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Industry // April 18th, 2024

Unleash Your Brand’s Voice: The Power of Podcasting

Written by Maxwell

You’ve seen the statistics: Half of Americans listen to podcasts, and one-in-five of those people say they listen to a podcast nearly every day. People concentrate on podcasts to learn, for entertainment and to fill the time while doing other things. (Pew Research). The big question is: Should your brand have a podcast? For that, we’ll turn it over to Maxwell’s Brand Manager, Kate Castillo.  

“It’s time to start thinking about it,” Kate says. “In today’s market, getting clicks and conversions is not always the end goal. Investing in and developing a loyal community around your brand is where the real value is.” 

Consumers don’t want to buy from – they want to buy in. They’re looking for personalized experiences, multichannel touchpoints, and community both online and off. Podcasts not only entertain but create an emotional resonance, strengthening the bond between your brand and your audience.  

McMenamins Podcast: The Red Shed Tapes

 

Share Your Brand’s Legacy

McMenamins, a family-owned company, known for restoring historic buildings throughout the Pacific Northwest and operating iconic lodging, neighborhood brewpubs, and entertainment venues, celebrated 40 years in business with the launch of their new podcast, The Red Shed Tapes. 

When McMenamins engaged Maxwell to make their dreams of a podcast a reality, we crafted a narrative strategy introducing the company’s humble beginnings, successes, and failures, from the brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin, who founded McMenamins with a single pub and shaped the company into what it is today. Podcasting provides McMenamins with a golden opportunity to reintroduce their audience to the company’s roots and share forgotten, quirky histories, while deeply resonating with customers and employees.  

We’ve had an amazing working relationship with the Maxwell team for many years on the PR front,” says McMenamins Marketing Director, Renee Rank Ignacio. “They know us and understand us, and I knew they could help guide us and work side by side with us, to make our podcast dreams into a reality. 

And, it resonates. As of the second episode release, McMenamins’ podcast ranks in the top 5% of most popular shows compared to 3M globally, according to Listen Notes. But it’s the people at the heart of the business that leave a lasting impression—like Thursday Jane (who’s still with the company 40 years later), when she says, “That feeling that was there in the beginning is still rippling through the company. Prior to working for McMenamins, I had always waited tables, but I was just somebody on the schedule; I didn’t feel like I was doing anything that extraordinary. [McMenamins] always made me feel like I was doing really important work.”  

Thursday Jane, a longtime employee at McMenamins, Photo credit: Kat Nyberg, McMenamins

 

Celebrate Employees

In addition to delighting existing fans, beer lovers and concert goers, McMenamins reports that the podcast has had a wonderful effect on re-engaging current and past employees. Within their own teams, there has been an outpouring of praise, curiosity and eager offers to share their own company stories. This excited murmur running throughout the company gives the brand a fresh voice from the inside and further celebrates the people at the heart of the family’s success.  

A reviewer on Apple Podcasts says, “As one of the first groups of McMenamins brewers from back in the days of yore I am absolutely loving this!! This is a story that needs to be told.” – Maltman00 

The McMenamins and Maxwell Podcast Group, Episode 1, Photo credit: Renee Rank Ignacio

 

Forge Deeper Connections

The intimate nature of podcasts cultivates a stronger connection with your audience. Unlike traditional marketing, podcasts offer a personal touch, fostering a sense of familiarity and trust. By giving audiences an authentic glimpse of the faces and voices behind the company, they’re able to connect with the personalities, and become invested in the brand’s journey, making them more likely to engage and advocate for your products or services in the long run.  

A community member on Apple Podcasts shares “I loved the first episode and can’t wait for more! The history of McMenamins and each of the locations is fascinating. There is so much magic to what has been created. It’s so fun to hear about the stories from the inside perspective. I was married at [McMenamins] Edgefield nine years ago and it holds very special place in my heart. More episodes please.” – Sarasvati74 

(L to R) Podcast host, Shannon McMenamin, and the McMenamins brothers: Mike and Brian

 

Engage and Educate

Podcasts aren’t just about storytelling; they’re a gateway to expanding your customer’s understanding of why your company exists and the value it holds. Walking into any McMenamins, you’re often left with more questions than answers as you examine the layers of art, history, music, and culture woven into the walls and reflected in their menus. Many locations are in rehabilitated historical properties, and at least 18 are on the National Register of Historic Places. McMenamins is also one of the top 50 largest craft breweries in the US, but they only sell products at their locations. Whether it’s showcasing the company’s newest property or diving deep into a brewer’s process – there’s a lot of opportunity for education. Afterall, listeners turn to podcasts to hear about a wide range of specific topics – learning more about their favorite pub or property could be one of them!  

By introducing new characters or employees, recounting your brand’s history, and leveraging the intimacy of the medium, you can craft a narrative that resonates deeply with your audience. With the right content and promotion, your podcast becomes a beacon, attracting new listeners who might not have encountered your brand otherwise. This increased exposure opens doors to a wider audience, boosting brand awareness and potential customer base.  

Renee adds, “McMenamins now has 56 locations and nearly 3000 employees. The podcast allows us to reach a lot more people and share the inspiration behind what we do, directly from Mike and Brian, the family, long term employees and partners who have been such an important part of making McMenamins the special place that it is. Since the launch of the podcast, to hear longtime employees alongside new employees and customers tell me that they’ve learned something they never knew before, is just the bit of inspiration I need to keep producing more podcasts! And the list of stories and topics we want to tell is endless.” 

So, plug in those mics and let your brand’s story unfold in the captivating world of podcasting! Podcasting isn’t just a trend; it’s a dynamic platform for creative storytelling with boundless potential for brand building. 

Podcast research can be found at Pew Research

The Red Shed Tapes is available anywhere you get your podcasts, from Apple Music to Spotify 

See the video version of the podcast, with photos and archival video clips, now on YouTube. 

The podcast is produced by McMenamins and Maxwell, hosted by Shannon McMenamin, and edited by Gretchen Kilby.