Founder of Mada
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Podcasts have absolutely exploded in popularity, offering entertainment and information to listeners while they're commuting, cooking dinner and even folding laundry. But what about when listeners are at work? Can companies leverage the podcast craze to more efficiently communicate with their employees?
Entrepreneur spoke with Jen Grogono, CEO of uStudio, a private podcast and video solutions company, about what the new age of employee communication could look like.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What internal communication challenges do you see companies facing today?
If you think about the current channels that companies use today to communicate with their employees, you've got a couple of issues happening all at once. You have the rise in remote workforces, meaning companies are learning to manage employees working from home, from different offices or even far-flung cities. Another issue: As consumers, we're now primed to listen and watch rather than to read and write — both for entertainment and learning purposes. These two things combined present a very big opportunity for companies to rethink how they communicate with their employees to drive engagement.
And what's your solution?
We built an enterprise-grade system that has all of the ease of use of the consumer applications for media that people are used to using. It’s very easy to adopt. No new habits to learn. No real training involved. But then behind the scenes, it has robust scalability and all of the capabilities that an enterprise would need, not the least of which is security and measurability. So you can understand who is consuming what content and when, which of course helps you drive your strategy. For example, one show might be corporate town hall meetings. There might be a show called “Weekly Sales Update.” And each series has episodes.
Did you face any difficulties convincing companies to adopt this new way of communication?
I think the biggest challenge in starting a business — in bringing something new to a new market — is always the timing and the pace as far as how long it'll take to catch on. We've been in business for a while, but it wasn't until we built this application experience that it became easier for us to drive adoption of our product. The market was ready because of the growth in Apple podcasting, Spotify and Netflix.
How did you know the market was ready for a solution like uStudio?
You need to always have one foot in the present commercial viability of your business and one foot in the future of your business. And that is a balancing act. No question. It's incredibly important to think about your product in terms of not over-investing in features before they are viable, or before you can charge the appropriate price for those features in the market.