Ever feel like everyone in Seattle has a podcast?
This week Nordstrom joined the fray with its first episode of The Nordy Pod, a series recorded on the sixth floor of the retail giant’s downtown corporate offices—appropriate for a podcast aimed at providing a behind-the-scenes look (listen?) at the 120-year-old company and the fashion industry at large.
It’s far from the first brand-centric podcast. Trader Joe’s customers may be familiar with Inside Trader Joe’s (at least from the parking garage advertisements). Companies from Slack to McDonald’s have gotten in on the phenomenon. “A big part of what makes brands successful is the fact that they've got personal connections to their customers,” says host Pete Nordstrom. “By giving people more insight into who we are, what we do, and how we do it, we can enhance that relationship.”
The numbers seem to back that up. A 2019 BBC study shows branded podcasts lift listener awareness of the company by 89 percent and purchase intent by 14 percent. And listeners don't skip branded content like they skip ads: That same year, McDonalds's The Sauce cracked iTunes podcast chart top 100.
But The Nordy Pod's not just selling designer coats and Jeffrey Campbell shoes. Pete plays a pretty endearing host. He admits how awkward he feels to have a table full of microphones mediating his chat with fashion magnate Mickey Drexler, and jokes about the strange building setup that connects corporate offices directly to the lingerie department.
And he asks interesting questions, coaxing Drexler to explain what he looks for in an applicant and why he thinks companies should go back to IRL work ASAP. Future guests include other Nordstroms (“Yes, I’m actually one of them,” Pete explains early in episode one), as well as Megan Jasper, CEO of Seattle record label Sub Pop. “The Nordy Pod isn’t necessarily intended to be about Seattle for Seattle, but this is our home,” Pete says.
He sees Nordstrom customers and those with direct Nordstrom connections as his target audience, which makes sense: It’s a unique, lightly edited look at the polished, customer-first department store that’s garnered a hugely loyal local following. Those trying to break into a fashion career will also find value in the candid insights from longtime industry players (Pete’s a fourth-generation Nordstrom, for God’s sake). Those who aren’t already brand enthusiasts probably won’t fangirl over a real-life Nordstrom talking to a top Nordstrom stylist, but hey—no podcast is for everyone.
Pete Nordstrom says it best: The Nordy Pod is “interesting, it’s funny, and we don’t always nail it." If you’ve ever wondered what happens in Nordstrom’s hallowed (and, as the first episode reveals, surprisingly echo-y) halls, press play.