Podcasts for Mar-Comm Minds: 8-ish Recommendations

As pandemic-induced lockdowns have come and gone, we at The Agency at Sikich found that podcasts increased their presence in our lives, which a recent report by Edison Research confirmed.

According to the report, approximately 80 million Americans, a full 28 percent of the U.S. population ages 12 and older, are now weekly podcast listeners. This marks a 17 percent increase over early 2020. It’s clear we’re not the only ones listening to podcasts to keep our minds engaged and curious.

Below, we share our team’s top podcast recommendations for people in the marketing and communications space who want to stretch and inform their thinking—and hopefully, inspire new, creative ideas.

1. How I Built This.

Guy Raz interviews the founders behind some of the world’s most successful companies. He delves into each brands’ origin stories to learn about eventual business plans and marketing ideas, including what worked for them—and, often more tellingly, what did not work. Learning about these brands’ challenges and triumphs provides inspiration for our own creativity and problem-solving efforts.

2. The Knowledge Project.

The host presents deep and substantive conversations in a world full of “hacks” and “quick tips.” While many podcasts try to be consumable and quick-hitting, this series doubles down on depth. The discussions often stretch on for over an hour, but they’re consistently engaging and edifying. The show is full of business lessons, life lessons, interesting stories and more.

3. How to be Awesome at Your Job.

On the other hand, sometimes you do need those tools, hacks and quick tips—as long as they’re backed up by proven strategies. This podcast features interviews with top business and academic leaders for performance-boosting insights that equip you to be, yes, awesome at your job.

4. On the Media.

Especially helpful for those of us who are students of the media, this NPR show dissects the news of the week. The hosts dig deep into how the media influences the world around us—from politics and government, to business, education and beyond.

5. Design Matters.

If design is your skillset—or if you’re simply interested in the creative minds who drive contemporary culture—Debbie Millman’s 16-year-old show provides introductions to new-to-you artists and designers who may inform and inspire future projects.

6. Working it Out.

Mike Birbiglia’s two decades in standup comedy morphed into a podcast at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past year, he has set up weekly conversations with comedians and other creatives to “work out” the original, untested material that they would traditionally try in front of a live audience for instant feedback. Birbiglia’s discussions provide a glimpse into the raw process of bringing a creative idea to life—with plenty of humor, of course.

7. Dare to Lead.

Brené Brown sums up the purpose of her show as a way to communicate that: “Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there and lean into courage. The world is desperate for braver leaders. It’s time for all of us to step up.” No matter our job title or responsibility, we can all benefit from learning how to be braver, more empathetic leaders in our work and personal lives.

a. Unlocking Us.

Call this podcast recommendation “7A.” Another Brené Brown favorite focuses more on the personal life aspect of self-awareness. Her conversations with leaders of all stripes encourage listeners to “live, love, parent and lead with more courage and heart.”

8. On Purpose.

Host Jay Shetty aims “to make wisdom go viral.” Conversation topics range from time-management to self-forgiveness, from the importance of rest to applying the discipline of a Navy SEAL. In conversations with friends from around the globe, Shetty allows the best insights to bubble to the top for simple application in our daily lives.

Honorable mentions go out to Revisionist History, Armchair Expert and We Can Do Hard Things.

Do you recommend any other podcasts to inspire creative ideas for marketing folks? Let us know and get in touch with a marketing and communications expert to talk through your ideas, challenges and more.

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