In this series, we’re putting the spotlight on our clients. Why did they decide to explore an original podcast for their brand? What surprises did they encounter? What lessons did they learn along the way? Find out from the people at the helm.
Christine grew up in New Jersey as the youngest of three siblings and the second youngest in her extended family.
“There’s a big gap between all my cousins, that generation and me. I’d be playing off on my own, making up imaginative stories on my own and trying to put on plays that they kind of didn’t wanna do. ”
Christine would see potential even where there seemed to be very little to go on. Take for instance, Jungle Hunt — an Atari video game.
“I thought I could turn it into a book, which is so silly because there’s no plot to that video game,” she said.
“But I certainly made a bunch of characters up. I named all the alligators in the video game and they were friends, even though they were the enemies in the video game. They were just misunderstood.”
As an adult, Christine’s instinct to create a better world inspired a career in advocacy.
She moved to Washington DC and worked on public health campaigns. One such campaign focused on tobacco education.
“I guess I saw it as a bunch of issues that could be solved if people were just armed with the right information,” she said.
Another campaign created play opportunities for children in neighborhoods where there was no playground within walking distance.
She learned how to create opportunities for families within their existing routine. Instead of building a new playground that busy caretakers would need to add to their list of destinations, Christine’s team injected play into everyday elements of urban design. For instance, creating a mile-long hopscotch on one of the city’s sidewalks.
“People went out of their way to take that street so that their kids and them could do hopscotch for a whole mile. They’re having to commute anyway, so why not introduce play there?”
In another experiment, Christine’s team designed animal-themed handrails for children to hold onto in subway cars.
Christine also has a Master’s degree in film production. Once, she spent a painstaking three months making just one fundraising video. Christine learned early that reaching the right audience, rather than a large audience, was key.
“It was so expensive. And a whopping, maybe 200 people watched it, maybe 250,” she said.
“But it raised $7 million.”
Making an original podcast
After a decade in the non-profit sector, Christine started working at Atlassian, a software company that makes collaboration software — first as a Brand Liaison and then as a senior manager for the advertising department.
Christine and her colleagues decided they wanted to make a podcast. They knew they wanted it to have a very light brand touch and to appeal to the general public, not just to Atlassian customers.
But what does that sound like, exactly?
“I’m not gonna say we were wrong per se, but we had a lot of energy for creative narratives that necessarily didn’t pass the test for goals, or viability or feasibility of whether or not that was logistically possible,” she said.
“Someone needs to come out and say, you gotta throw that out.”
Atlassian partnered with Pacific Content to make an original podcast, called Teamistry. The show tells stories of some of the best examples of teamwork around the world, such as the time a team of divers rescued a group of boys trapped in a cave in Thailand, or the time a team of British and French engineers built a plane that flew at supersonic speed.
“Pacific Content was pretty instrumental in creating a foundation for what we wanted,” said Christine.
Then, Christine and her team decided to partner with Pacific Content again to create a second original podcast.
This podcast would look very different from the first.
Work Check is a debate-style show where workplace experts explore the pros and cons of topics ranging from the use of emojis, to the four-day work week, to whether cameras should be on or off during a video call.
Christine hosts the podcast.
“The examples are very personal to this audience. People who are listening to Work Check, who are also Atlassian customers should be able to say, ‘I face this every day,’” she said.
Teamistry and Work Check have both earned numerous accolades, including nominations for Webby and Ambie awards.
But the real measure of success comes from your audience, said Christine.
“Did your audience laugh? Did they linger? Did they really applaud? Did they stay after and ask you questions? Your metric is your audience reception. That’s true for podcasts. That’s true for any kind of content.”
Last month, Christine met one of Work Check’s listeners in person.
He walked up to her team after a live recording of the Work Check podcast in Las Vegas.
This listener lives in Ukraine and told Christine that the podcast was helping him through the tough times brought on by war.
“He kept shaking my hand,” said Christine.
“He said listening to Work Check got him out of his depression, because he started to have a parasocial relationship with us and felt very connected to what we were saying. I was like, this is too wild. But he was so sincere. He attributes Work Check for getting him out of that bad mental place that he was in.”
That listener now works at Atlassian.
Christine has this advice for aspiring podcasters: it’s about more than the numbers.
“I talk to a lot of people that are indie podcasters and all they care about is reach. But that’s not the end all. You’re here to speak to listeners, you’re here to engage folks. You’re here to make change,” she said.
“I believe that we’re not making content for advertising purposes. We’re making podcasts because we have stories to tell and listeners’ minds to change.”