Building Passion and Loyalty Through Internal Podcasts with Scott Monty Strategies's Scott Monty
Lindsay Tjepkema: How does your brand relate to people? Keyword there being relate as in build relationships. And who is your brand relating to? Many brands focus heavily on building relationships with their audiences outside the business, their external audiences, their buyers, their customers, their prospects. But what about your internal audience, your own team? Quite often, these audiences are looked at differently. We think about establishing relationships and building trust with our external audiences. And then we simply think about communicating with, or even communicating at our internal audience. Clearly, we need to rethink this and you know what can help? You guessed it, podcasting. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and Co- Founder of Casted, the first and only marketing platform built for brand podcasts. And this is our podcast. Welcome to this three part mini series here on the Casted podcast about the type of show that should definitely be on your radar if it's not already there, internal podcasts. I am talking to a couple of people who I recently had the pleasure of joining in an article in Forbes. It was about internal podcasts and we're digging deeper into each of their perspectives and giving you more insights about what these shows are and why they could be a great asset for your business. Today, I am talking to Scott Monty. If you don't already know Mr. Monte, you are missing out. Not only is he largely responsible for the way we all approach social media for our businesses, thanks to the work that he did at Ford Motor Company, right at the advent of social media. So the work that he did in bringing social media onboard for brands, that's largely thanks to Scott. He has been a pioneer also in internal podcasting, largely thanks to the work that he's done with TD Bank. So listen, in on our conversation about using podcasts to build relationships with those, not only outside your company, but also certainly within it.
Scott Monty: I am Scott Monty, I'm the Principal of Scott Monty Strategies.
Lindsay Tjepkema: All right, well, thank you so much for being here, Scott. We were just talking, before the recording, about how I was so excited to have you here because, going back and setting the stage you have been a champion for a long time about humanizing brands, right? Shifting a brand as big as, many people know you from Ford, but many others as well from one way, outbound marketing to leveraging social media, for example, to actually have conversations. So let's start there. So going back a decade, leveraging social media to be more personal, more transparent and more human was really disruptive idea, which just seems crazy now. Right? But it felt like a lot of us to take that it was a really big risk as a marketer to put yourself out there in that way. And so now here we are talking on a podcast about leveraging podcasts to further humanize brands. And that feels disruptive again, for a lot of people. So let's talk about that. How should brands be thinking about different opportunities to relate to audiences and be more human?
Scott Monty: Well, first of all, how meta, we're talking about podcasting on a podcast about podcasts. My whole take on this stuff, and I've been at the social media thing for a while. I've blogged since 2001, I have had a one podcast running now for 14 years, another one for four years, I've done a few in between. I'm no stranger to the digital space. And the thing that keeps coming back to me over and over again is, as you said, the power of human connection, it doesn't matter what the platform is. It doesn't matter whether you're blogging or podcasting or you're on Twitter or Instagram or Tik Tok or whatever it is, it's about being a personal presence. And what's irked me over the last decade or so, maybe eight years or so, is that when social first started off in corporations, it was largely run or at least the strategy of it was run by the communications team. And this is a team that typically deals with people. They deal with reporters, they deal with analysts, they deal with employees. It's all about making that connection. And there are whole sub- departments within communications or PR called media relations or analyst relations. And you see the common term there, relations. It's about building a relationship with people. And yet, in the last eight years or so, when marketing suddenly discovers this brand new platform with new ways to reach people and to get more numbers and to scale and to reach as many eyeballs as possible, and they have the budget, usually 10 times the budget that communications has, they come in and they treat it like another, what? Advertising and marketing medium, where everyone gets set on blast. And you simply use these platforms to take a message and just shoot it out at everyone. When the real power, I think the power we've seen all along, is the ability to build a community, the ability to have a conversation and the ability to get feedback on your products and services and to make people feel like they're part of something. Because ultimately that's what we all want. We want to feel like we're part of something bigger than ourselves and like our voice is heard.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, absolutely. And to your point, it doesn't really matter what channel, what medium, what tactic, what format you're using. It's a mindset, right? It's a mindset of building community, making connection, building relationship, as opposed to just blasting something out one way.
