Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Integrated Marketing Communication

First Advisor

Graham Bodie

Second Advisor

Brad Conaway

Third Advisor

Robert Magee

Relational Format



Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is a framework for understanding how brands can meet consumer needs. Practitioners of IMC use an array of communication channels like marketing, advertising, sales, and public relations to build a consistent brand narrative, but they also recognize that strong marketing potential rests in the hands of the consumer. With the rapid advancement in new technology, IMC professionals are constantly looking for new ways to reach their targeted audience.

By 2016 and 2017, IMC practitioners began to notice the lack of ad clutter in the podcasting platform, leading them to flock to this channel to promote their brands. Today, there are an estimated 850,000 podcasts which, in turn, has generated a new marketing platform– the branded podcast. Branded podcasts are episodic shows created by brands that discuss topics engaging to a particular target audience. While branded podcasts have the potential to elevate a brand, there is a lack of research on the platform overall. This thesis provides an initial exploration into the role and power that branded podcasts can hold in an IMC strategy. Through three case studies that cover three different companies that have successfully created branded podcasts, I have discovered that branded podcasts are being used not to see a direct return on investment, but instead, to generate brand awareness and loyalty. In addition, I found that branded podcasts can be used to humanize companies and build authentic relationships between the brand and the consumer, which in turn, solidifies brand affinity. Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned, however, was that regardless of how a brand approaches the creation of branded podcast, whether it is hiring an out-of-house production team or saving money by producing it in-house, companies must focus less on directly marketing their brand to their consumers and more on creating content their target audience enjoys consuming. As such, the branded podcast seems to fit nicely as an IMC strategy, one built not on the 4Ps of marketing but on the foundation that the consumer holds the key to a brand’s identity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Available for download on Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Included in

Marketing Commons