Podcast Week: Russel Howcroft on branding, Marc Fennell on nuts, Business Nerds

• Plus The Life of Brian, Nine’s new daily, Acast revenue opportunity

Inside Russel Howcroft’s Brand New World

PwC marketing guru, Gruen regular and former TV executive Russel Howcroft is making an impression in the podcast world with his new series Brand New World. “I am busy,” Howcroft told Mediaweek this week. “But really good busy. To be asked by SCA to host this podcast has been great. Anything one can do to contribute in times like this you do.”

Launched just two weeks ago, the series has already featured the host with OMD chief executive Aimee Buchanan, branding guru Peter Field, marketing specialist Mark Ritson and brand builder Zoë Foster Blake. Of his talk with Buchanan, Howcroft said: “The media world is under real revenue strain. It needs calm heads, and Aimee definitely displayed that. She is a great leader.”

Howcroft is offering listeners learnings from academia and real-world practitioners. “The academic side of marketing is something we don’t use nearly enough. We had the rock star academic Mark Ritson, but also someone like Ken Roberts who is coming soon. He is a deep-thinking marketing specialist who has his own business. It’s great to talk to someone with an opinion based and research and analysis.

“I also spoke to Zoë Foster Blake who you have to call one of the great instinctive marketers. She uses touch, instinct and heart and it is textbook as well.”

When Howcroft got the call to host the series from SCA marketing boss Nikki Clarkson, he told her he wanted to investigate the business of brand. “Brand is the critical asset in the development and growth of business – not everyone gets that which is weird. I am interested in people where brand is central to their thinking.

As to his other projects, why isn’t Gruen on air in a challenging time like this? “As far as I have heard Gruen will be back. It was the most popular series on the ABC last year.”

And how is PwC handling the COVID-19 challenge. “It is an amazing firm,” said Howcroft. “As a brand it has a very strong purpose – to build trust in society and solve important problems. When a moment like this happens it doubles down on its purpose and you get an amazingly energised organisation.”

Listen to Brand New World Here.

Meet Marc Fennell from Nut Jobs

Earlier this week Mediaweek covered the new Audible podcast series Nut Jobs from SBS broadcaster, reporter and author Marc Fennell.

During a Mediaweek podcast this week, Fennell told how he first became interested in the mystery surrounding the theft of $10m worth of nuts in California. “These trucks of nuts would just disappear, and nobody really knew where they went. One of the producers on my previous podcast It Burns told me about it.

“I have a slightly compulsive personality and I couldn’t stop thinking about the nuts, just asking myself ‘Why?’ I started investigating it and myself and some of the team from It Burns started Google docs about what the hell happened to these trucks. We then realised we had something worth pursuing.

We were soon involved in a high-tech complicated heist which really excited me as a documentary maker.

Although the heists started in2012, Fennell didn’t hear about it until last year. If you’ve been intrigued so far, you’ll need to listen to the series to hear Fennell on the ground investigating in California and you’ll find out if the nut case was cracked! You’ll get to meet some interesting characters too, including Rocky J Pipkin from the Pipkin Detective Agency.

Listen to Nut Jobs here.

Listen to Marc Fennell on the Mediaweek podcast.

The Life of Brian (Mannix)

Brian Mannix is a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, radio and television personality and author. He is best remembered as the exuberant front man of the very successful Melbourne rock band Uncanny X Men, who achieved platinum and gold albums plus top 20 singles including 50 Years – written by Mannix – which made the national top five.

The versatile Mannix has also turned his talents to the stage in the successful musicals We Will Rock You and Bad Boy Johnny and TV roles in Neighbours, Blue Heelers and The Flying Doctors and the movies Chopper and Bogan Pride. He was a regular panellist on Spicks and Specks and competed in Dancing with the Stars and The Apprentice.

His autobiography 50 Years will soon be joined by his follow up, an audio book called Hell I Don’t Even Like Al Green.

For the last three years Mannix has been one third of the popular Ruck ’n Roll podcast and now is launching his own podcast Life of Brian sponsored by Murcotts Driving Excellence.

The podcast, co-hosted by Kevin Hillier, will feature interviews (starting with Wilbur Wilde), plus a combination of stories from the audio book and Brian’s life.

Listen to Life of Brian here

 First-time podcaster snares guests worth $2.5 billion

Fred Schebesta and Darren Moffatt

A novice podcaster has secured six guests from companies worth a combined $2.5 billion, without even a web page or a single piece of audio recorded. “All I had was the concept and a powerpoint slide deck,” Darren Moffatt, host of the Nerds of Business podcast and co-founder of digital marketing agency Webbuzz said.

“I knew that to make this work I’d need some big-name guests, but I didn’t know any of them personally. I had to pitch them all cold. Nearly everyone said yes, so the response has been pretty incredible.”

Moffatt said a secret to his success was the unique structure of the Nerds of Business podcast. The premise of the show is to “solve the challenges of growing a business, one problem at a time”.

According to Moffatt, the name itself was also the key to getting high-profile guests on board. “A lot of the top entrepreneurs and tech founders are nerds at heart, so I think the name really helped get their attention. It’s a bit cheeky and fun.”

The roll call of guests for Nerds of Business is impressive with global head of growth at tech unicorn Airwallex Neil Luo, Fred Schebesta from Finder.com.au, Dr Rob Newman the CEO of ASX 200 company Nearmap, Pic’s Peanut Butter founder Pic Picot, Vinomofo founder Andre Eikmeier and Victoria Coster a CEO of small business, Credit Fix Solutions.

Listen to Nerds of Business here.

Acast offers revenue opportunity for indie podcasters

Acast has announced new updates to its Acast Open platform that will provide further support and revenue opportunities to local, independent podcast creators.

The announcement comes as the local podcast market continues to boom, with Acast hitting a record 25.3 million listens in Australia last month.

Acast Open provides a platform for new and independent podcasters to capitalise on the audience growth, while generating new revenue opportunities from ads via Acast Marketplace.

Johan Billgren, Acast’s co-founder and CPTO, said: “We launched Acast Open to put the same tools we built for the world’s biggest and best podcasts and publishers into the hands of every podcaster on the planet.

Now we’re further democratising podcasting, opening up the possibility for anyone on Acast Open to monetise across any and every podcast player there is –they can start seeing financial payback for all the efforts they’ve made to build dedicated, engaged audiences around the world.”

Henrik Isaksson (pictured), managing director for Acast Australia and New Zealand, said: “More than ever before, people talk to us about wanting to start a podcast. Now, with Acast Open, we not only have an incredible, easy-to-use tool that provides access to the best tech in the industry, we can also tell all these potential podcasters that they could make money from their show. It feels great to be able to support local creators.”

Any podcaster opting into ads on Acast Open will receive monthly payouts, depending on the number of times an ad is served to a person listening to their show.

Nine’s Please Explain goes daily

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s weekly news podcast Please Explain is going daily, rebranding to Please Explain Daily.

The expansion follows on from a trial during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast joins the growing list of daily news podcasts including The Briefing, 7am, The Squiz, The Signal, Full Story and From the Newsroom.

Hosted by Nine newspapers’ Tory Maguire, with Herald senior journalist Jacqueline Maley and The Sunday Age editor David King also on hosting duties, Please Explain Daily features regular contributions from Europe correspondent Bevan Shields, North America correspondent Matthew Knot, chief political correspondent David Crowe, senior economics writer Jess Irvine and political and international editor Peter Hartcher.

Please Explain Daily is an excellent example of how The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are always looking for new ways to engage with our readers and subscribers,” Maguire said.

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