reported in the Financial Times about a survey titled “The Business Case for Purpose”, by a team from Harvard Business Review Analytics and the EY Beacon institute, which declared that “those companies able to harness the power of purpose to drive performance and profitability enjoy a distinct competitive advantage”. He added that Jim Collins and Jerry Porras found that between 1926 and 1990, when studying a group of “visionary” companies, i.e., those guided by a purpose beyond making money, they returned six times more to shareholders than explicitly profit-driven rivals.
This begs the question, why might that be the case?
According to Sherry Hakimi, founder and CEO of Sparktures, “a purpose mobilises people in a way that pursuing profits alone never will. For a company to thrive, it needs to infuse its purpose in all that it does. An organisation without purpose manages people and resources, while an organisation with purpose mobilises people and resources. Purpose is a key ingredient for a strong, sustainable, scalable organisational culture. It’s an unseen-yet-ever-present element that drives an organisation. It can be a strategic starting point, a product differentiator, and an organic attractor of users and customers.”
Jo Alexander, an Associate at On Purpose said that “Organisations that put people, rather than profit, at the heart of their business are successful because they understand what motivates people: a shared sense of purpose and our desire to form meaningful relationships.”
On Purpose offers a year-long Leadership Programme in social enterprise, through a combination of work placements, formal training and coaching. Associates build their skills and sector awareness to harness the power of business for good. Alexander added “A work environment that allows employees to fulfil both of these needs can unleash their collective potential in a way that traditional organisations, that view their people as being simply motivated by money, status and power, cannot.”
Hakimi goes on to say that when a company demonstrates an authentic purpose, consumers feel a connection to the products and company. They will choose the authentically purposeful company’s products, even if it’s not the cheapest offering.
This may be the case for consumers, but does having a purpose impact the business buying process too? The language industry serves as an interesting case study in this respect.
There are tens of thousands of Language Service Providers (LSPs) offering translation, localisation, transcreation and interpreting services to clients across the world, and so finding ways to differentiate themselves in such a competitive industry can prove difficult.
However, according to Tenesoya Pawlowsky Santana, CEO at CPSL, an LSP with offices across Europe and in the US, understanding the nature of a company’s clients and business fields is part of the process if an LSP is to offer quality language services to its clients. In fact, in many cases, CPSL is closely aligned to the vision and corporate philosophy of its clients, and Pawlowsky Santana believes that clients are more likely to choose a provider that understands their company spirit in addition to providing first-class language services. Indeed, this is a theory backed up by buyers of language services. For example, Patrick Nunes, Global Communications Manager at Rotary International said that, whilst there is no official question about an LSP’s CSR activity in Rotary’s RFPs, the topic is something he personally wants to hear about when talking to them, whether in a formal or informal setting.
Whilst Nunes will not sacrifice attributes such as cost and efficiency in any supplier’s pitch, understanding their CSR activity could make a difference to him, particularly if it’s in line with Rotary’s vision too.
This was a view shared by Franck Schneider, Digital Communications Manager at Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG), who is also responsible for sourcing translation. Given that HUG cares for many migrants, whilst cost and quality are again important factors in understanding the offering of potential new LSP suppliers, Schneider said that not many of those he has met put CSR forward as an argument for choosing them, yet he would view it as an important one.
Many companies on the buyer side will espouse particular values or have their own CSR programme, according to Jonathan Bowring, former European Localisation Director at Canon Europe who now acts as a consultant to the language industry through his company Riversight. According to Bowring, “Canon operates a philosophy of kyosei – ‘living and working together for the common good’.” He explained that this encompasses society and the environment, both local and global, including the treatment of suppliers and even competitors and said that “buyers with strong value systems in place may seek to build supply chains which reflect those values, although this is often mitigated by the commercial realities of offshore pricing and the priorities of their procurement function.”
