Here’s a Signal Awards winner that’s the flagship branded company podcast for American Express Business, in what is almost but not quite a powerful podcast network.
First in terms of “The Next Chapter” specifically, each episode is a pairing of host Cardiff Garcia (who you may recognize from Planet Money and The Indicator) and a well-known business / psychology author talking about business growth and career. Great model from the host and guests, to the production that I think they handle in-house, to the thematic connection to how American Express supports small business.
Now let’s expand out to what American Express is trying to do in podcasting more generally. It’s a fantastic idea to establish a master brand “Business Class” and then have spinoff shows that cover different topics! Amex also has “Business Class: Build it Braver”, “Business Class: Office Hours”, and “Business Class: Money Minutes”. I love this - “business class” as a phrase has a number of relevant connotations for their target market, and each subshow is tackling a topic that is connected but distinct.
But a few things aren’t as cohesive as the promise of this strategy. Build it Braver last published in April 2022 after 12 episodes. Money Minutes had a two year run of 15 episodes ending in November 2022. Office Hours was the most prolific, on the same time window as Money Minutes and publishing 55 episodes overall. That’s okay to have different series running at different times and release schedules, but there’s no mention or transitions between them.
Then there’s “American Express Shaping Insights”, which is completely missing out on the Business Class branding, with the lack of coordination likely due to the work coming from a different division on the company.
Most maddeningly, if you try to find anything about podcasts on the American Express website, they just have a page for “The Next Chapter”, which has only 6 of the 14 episodes, and no information or navigation at all to the other shows in the overall series. The shows are great, and the branding concept has so much potential. It’s just missing some critical connective pieces to rank for me among the strongest branded company podcast networks.