Scott Monty: That's exactly it. Let me show you a quick story with you. I was in a meeting in Ford, probably around 2011 or so, with the executive team. I was seated in between the chief financial officer and the chief operating officer in the Thunderbird room, up on the 12th floor of Ford. This is where the executive committee always met. And I was tasked with giving a state of the industry, what was going on in social media, why it was important for Ford. Now, before I started the presentation, every executive around that table was concerned with a single issue, and that was gas prices. And, as a company that builds a lot of SUVs and had a plan going forward for electric and hybrid and all the rest, they wanted to know where they sat. So I said," Well, let me go on the Ford corporate account and send out a tweet." And the tweet was," When you consider the next car that you're going to buy, what's the ideal miles per gallon, MPG, that you'd like to see?" And I put it out there. I gave the presentation 20 minutes or so, blahbity blah. I come back. Now again, I'm sitting next to the CFO, who's the most skeptical executive on the team. He wants to know why people are wasting their time and why productivity might be affected and why all this frivolous stuff is going on. He doesn't understand Twitter. He doesn't tweet. So we come back and the responses to the question about ideal MPG were anywhere from," Don't matter what MPG is as long as I get a V8 engine in it," all the way up to" 300 miles per gallon." But most of the responses, the majority of the responses were in the thirties and forties, which was exactly where Ford was or was targeting to be over the next two to three years. Right? So it validated the company strategy. The CFO looked over at me and then he pushed back from the table and he had glasses on the end of his nose and he took his glasses off and he put them up on his forehead. And he said," Do you know if I had insights like this every day, I would find it invaluable?" And I thought, well, game set and match. It was a matter of just speaking his language and helping him understand how to translate this into his day- to- day activities and how it could be helpful to him. So it's really just about changing perspectives.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's a great story. And obviously that's focused on social. But again, it's all in how you're approaching whatever medium, whatever are the elements of your strategy, it's the approach and it's the purpose. It's why you're doing it. Podcasting really is in and of itself, it's human. Everyone who's listening to this podcast right now is listening to our voice. We're inviting them in on this conversation that you and I are having, which lays the groundwork for more human. But as we know, that's not always the case. There's still an opportunity to turn it into blasting, right? So tell me your thoughts on podcasting and then I want to get into how you got started into podcasting, because it was a while ago.
Scott Monty: I think podcasting is probably the most intimate medium that there is. Why? Because you're going directly into someone's ears, whether they are on a treadmill, out for a walk, working in the garden, commuting, it's you to them. It isn't on a screen, it's not on a billboard. It's not a video that you're watching. It's actually communicating directly into someone's brain. And forgive me if I step on any toes here, Lindsay, but one of the things that irks me about so many podcasters, and you could say this certainly for YouTubers as well, is the opening salvo, when they go" Hi guys," or" Hi everybody." That's like an old radio thing, good morning everybody, how you doing out there? When I talk about podcasting being intimate, it's you having a relationship with the listener and the listener is one person at a time. They don't know how many other people, they're not in a studio or an auditorium as part of our presentation. It's you to them, one to one. And the opportunity to treat them like it's you and them having a conversation or like you're bringing them on the inside, that's so powerful. It's so powerful. And if you make them feel like a participant, rather than a spectator, the opportunity to build the loyalty and the trust and the relationship with the brand is absolutely yours for the taking.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. I mean, obviously I agree. So tell me when did podcasts first enter your life? How did that get started?
Scott Monty: I had, I think a second generation iPod. This is back when there wasn't even a scrolling wheel, it was just buttons. I realized, as Steve Jobs said, 1, 000 songs in your pocket, but I realized probably back in 2005, that podcasting was something that was really going to take off. 2005, that's 15 years ago when you think about that. And I remember, I was at a B2B boutique agency at the time, and I had a biotech client that had a really interesting story. I said to them, your story is perfect for a podcast. I said, here's a strategy we could put together where you could do a show and bring on experts and talk about the fundamental behind what it is that you do and why it is that you're doing it. And they looked at it and they go," Okay, do you have a case study that we could read on this." This launched two weeks ago. Apple just put this out.
Lindsay Tjepkema: You would be the case study.
Scott Monty: That's exactly what I said. Do you want to read a case study or do you want to be a case study? And they go," We want to read a case study."
Lindsay Tjepkema: Oh, boy.
