• D.J. Smith

Want to Understand Your Brand's Story? Try to Find It in Another Story. Here’s What I Mean…

Updated: Oct 18

How BBC’s Soul Music Podcast Can Help You Discover the Heart of your Brand Story

Fans cheer at Music Festival

What is it that draws us to a song? And how do we measure what it draws out of us? What moves us to tears or makes our hearts soar? It's not just the lyrics or melody, but something that speaks to us at a deeper level - a story set to music that taps into a higher frequency.


BBC 4's Soul Music podcast invites us to consider songs that impact us and can evoke deep emotions and memories, even years later.



What is BBC's Soul Music podcast?


BBC 4's Soul Music podcast celebrates the music that has this effect on us, and the personal stories behind each song. In this series, which spans nearly 15 years, the podcast explores songs from Beethoven to U2, and Purple Rain to Faure's Requiem. Each half-hour episode unlocks powerful personal stories of lives touched in profound ways. In each case, a song sustains through loss and grief, unlocks hope, or echoes a longing. Each program is interwoven with perspectives from the musician or songwriter themselves or in some cases a music historian who can add more context to those pieces of music which are less familiar.


What makes Soul Music so impactful?


In a world where we are constantly bombarded with music, it can be easy to forget the power of a truly well-crafted story set to music. With so much digital entertainment available at our fingertips, on our phones, and on streaming services, we may not take the time to sit down and listen. But Soul Music reminds us what good stories can be, and how music can transport us back to a moment in time or invoke powerful emotions.


Whether you are a music lover or not, we all need stories to help us understand our own. And this applies to brands & organizations as well.


Storylines to Explore


Here are some quick storylines you can dig into on the podcast:


  • Hear a weather researcher describe the very real, but rare phenomenon of Purple Rain


  • A famous Christmas carol was inspired by an ocean voyage and a book of poems purchased in a Halifax, Nova Scotia bookstore


  • A below-the-radar song helped a city unite against a divisive football club merger and helps a mother through her son's leukemia battle


  • A song from a hit Broadway musical helped inspire a mom to start a leprosy charity in her daughter's memory


These are just a few examples of the stories shared in Soul Music - stories that remind us of what is good, and beautiful, even if we hum the melody through tears.


So, how does Soul Music connect to your brand's story?


Whether you are a music lover or not, we all need stories to help us understand our own. And this applies to brands and organizations as well.


Here are 3 specific takeaways from the podcast that relate to branding & storytelling:


  1. Dig into the heart of your brand's story What is the heart of your brand's story? Make space on a regular basis to intentionally explore and recover your origins, mission and journey as an organization. Keep a record of your findings and invite your teams to build storytelling around it. Incorporate what you learn into employee onboarding, marketing, board books, and content.

  2. Cultivate curiosity into how your brand is having an impact What tools and systems do you have in place to measure the impact of your story beyond social media comments and customer service data?

  3. Create a process that listens to your own teams first How well do we listen to our own people - employees, donors, partners? Most organizations are geared to focus on the outside in (e.g., revenue, growth, market) and neglect looking inside out (mission, practices, identity, team insights).


Experiencing Soul Music for Yourself


Soul Music is a unique window into how music moves us. And maybe, it will inspire you to think differently about your favorite song or be curious enough to find one of your own. In the process, it can lead you to reconsider the impact of your brand out in the wild and discover new ways to engage others into it


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You can find BBC's Soul Music Podcast on BBC Sounds, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.


Below is the Soul Music 'Purple Rain' episode to get you started.



About D.J. D.J. Smith is the Founder & CEO of CiV Digital, a digital marketing agency in Kansas City and Washington, DC. When not partnering with organizations to clear the launch pad with meaningful ROI, greater clarity, and deeper connections, he is on the lookout for great stories (and songs!) to be curious about.

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