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.
New York has always been home for Jamie.
When she was eight years old, her parents took her to see a performance of Annie on Broadway.
“My parents said, ‘Annie’s only 10. These kids are your age. They’re singing and dancing on Broadway.’ And I was like, oh God, I would love to do that. And I got the cast soundtrack album and started singing along and just, you know, I was bitten by the bug at that young age.”
From then on, Jamie’s days were filled with music and performance. She would put on productions even when there was no one watching.
“I listened to the West Side Story cast album in my room by myself playing all the parts, being the director and the choreographer, the boys, the girls, and just having the best time,” she said, enjoying the memory.
“I had a vision. I knew how I wanted it to look. I imagined I was in a big theater doing the whole thing for a large audience.”
After entering the workforce, Jamie discovered that the instinct to think about your audience first was not universal. But it gave her a leg up in marketing. Content marketing, with its emphasis on storytelling, was a natural fit.
“The instinct to be thinking about your audience is very helpful as a marketer — to be thinking about your customer view, what are they thinking and feeling and needing. Is it going to land? Is it too long or too short? Does it have the right tone?”
Jamie started by doing marketing work for consumer products and then moved on to marketing in the financial services world. This meant producing suites of investment fact sheets, brochures and presentation decks.
But soon, technology would open the door to more engaging forms of storytelling.
“When social media became its own thing, we started understanding the power of shorter form or audio and video formats,” she said.
“That’s when it got really exciting.”
Making an original podcast
By the time Jamie started working at Morgan Stanley in 2020, she already had experience fielding podcast pitches.
“As a digital content person, I’ve gotten a lot of requests to do podcasts over the course of my career,” she said.
“And it’s not always a good idea. Podcasts are not easy to make, they’re not easy to sustain and they’re not easy to build an audience for. So a lot of times I actually try to talk people out of doing podcasts.”
Much of Jamie’s work centers around showing the value of licensed financial advisors. After all, money can be a touchy subject and her own team’s audience research showed that many people found the idea of talking to a financial advisor “intimidating.”
Jamie thought that perhaps this time, a podcast was the right solution.
But first, she and her team did their due diligence.
“We’re careful. We don’t just run boldly into new territory. We plan, we anticipate risks. We do the things that you would want your wealth manager to do,” said Jamie.
Her team asked Pacific Content to advise on whether there was space for yet another investment show in the podcast landscape.
It was very crowded. There are thousands of podcasts doling out investment advice.
“But nothing was really speaking directly to somebody who didn’t understand what it was like to work with a financial advisor or if they needed one,” said Jamie.
“So we thought that this was a really good medium to show the human side of what we do and to give people a window into what a relationship with a financial advisor looks like and feels like and demystify the whole process.”
So, Morgan Stanley partnered with Pacific Content to make an original podcast called What Should I Do With My Money?
In each episode, Morgan Stanley pairs a financial advisor with a guest who has a financial dilemma — like how to run a small business while putting money aside for your kid’s college fund, what to do with an inheritance, or how to travel the world while saving for the future.
The feedback started pouring in once the podcast launched. Financial advisors loved the show because it gave people a glimpse into the care that they bring to their work and the value they provide to their clients. Guests wrote in to say how much they enjoyed the experience and how much they learned from the conversations. Jamie and her team were thrilled.
But Jamie wanted to gather data from the most important people of all — the audience.
Her team commissioned a brand lift study to test things like “Are listeners going to like this? Are they going to find it helpful? Are they going to listen to the end? Would they recommend it? How do they feel about Morgan Stanley after listening to it? Did they learn something new? Are they more likely to want to hire us or recommend us?”
Jamie said the results surprised even her.
“We got really great results from that brand lift study, I think beyond what anybody expected. And that’s when we kind of had an inkling that we had stumbled onto something good. We had good benchmark-beating results.”
Jamie has this advice for aspiring podcasters: figure out how you will measure success before starting.
“Try to identify what your success metrics look like upfront. And manage expectations with people in your brand who may not be as familiar with what podcasts are good at,” she said.
“Podcasts are really good at top-of-funnel brand awareness, storytelling, providing information. They’re not good at making the cash register ring, they’re not a conversion-oriented marketing tactic. So if that’s the expectation going in, you’re probably going to be set up to underdeliver. So I would just also make sure that everyone understands what this is for and what they’re good at. And if it’s really important to your organization, to measure that.”