However, in Bowring’s experience, LSPs made relatively little noise about their CSR programmes, if they have them, other than a mention on their website of support for Translators Without Borders (TWB), a charity that helps non-profit organisations overcome communication barriers, increasing access to critical information and services in times of great need, achieved through a global network of professional translators. But he said that “the values of a supplier have wider application than a CSR programme”. For example, Bowring wants to know how LSPs treat their own suppliers and translators. Do they make a point of paying them fairly and on time, or are they exploited as the lowest in the food chain? He said that “the treatment of staff is another values indicator: an LSP once lost my prospective business by boasting to me in its sales pitch of the long hours regularly worked by its staff.”
According to Alexander, “Purposeful organisations are moving beyond CSR, which is often viewed as an initiative that is bolted onto ‘business as usual’; instead they have progressed to having a purpose that is central to and effects every part of their business. This transition naturally happens when people in an organisation feel strongly about WHY it exists.”
So perhaps a more important reason for an LSP, or any business, to have a purpose is the impact it has on its own employees and, as Bowring puts it, “for the health of the organisation itself.” He said that “Millennials tend to be interested in a holistic employer which lends meaning to their work. Having a corporate purpose beyond simply generating wealth may appeal to them and to others, for instance those addressing midlife questions of how to “give something back”. CSR can be highlighted in recruitment to attract the type of employee who shares the company ethos.”
Allison Ferch, Programs Director at Globalization and Localization Association agrees. She said that “CSR or similar could be a selling point for an LSP when they are trying to attract or retain talent. Certainly, many employees can and do appreciate a company culture that embraces social responsibility and demonstrates that in concrete ways.”
Pawlowsky Santana takes a similar view, adding that “it is proven that employees at responsible companies are happier than those at companies that pay any heed to this.”
That’s certainly the case for CPSL’s Vendor Manager, Cristina Pera, who said that the company’s community involvement with TWB makes her feel proud to work for CPSL and more connected to the company.
As well as supporting TWB, CPSL also works with First Hand Foundation, an entrepreneurial foundation dedicated to changing the lives of children and families around the world through innovative health and wellness programming. Pawlowsky Santana explained that, in both cases, the company is very fond of the work and programmes. Moreover, in the case of First Hand, CPSL also happens to know the team behind the organisation, so it trusts and relates to what they do.
According to Shanna Adamic, Senior Events Manager for First Hand Foundation at Cerner Corporation, the US supplier of health care information technology solutions that set up the Foundation, they rely on the support of Cerner’s relationships, like the one they have with CPSL, to help fulfil their mission. “It’s not just about fundraising, it is about understanding that giving back is in our DNA and Cerner has provided a way to do so through First Hand Foundation. Companies like CPSL and their involvement with First Hand are essential to our growth!” she said.
In terms of TWB though, Pawlowsky Santana said that CPSL supports them because it appreciates that they have become the voice of those more vulnerable in our society. “TWB is doing a terrific job with humanitarian international causes, and now also helps and supports the refugees, a task we really respect and one we are also very sensitive to” she said. As a sponsor of TWB, CPSL provides annual funding for the organisation, but also seeks to collaborate further where possible, for example, in the field of interpreting.
The generous contributions made by TWB sponsors are vital to ensuring the sustainability of the organisation’s core operations and programs. However it’s the willingness of supporters to go the extra mile that its Founder, Lori Thicke welcomes. “Often LSPs that have extra capacity will offer project management support, helping to translate hundreds of thousands of words. We have had LSPs train our project managers, and also help fill the need for hard-to-source languages such as Rohingya, a current urgent need for the response to the refugee crisis in Bangladesh,” she said. Thicke added that of course the fun based fundraising activities that LSPs organise are important, but getting supporters interested and involved in this important work is great to see and it also helps to raise awareness of the importance of language agenda.
Pawlowsky Santana believes that that developing CSR policies and running businesses in a more sustainable way is beneficial for all sort of companies and that, naturally, it has a positive impact on corporate reputation. However, for her, it is about more than that. She believes that “We all should contribute to building a more sustainable world. Even the smallest of office-based businesses can make substantial changes to benefit the environment.”
This article was written on behalf of our client, CPSL