Whirlpool's Audrey Reed-Granger

Despite having had a bad travel experience the night before this presentation, Audrey's presentation was fun and energetic.

She described the humble start of podcasting at Whirlpool. It started in Audrey's kitchen one weekend when she and her husband were discussing an NPR story about podcasting Before the end of the weekend, she had created a name and editorial calendar. She decide the tone would be "Charles Curalt" style. Then she made the buy-in rounds (leadership/marketing team). When asked "how does this tie in to appliances?", she told management that this would not have to do with appliances. Instead, the goal was to forge an emotional connection with the consumer. They seemed to get it. She created a 3-week fire drill to get it all done. And, voila, that's how the Whirlpool "American Family" podcast started.

Lessons she has learned: The podcast must be "brand relevant": (1) needed to be driven by the brand's positioning; (2) tied to current marketing strategies, and (3) innovative thought leadership. Note: there is NO advertising in the AF podcast. She says they will never include advertising while she's with the company.

She described some "favorable & unfavorable variables": experimental, not expected from a major applicance/consumer brand, its not polished as all other conumer-facing efforts (podcasts are expected to be "a little rough around the edges"), dependent upon one person's skill set/time. (Note: Audry did the original series, but has now hired someone part-time to do the podcasts.)

Audrey's beliefs about why the American Family Podcasts work:
-notoriety for getting it right
-comsumer e-mail, feedback
-increased web links to www.whirlpool.com
-800 downloads in first quarter of airing; today, they get 70,000 podcast downloads a month, just by word of mouth.
-muti-disciplinarymarketing "buy-in"
-not bound by normal business metrics
-new host roatation (must be genuine, not too polished, they must be real)

WHat's next on Audrey's goals:
-getting her boss to listen to them
-executing brand-appropriate podasts across the portfolio (e.g, adding Maytag podcatss)
-avoideing the temptation to dilute or tarnish
-keeping the focus on the key consumers.

For Audrey, the bottom line requires that you have to podcast about things that are real. You have to connect with the listeners, and you do that by being real and authentic. (I couldn't agree more!)

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