Scott Monty: So they did not start into podcasting. But I realized then that there was such power in podcasting. And I had been blogging, like I said, since 2001, I started a blog about Sherlock Holmes in 2005. And about two years later, I said, why don't I try a podcast? Use this as a crucible, as a laboratory to see how the public responds to podcasting. And again, this is 13, 14 years ago. And here we are today. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a podcast these days.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes. Don't swing any dead cats. You might not actually hit a podcast. A lot of people think today, and you fast forward here we are 2020, when people hear podcasting, first of all, they think entertainment, podcasts, everyone has a podcast. And now more and more with companies like ours and with lots of marketers getting more and more into podcasting, they're thinking, yeah, it's part of a content strategy, content marketing strategy. But the way that this whole conversation started was an article in Forbes by our friend, Mat Zucker, who wrote a lot of information about internal podcasts. Tell me your thoughts on the opportunity there and what you've seen as far as leveraging podcasting inside an organization for internal audiences.
Scott Monty: I've heard of internal podcasting going back probably at least 10 years or so, maybe more. I initially heard about it from a pharmaceutical company that was making it possible for their sales force, which is out in the field, to get information. And it's the same concept as the CMO or the chief sales officer leaving the mass voicemail for everyone. And I tell everyone that my mother has a podcast. You just need to know the password on my voicemail to hear it. It's the same concept. It's simply a different format and perhaps a longer format. They can listen to it while they're driving. And now, certainly with so many cars being connected vehicles and having infotainment systems, it's easier than ever to hook your phone up to your car's audio system and listen while you're driving around. And to me, that's the thing that's powerful about internal podcasts. It doesn't require an employee to be chained to their desk and to listen from their laptop. There's now more apps than ever. There's abilities now to specifically make private podcast for your employees that still work on public apps. So the opportunities are more than ever, and it's a way to engage your employees in a different way. And again, very personal. Their eyes aren't glazing over as they're scrolling things. And if you're doing an internal podcast well, it doesn't seem like a corporate mouthpiece. It should seem like a series of stories. It should be something that's interesting and enticing. And if they're already loyal to the brand, if you've got them as an employee, you would hope that they're just as excited about the kind of content that you're creating.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Absolutely. And in the article that Mat put together, you talked about three different categories, right? So there's informing, educating, celebrating talent, three different ways to look at internal shows. Tell me a little bit more about that.
Scott Monty: So the informing, that's the standard stuff, it's updating. And I'll tell you when I was at Ford and this doesn't have anything to do with podcasts, again, this is a universal salvo. We invited and we hired actually the agency that was responsible for the Obama campaign's digital success in 2008. And we thought, well, what if we took a campaign like approach to business? We were trying to fight for the heart and soul of manufacturing, we were trying to tell the Ford story, separate ourselves from the other two Detroit auto makers. So we wanted a campaign like approach. And we asked them," What's your secret?" Thinking that it was going to be social, right? It wasn't. The secret was email. And they needed only three pieces of information to get started with an email relationship. And look, I think any good podcasting effort has a good base that is based on email relationships. You've got an email database, let them know that you've got a podcast by sending out a communication. So they needed three pieces of information, first name, email address, zip code. You may not even need that much, well you certainly don't need the zip code for an internal audience, just the first name and email address. And then you can personalize it. And then if you're using some kind of CRM, you'll be able to track who opened it, who didn't, what actions they took, et cetera. But further to that, the formula that they had in each communication was also a three pronged approach. It was, here's what you missed, here's what's coming up next, here's how you can get involved. And it was as simple as that. Now you think about your employees and keeping them informed as to what's going on in the company. Here's what you missed, here's all the things that are going on. Maybe here's something that's going on in the industry that you need to know about. Here's a broader issue that we all need to take stock of. Here's what's coming up next, right? Get them queued up for what to expect coming up and how they can actually start to take action. Here's how you can get involved, right? That's the third step. Recruit other employees, share it with your team, et cetera. But there's all sorts of ways to inform them about corporate goings on. Entertainment, pretty straightforward. And look, if you can create a show that not only informs, but entertains, that's really something. And then the third was?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Celebrate talent.
Scott Monty: Celebrate talent. Yeah. What a great way to call out, not just your executive team, they always get called out. But what about the janitor who did something amazing or the part time frontline worker who helped a customer. Tell their stories and let them tell their stories themselves, because there's no more powerful advocate for one's own stories than oneself.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And again, humanizing, right? It's humanizing something that has for so long, been internal comms and emails and post it and memos. Right? But when you can actually hear someone that you see as a peer or that you maybe never, ever would have met, actually tell their story and share their why and you hear the emotion and you hear the authenticity, that creates so much connection and that's culture building.
