How Conga Crafted Narrative-Driven Case Studies Through Their Podcast, "Agents of Change”

July 20, 2020

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Jenny Coppola

Jenny Coppola

Creative


In the B2B marketing space, case studies are arguably one of the most commodified categories of content. Typically available as a web page and a PDF, they follow a formula as classic as their file format — status quo, problem, solution, results. Though case studies can be a great tool to showcase success and enable sales teams, the predictable format can make it hard to delight even the most engaged prospects.

That’s why Conga, a tech company focused on digital transformation, decided to flip this tried-and-true marketing tactic on its head and explore a totally unique approach — tell their customers’ stories through a podcast and, more importantly, build an audience for their brand.

Image courtesy of Conga.

Read on to learn how Stephanie Capouch, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing at Conga, launched the company’s customer-centric podcast Agents of Change.

The inspiration for Agents of Change

When Capouch joined Conga in February 2019, two of the marketing team’s top priorities were to tell their customers’ stories in a refreshing way and to launch a podcast. And with a base of 10,000 loyal, passionate customers that they could tap into, the team said, “Why not do both?”

However, Capouch didn’t want to launch yet another podcast about how executives and VPs were driving change at their companies. The business podcast space was already bursting at the seams with that narrative. Instead, Conga wanted to feature the people on the front lines — the unsung heroes doing the real work at their companies — and really dig into their process.

“Conga wanted to feature the people on the front lines — the unsung heroes doing the real work at their companies — and really dig into their process.”

“When you think about Conga, documents and business processes are typically what come to mind. But, in reality, we’re all about digital transformation, which is a common buzzword that’s actually really hard to execute. At most businesses, execs and VPs hand off their ideas to the people that are doing the day-to-day work to actually drive transformation,” says Capouch. “And in the moment, it might not seem like they’re transforming their company, but that’s really what they’re doing. Taking a business process like signing a piece of paper, mailing it back to a customer, and moving it all online — that’s digital transformation for so many companies.”

Green-lighting the show

To Conga’s leadership team, Agents of Change was another way to showcase customer stories, so Capouch didn’t have a hard time selling the show. They essentially had the green light from the get-go.

“When the leadership team heard the idea of us finding another way to tell customer stories, they were just like, ‘Yep, do it. Sounds great,’” Capouch says. “We were really lucky that there wasn’t a lot of pushback. These were the type of stories that the organization had wanted us to tell more of.”

But even though Conga was technically telling customer stories through the podcast, they decided to keep the mentions of their product to a minimum. Because, ultimately, the stories were about their customers, not Conga.

“We’re not asking our customers specifically about Conga. We’re purposely taking a step back to see their business and impact holistically,” says Capouch. “The role Conga plays may come up, but that’s not our end goal. It’s really about them, the work that they’re doing, and their story.”

Image courtesy of Conga.

Conga’s creative process

After getting the green light for Agents of Change, Conga tapped Share Your Genius, a podcasting agency, to help them develop a thorough creative process for the show.

The first step was to analyze the trends that affected their customers and identify the pain points they struggled with. From there, the team extracted stories and themes to shape the narratives.

Then, they assigned a theme to their season and interviewed customers whose culture and processes aligned with the concept. Surprisingly, though, when Conga conducted these interviews, they didn’t assign a specific topic to each interview or episode. Instead, they let each guest tell their full story and figure out how to fit it into the mold of the season.

“We don’t look at each interview as an episode topic. We look at it holistically for the season. It’s really about hearing our guest’s story and then building around it.”

“We don’t look at each interview as an episode topic. We look at it holistically for the season. It’s really about hearing our guest’s story and then building around it.”

The team’s challenges and how they overcame them

At first glance, Conga’s meticulous creative process might seem like one void of any major issues. But when they first started conducting interviews with their guests, they realized recording high-quality audio was a pressing problem that they needed to overcome fast.

“When we first got started, we had to really work through where we were going to record and how we were going to record it. Our host is based in New York, so he does a lot of the recording from home,” says Capouch. “So, we had to figure out how to set up a space at home that allows for crisp recording. After we learned what microphones and audit gear were the best for podcasting, we then helped our guests understand what kind of room they should be in and what should be around them.”

Conga happily shared their lessons learned and best practices with podcast guests to ensure a high-quality and consistent listening experience and to lighten the load from a post-production perspective — a win/win.

Sharing success stories

Let’s look at a short breakdown of how a typical episode is structured. In the fifth episode of season one, host Jason Gabbard spoke with Carl Harkness, a Contracts Administrator at Nimbus Therapeutics, a company that uses advanced technologies to design breakthrough medicines and transform drug development.

Image courtesy of Conga.

Jason sets the stage for what the show is about — how people in headlines aren’t often the people who are actually in the trenches. In each episode, they share stories of those who are actually behind the scenes solving problems and uncovering important issues at their businesses.

In Carl’s case, we hear more about his unique journey from a music major in college to a contract wizard who led a project to overhaul the entire contract management process at his company, Nimbus.

As the episode progresses, Carl dives into the specific issues he faced when implementing change across his organization. How Nimbus uses Conga for contract management comes up rather naturally throughout the conversation.

Shaping the narrative after letting guests tell their full story works well because each episode sounds more conversational and authentic. Your audio can also easily be edited down to maintain a consistent length across episodes.

How Agents of Change impacted Conga

Agents of Change has not only impacted the people outside of their company, but it has also impacted the teams within. The podcast has inspired the entire marketing team to embrace a laser-focus on customers, transforming how they approach all of their marketing initiatives.

“The podcast has inspired the entire marketing team to embrace a laser-focus on customers, transforming how they approach all of their marketing initiatives.”

“What’s really cool about Agents of Change is that it started as a podcast, but it has evolved into how we talk about our customers in our other brand campaigns and our signage at events,” says Capouch. “It applies to everything that we’re doing now."

Creating your brand’s change agent

Agents of Change has fittingly served as Conga’s change agent throughout its shelf life, inspiring their marketing team to adopt a customer-centric mentality and even create a video series version of the show. But all of this change only happened because they told stories about their customers, not themselves.

Jenny Coppola

Jenny Coppola

Creative

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