Allbirds is hosting a SiriusXM radio show on how to build sustainability-focused businesses.
Each episode of the hour-long monthly show, “Purpose Built,” will be a deep dive into a founder’s story of how they built a socially and environmentally conscious brand, hosted by Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwillinger. The show debuts Tuesday at noon eastern.
Zwillinger said the focus is drawing attention to brands that can scale in an environmentally sustainable way.
“The side effect of helping our brand is fine, but the goal here is to showcase entrepreneurs who are doing something that I think is the way of the future — that’s best summarized as conscious capitalism,” said Zwillinger. “If we can showcase entrepreneurs who are making money and also doing something great for the world, that’s an inspirational source for lots of other people.”
The first episode will feature an interview with Allbirds co-founders Tim Brown and Zwillinger, led by SiriusXM host Michael Smerconish, but others will focus on new brands across a range of industries, including healthcare and gene therapy, beauty, food and charitable giving. Other guests that will appear on the show include Nick Leschly, CEO of Bluebird Bio; Yael Aflalo, founder and CEO of Reformation; Gregg Renfrew, CEO of Beautycounter; Matt Pohlson, co-founder and Co-CEO of Omaze; and James Rogers, founder and CEO of Apeel. Each segment will address how to build a brand from scratch and how to build social and environmental purpose into day-to-day activities.
According to Zwillinger, the show may become a podcast in the future, but plans are still being developed. There are currently no plans to fold the content into marketing products for Allbirds.
While a branding play isn’t an overt objective, the follow-on effects of audio shows and podcasts go a long way in growing reach, said Chris Allieri, founder of branding and public affairs firm Mulberry & Astor. Allbirds joins the ranks of a range of DTC brands hosting audio programs, including Blue Apron and the Dollar Shave Club. Marketers are keen to capture the interest of an engaged audience: According to a recent study from podcast content company Midroll, a subsidiary of E.W. Scripps Company, podcast listeners make it through 90 percent of a given episode, with few skipping ads.
“I would say it’s neither customer acquisition nor retention; it’s more about broader brand-building,” said Allieri. “For a brand like Allbirds, it makes sense because they have a strong ethos but also have a following — it’s Hollywood elites and tech glitterati that are the earliest adopters.”
The challenge with branded content, said Allieri, is to keep it fresh and relevant among a sea of corporate podcasts. But having mission-aligned companies featured on the show lets others disseminate and contribute to Allbirds’ core mission.
“You get to tell a little bit of your own story by highlighting somebody else’s greatness,” said Zwillinger. “It’s a nice lens to tell a consistent story.”
Photo (from left to right): Joey Zwillinger, Tim Brown and Michael Smerconish (credit: Maro Hagopian)
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