Scott Monty: It absolutely is. And look, when you hear someone else who is passionate about the company, passionate about the brand or the product or the service, that's infectious, that's infectious. And you can't create passion out of nothing. There's got to be something. To your point, it's culture. And if you're doing it well, it's infectious and it builds beyond the individual and gets other people on board as well.
Lindsay Tjepkema: What thoughts do you have for marketers who are listening, who may work at really, really large brands like TD, or maybe work at much smaller ones? What wisdom would you impart upon them about internal podcasting in particular?
Scott Monty: Well, I think fundamentally, it has to fit with your overall business goals. To do a podcast, just for the sake of saying we've got a podcast, that's misguided. I can't tell you how many times I was sitting in my office in Ford, someone would come in and say," We need a Facebook page," or" We need a Twitter account." Why? What are you trying to accomplish? It's Simon Sinek's classic start with why. Why do you want to do this? What goal do you hope to achieve? That is the fundamental way to begin any assignment, not just podcasting, but any assignment. How does it map to business goals? How does it map to your overall marketing and communication strategy? Because without that, it's just going to be an expensive hobby. So if you can nail down why you want to do something and then begin to build, okay, well, what do we want to accomplish and how will we know if we succeeded? How do we want our audience to think, feel, or do something differently and how will we know that they actually took action? Those are the fundamentals to put in place before you start any kind of podcast.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And to your point, I couldn't agree more. Always, always, always, regardless of whether it's a podcast or anything else, you have to ask who's it for and why are you doing it? Because otherwise, at best, it's inefficient and at worst, it's a complete and total waste for everyone. Yeah. Well, before I let you go, any other advice that you would share with marketers in general, with what you've seen and how things have evolved over the last couple of years?
Scott Monty: And this is going to seem a little antithetical for the podcasting world: Silence is okay. It's okay not to always be on. It's okay not to have something to say about everything. Focus on quality. And I know we often talk about quality and quantity as opposite sides of the coin. It's not the case. I mean, you can do things very quickly and do them at high quality, no question. It's that old mantra, good, fast or cheap, pick two. But quality and pacing yourself, especially today when we are so overwhelmed with everything, not just messages and emails and podcasts and all of that. The world is overwhelming right now. Take some time to breathe as a person, as a professional, as a corporate entity. There's nothing wrong with taking a little time. And you'll note that even in my pacing here, when you think about your podcast, build in silence. I initially did, I did a business podcast a while back. I've let it pod fade because it just, for a variety of reasons, it was a lot for me to handle. And I just didn't feel the format was right. But it was an awful lot like an old Paul Harvey broadcast. And I know I'm really dating myself now. But if you want to look up Paul Harvey, he did News and Comment and then he did something called The Rest of the Story. But his pacing was such that he would give time for your brain to absorb what it is that he was saying. And it sounded maybe stilted sometimes, it sounded awkward. But building in those silences in your campaign, in your podcast, really important to make sure you have people's full attention.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Love that. So you're saying you don't listen to podcasts at 2X and run it through a system that removes all the" Ums" and" Ahs" and yeah.
Scott Monty: No. God, no.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Me neither. Me neither. Nope. Well, thank you so much. Great advice. Thank you for sharing it here and thank you for being a part of the Casted podcast.
Scott Monty: It's my pleasure, Lindsay. Thank you for having me on.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's our show. Thanks for listening. For more from today's guest, visit Casted. us to subscribe and to receive our show as it's published, along with other exclusive content each and every week.
Today’s conversation is with Scott Monty, Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Scott Monty Strategies. Scott Monty is a pioneer of internal podcasting and kicks off the first episode of our three-part miniseries about internal podcasting. Before starting Scott Monty Strategies, Scott Monty was the Global Head of Social Media & Digital Communications at Ford. Throughout his career, Scott has used podcasting and social media as a way of building relationships and creating communities with his audiences. For Scott, podcasting is one of the most intimate mediums out there today. He believes that podcasting is a great way to directly communicate with listeners or employees and create an individualized experience for each person. Scott uses internal podcasts to engage his employees, create passion, and build loyalty within the company Hear about how to build relationships with podcasts and use internal podcasting as a tool to connect with your employees in today's conversation.