Back to Rebranding Podcasts

Two weeks ago I wrote a short post about rebranding the podcast in response to some Apple related news — I’d say my original jump was based on twisted information.  I typically try not to be a part of the rumor crowd — or pile onto their over inflated headlines — but  I did jump on the story of Apple getting all fired up over the use of the word “pod.”  I was particularly upset over the branding related to podcasts.  I was set straight and posted my update.

Last week I saw that Leo Laporte was giving a talk and was pushing the term “Netcasts” as a replacement.  Not a bad idea.  I also saw a response over at MacDailyNews that said something to the effect of, “its too late to do that.”  Wait a minute, we’ve been in this space for 24 months and it is too late?  I wonder what people would think about that? I gave a talk to a CIC group of student union directors today around podcasting and they were all really excited by the potential — but many of them were also asking if the iPod was required. Branding is a real issue as we try to pull people into the head of the tail. Should we think different about the branding around podcasting? Does anyone care?

4 thoughts on “Back to Rebranding Podcasts

  1. I think it’s a moot point — that ship has sailed. The word “podcast” will forever be etched into our collective psyche to describe digital audio clips. (As an aside, I think that along with misunderstanding the relationship between podcasts and iPods, I doubt that even a quarter of the average public understands the relationship between podcasting and broadcasting a feed as opposed to just posting a digital audio clip on a website.) In any case, I think it would take a new incarnation of today’s podcast that is radically different enough in order for it to be rebranded from the get go. As long as podcasts remain essentially digital audio clips delivered over the web, I think Apple wins this one.

    For fun, think about some of these other rebranding attempts that have wallowed:
    * Kleenex –> Facial Tissues
    * Prunes –> Dried Plums
    * Anaheim Angels –> Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    * Q-Tips –> Cotton Swabs
    * Walkman –> Personal Stereo

    Any others come to mind?

  2. Point taken … my concern is over someone claiming ownership (real or perceived) to an otherwise open opportunity. Too many of the people I talk to think the iPod is the main piece to the podcasting puzzle. That bothers me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPods and I don’t use anything other than it but at the end of the day that association going forward could be problematic.

  3. I think the word “podcasts” can live on without the threat of subverting the open nature of the space, as long as the community continues to educate newcomers that an iPod is not required. In fact, I would suspect that most folks understand that a podcast can be generated without an iPod — it’s just that they think an iPod is necessary to receive a podcast as well.

    And again, on that end I think the ship has sailed — even Napster has branded MP3 players with its own logo. Apple of course hasn’t done anything to dissociate the podcast concept from the iPod either — they are a multi-billion dollar business after all — so this may just be one of those areas where we, the consumer public, are at the mercy of the man.

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