Press commentary on the wave of consumer product companies currently trying their hand at branded editorial content. Read the full article here.

On Outdoor Voices’ new editorial venture:

In a similar vein, Outdoor Voices just launched its new editorial platform, the Recreationalist (which does not include a podcast). Though the media differs for both, the strategy is similar: create a cohesive network for content to push to customers to garner community engagement. Explained Richie Siegel, founder of the retail consultancy Loose Threads, brands are realizing they can better own their content distribution channels. A few years ago, most were just advertising on podcasts; “Now you see brands like the Guccis and the Staples waking and saying ‘why can’t we do this?’”

On the challenge to establish a lasting editorial venture:

Though they’ve been around for year, audio programming still remains in the experimental stages. “It’s a new tool in the marketing mix,” said Siegel, “there aren’t a ton of great examples of [branded podcasts] working over time.” Instead, many announce a launch and then fade some months or years later. What many brand don’t realize, he said, is podcast production is a lot of work; “It takes a ton of upkeep and it requires consistent, good ideas.” He went on, “that, often, is not going to be the strong suit of a lot of these companies.”

For Staples — and other big retailers looking into the medium — it’s unclear if the podcasting push will work. “Instead of focusing on marketing its existing assets — which is like putting lipstick on a pig — this time and money would be better used closing underperforming stores, opening new ones and tightening up the product assortment, especially if the retailer wants to go after younger customers and make the case to shop with Staples over Amazon,” wrote brand consultancy Loose Threads in a research note.

For big brands, the opportunity is in creating a relatable and engaging voice people want to tune into. If they can’t, the podcasts will likely see fates of past brand failures.

“A lot of these brands,” said Siegel, “will find out they should just do the sponsored stuff. There are already so many podcasts out there.”