Hosted by Blythe and head of content Zara Wong, the 45-minute episodes will offer education, entertainment and interviews with brand founders, with a focus on demystifying the world of beauty for listeners. Episodes are available for download on all podcast platforms including A Cast, Apple and Spotify.
The first episode of Mecca Talks features a conversation with founder and co-CEO, Jo Horgan, who reveals how she opened her first store on Toorak Road in 1997 — and misplaced the takings on its first day — to how the business grew into more than 100 stores.
“With our deep brand connections locally and internationally, we have been able to call on so many amazing beauty brand founders who speak to us about everything from starting their company, to how they came up with their product and of course, their own beauty tips gleaned from years of experience,” Blythe said.
“We’re giving our community the context of brands they love or introducing them to new ones. We’ve interviewed some truly brilliant founders, and it’s always so fascinating to hear about their journeys firsthand.”
Brands ‘hit play’ on podcasts
According to stats from Podcast Insights, more than 155 million people are tuning in to podcasts each week, a demographic that an increasing number of brands are planning to tap into with the launch of their own shows.
At the peak of the pandemic in March last year, luxury brand Bottega Veneta launched Bottega Residency, an online platform featuring a series of interviews with writers, designers and other creatives, such as the brand’s creative director, Daniel Lee. Bottega Veneta follows in the footsteps of other luxury powerhouses such as Dior, Hermès, Net-a-Porter and Gucci, which all host their own podcasts.
Chanel was one of the earliest pioneers for the luxury industry when the company launched its 3.55 Chanel podcast in 2017, featuring some of the brand’s iconic visionaries, including Karl Lagerfeld. Shows have also been recorded in a wide range of different occasions, including the Palais Garnier in Paris and at the Chanel flagship store in Seoul, South Korea.
“Businesses and brands want to take more control over how their messaging is delivered, which is in turn a double-edged sword,” said Ben Sorensen, an Australian radio show and podcast host.
However, Sorensen warns brands from taking a half-hearted approach to podcasting and advises fully investing in the platform in order to reap its full benefits and create a highly engaged community.
“Podcasting isn’t something to be dabbled in. Like most things, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly,” he said. “Podcasting is a long-term plan not a quick win. So before you start, make sure you’re properly committed to making it work and to funding it properly,” Sorensen cautioned.
If done correctly, with the right research and the right budget, Sorensen said podcasting can be a great marketing tool that can really reach the brand’s target audience in a far deeper and more detailed way than the usual advertising.
“Chemist Warehouse is a great example, heavily investing in the production of in-store radio, podcasts and programs to educate their customers in many different ways consistently — and they have done it very very well,” he explained.
Lauren Lee, founder of Korean beauty online store Style Story and beauty brand Jelly Ko who also hosts the Korean Beauty Show podcast, said podcasting has really exploded over the last few years.
“I think it comes down to the fact that podcasts are easily accessible and mostly free,” Lee said. “As a broadcaster or content producer, podcasting has many advantages over YouTube and other types of social media because there’s no need for a camera, makeup, lighting equipment, video editing skills or even to show your face. You can also record virtually anywhere, making it a better option for people without an office or studio.”
Rachael Tyers, founder of Tbh Skincare brand who also hosts her own podcast called Tea with Tbh along with brand specialist Taylor Bradford, said brands should think of podcasting as a place where customers can have direct access to them and vice versa.
“It is a place where we are almost able to befriend our customer base and build a relationship with them that goes way beyond the product that we sell,” Tyers said. “It is also a place where we can showcase our true brand personality. I think there is huge value in this form in terms of driving customer loyalty as well as broader brand awareness.”
How to create a successful podcast
We spoke to several experts including Lee and communications specialist Sheree Mutton, founder of Reeton Media, about the ins and outs of producing an engaging podcast, from choosing the right topics to choosing the right technology. Here are the tips they shared:
1. Find your niche
“I think what makes an interesting podcast is having a niche to focus on and a unique perspective or take on that niche,” Lee said. “Don’t try to appeal to everyone — know who your target market is, and speak directly to them about the things that you know they’re interested in or curious about. If you don’t know what that is, ask them.”
Lee added that instead of rehashing what other shows are already talking about or interviewing the same guests, brands should try to bring unique content and ideas to the table and put their own spin on things.
2. Be consistent
“Good podcasters know who they’re making content for. Be authentic and understand your audience. It’s also important to be consistent with the release of episodes to build momentum,” suggested Mutton.
3. Make the investment
To create a professional branded podcast, a business needs to commit time, money and qualified staff to the project, said Mutton. “The audio needs to be clear and of high-quality. All of the key technology tools are necessary — microphone, headphones, and recording and editing software.
“If you don’t have the budget to commit to a podcast, it might be worth exploring partnership opportunities with existing podcasts.”
4. Discuss what you know
According to Mutton, retailers should stay true to their brand and its values, and show off their expertise.
“Be an authority on the topic that you are talking about or discussing on your podcast,” she said.