This week, we’re launching a nationwide marketing campaign to help more people discover NPR’s diverse set of podcasts, issues, ideas, flavors and personalities.
If you’re a big podcast fan, your playlist is probably longer than ever. And, with more 2 million podcasts and 48 million podcast episodes to discover and enjoy, your programming is probably only scratching the surface.
Even amid all the noise, we think there is something special about NPR’s shows.
Episode by episode, NPR shows you your world as it really is. Of It’s been a minute ‘s rich exploration of the surprising motivations for the explosion of Latin music, for Invisibilia’s revealing a glimpse of friendships in an expected and unexpected places, To No compromise ‘By deeply investigating a radical far-right pro-gun movement taking place on Facebook, we are raising unexpected truths, stories that would otherwise go unrecorded, and voices that need to be heard.
We don’t just help you understand, we also help you feel understood. Because NPR podcasts aren’t just amplifiers – they are also reflections of you: your passions, your perspectives, your neighborhood, your universe.
At the generational level, our shows reflect America’s new and rapidly evolving fabric. On a personal level this means that no matter who you are or what you are looking for, there is something here for you that you want to think about. Where to laugh; reflect Where act; catch the last one Where grasp the larger context.
This week, we tell that story to America in four simple words: No more voices, all ears. We love this line because it reflects the diversity of our content, the multitude of our voices, and also our commitment to listen – you, the country and the world.
We built this campaign with the help of the creative geniuses of Great Army – an award-winning creative agency behind rebranding and advertising campaigns for clients ranging from Justin Timberlake to Vans, to ESPN, to Comedy Central.
“No more voices, all ears. âhas become the driving force behind our marketing campaign. But there is more to it. Here are some unique elements that have guided our efforts.
Booming center for diverse artists.
Any good marketing campaign needs strong visual language. But how to best represent diversity? Instead of relying on a singular aesthetic, we put our brand in the hands of a large group of promising visual artists – illustrators, animators, photographers, coders and creators of all kinds.
The result? A visual language as energetic and lively as the topics, ideas and personalities we cover every day.
Lift tangible things.
Coveted plumbers. Shy pornographers. Famous Pomeranians. These are just a few of the characters that color our campaign. While we had something big and noble to say, we also knew we had to be specific (and surprising!) To stay on people’s minds. GrandArmy has gone through our podcasts, episode by episode, and extracted compelling artifacts – topics, ideas, people, and places – from specific stories or lines in our scripts. Because when you listen to NPR podcasts, you see the world as it really is – and all the issues, flavors, people and things that make it up.
Serve the unexpected.
As humans, we are programmed to focus on the unexpected. It’s been part of our biology from birth. By introducing the element of surprise, we hope to pique your curiosity and leave you with the lasting feeling that NPR is everywhere, even where and when you least expect us. We also hope to bring some joy, fun and flavor to your daily routines.
Enjoy our campaign video.
Want to go straight to sampling all of our shows? Go to npr.org/podcasts. You want to stay constantly up to date with our last episodes? follow us on @NRPpodcasts on Instagram.
Why all this now ? Marketing Director Michael Smith sits down with Sommer Hill to answer questions about the new NPR Podcasts marketing campaign and the future of NPR.
Why are you running this campaign for NPR podcasts?
This campaign is the culmination of a strategy that we have been executing for a year and a half and that has been our North Star: to diversify our audience and to better reflect and serve America. We know our podcasts are a great way to do this because our podcast audiences are actually younger and much more diverse than our radio audiences. Yet over 75% of people of color are unfamiliar with the NPR brand. This can be seen as both a problem and an opportunity. The challenge is, how do we raise awareness? Traditionally, it was about doing cross-marketing marketing inside our own podcasts: listening to one show and leading to another. But that kind of keeps you inside the NPR bubble.
Why is it important for NPR to reach this demographic?
The 2020 census reconfirmed what we all know: America is becoming a much more diverse country. NPR started in 1971 and the country was about 82% white, 18% colored. NPR’s audience was similar to this. Fast forward 50 years later, the recent census showed that America is made up of about 60% white and 40% people of color. It is predicted that over the next 25 to 30 years it will be a majority minority country. In order for NPR to fulfill its mission of creating a more informed audience, we must reflect that audience. It is not only a “doing”, it is an existential necessity.
Why do you think there is an awareness problem among people of color?
We did not aggressively go to places outside of our bubble where people live and are. Traditionally, we’ve grown on word of mouth among people who love NPR. If you listen to our radio shows, you may hear about other radio shows or another host talking about a podcast. Then you start listening and hear about other podcasts. I think that’s why our awareness has been lower with a younger and more diverse audience. This is one of the reasons we are going to be advertising on other podcasts. outside of the NPR network – but also on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and connected television applications. Finally, we will also be doing outdoor advertising in key cities with larger, younger and more diverse populations, such as LA, Atlanta and Houston.
Why should people listen to NPR (rather than other podcasts)?
Our content intersects with what the younger generations are looking for. They are looking for content that reflects their voice, the issues and concerns they have. They want to get along on the shows. Our content does this, and too few people realize it. It’s a great opportunity to put together a bunch of a whole portfolio of shows that we have and show people we’re made for them.
Do you think the content on NPR reflects America?
Yes. I think we’ve done a lot of work over the past few years to diversify the people who tell stories, the hosts and sources you hear in our content, the stories we choose and the areas we cover. It is a combination of diversification within our traditional shows such as First of all, consider this, and How I built this, but also by introducing new shows that specifically target diverse audiences, as we so often do in shows like Code switch Where Stronger than a Riot.
Public radio is funded by listeners. Do you think the next generation will continue to fund NPR?
I believe they will. There is plenty of evidence showing that young people are much more concerned with social issues and issues outside themselves and are committed to supporting causes that matter. I think the key for us is to explain to them why we are important and to allow them to see the impact of our work. I’m optimistic – I think their support will follow. Support for public radio has grown over the decades. The key is that with each new generation, we’ve evolved to stay relevant and meet new needs.
The opportunity here is that we know the power that the NPR brand can have once someone listens to what we stand for. When savvy people see the NPR logo on a podcast, it means something special. With 47 shows represented in the NPR Podcast portfolio, we have become the # 2 podcaster nationwide in terms of audience. If we compare that to the # 1 podcaster, iHeartRadio – which has 620 shows – it’s amazing. Even though people don’t know what the podcast is all about, just seeing this NPR logo there is a real sense of trust built into it. People know that listening with us will be time well spent. With this campaign and other exciting initiatives to come over the coming year, we aim to spread that âcan’t be wrongâ feeling to more people than ever before.