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The Connection Between Podcast Production and Synesthesia

Sarah Linick

I have always gravitated towards the creative side of life — I was that student in high school whose identity was entirely associated with the arts in all of its forms; from participating in musical theater and choir, attempting to write brooding poetry, exploring fine art and dance classes, to submitting to national songwriting contests. Upon reflecting on why I was so set on plunging myself in a pool of artistic pursuits with little room to breathe, I realized that I am disproportionately drawn to activities that produce multi-sensory stimulations.

Why, you might ask? I have a condition called synesthesia, which literally translates to the “jumbling of the senses.” Essentially, I associate colors with numbers, letters, and certain sounds. So, when penning a poem, belting an aria, or piecing together lyrics, it’s as if I’m painting colors on a canvas in my head. It’s the space in which life feels truly alive for me.

I must admit that, before entering the corporate world, I was disheartened by the idea that I wouldn’t be able to find activities that would produce that unique experience for me; and that those opportunities would be relegated to introspective evenings after work. I was pleased to discover, however, that I could find somewhat of a sensory experience through writing in PR; I was even more pleased when I was handed the opportunity to try podcasting -- a process that combines multiple sensory mediums -- for my clients (thanks, HPL!).

I’m lucky to have entered the work world at a time when podcasting is dramatically expanding and of immense value to businesses today. It’s such a unique form of communication and expression; I like to compare it to film. What I mean by this is that there are so many styles of art that have the capacity to move people, such as music, storytelling, and the visual arts. But film layers and connects all of those mediums, making for a heightened, even more poignant, and multi-sensory experience for the consumer. Like film, podcasting can move audience members in a way that they may not have been otherwise.

Why businesses, too, should care about podcasting

From a business standpoint, leveraging a podcast is a way to increase visibility and grow your brand. Here at HPL, we assist our clients with both internal and external podcasts, and through all aspects of the process, from ideation to production to distribution. For EY, we help develop storylines and messaging for one of its external podcasts featuring innovation leaders across sectors. The podcast has become very popular primarily due to its timely topics of discussion, as well as its host, an EY leader who is likable, thoughtful, and conversational.

We also support the development of some of Ball Corp.’s internal podcasts. They are aimed at inspiring Ball teams and leaders and focus on current trends, events and company pillars, providing a new way to reinvigorate employees, and ensure everyone is on the same page and tuned into relevant conversations.

Below, I outline a few of my top recommendations for businesses looking to expand their brand marketing efforts into the podcasting arena.

Podcasting best practices for businesses

  • Show a personal side in a world saturated with ostensibly mechanical brand messaging. Oftentimes, written words don’t -- and can’t -- convey things in the most powerful way. What’s really moving can frequently be found in the nuances of live storytelling and human interaction, both of which are fundamental parts of a podcast. Businesses should put forward leaders who are engaging and relatable on their podcasts to enhance audience engagement.

  • Use podcasts as an opportunity to shine a light on the individuals who make up your organization’s leadership and workforce. This strategy helps drive thought leadership and yields a more human connection with consumers. In fact, consumers now expect companies to have a presence in the podcast world, and it may be one of the first places prospective clients and employees look to gain more information about the people who make up a company.

  • Invest in high quality equipment. There are plenty of podcasts on the market, but a good portion of them are poorly produced. This gap in the market provides an opportunity for businesses to stand out. Moreover, the way in which a podcast is perceived undoubtedly influences perceptions of a brand overall. So whether it's making sure that all hosts and guests have proper mics, or investing in advanced production software, it’s important to do it right.

Whether a podcast is being used to enhance a company’s external thought leadership, or even its internal company-wide messaging, it is, unequivocally, a forum that is uniquely human and relatable. With this in mind as I produce each podcast, an experience that ignites a colorful amalgamation of music, sound effects, words, and storylines in my head, I am able to leverage the way in which my brain works to create something that I hope will be enriching, dynamic, and vivid for others. Not only am I fortunate to have the ability to help leaders move and inspire their audiences, but I am grateful to have found an area that fuses my intellectual curiosity with my strange yet colorful and sensory world.