Changing perceptions. Engaging new audiences.
Security is typically perceived as reactionary - an after thought or obligation. The face of security is often a guard with a collection of keys, a flash light and a radio. They are someone that greets patrons, deters riffraff and tends to alarms. It's a simple role that isn't overly complicated and doesn't add much value. This perception is wrong.
In actuality, security programs are carefully designed and assess key assets, pertinent threats, and future challenges, while considering an organization's tolerance towards risk. With the right infrastructure, a security department can harness data they’re responsible for and provide value to other parts of an organization. Security has become more predictive than reactionary and the creative applications for the data they generate is almost limitless.
We created Secure or Not to help change these perceptions.
Future forward topics equal to the medium.
Podcasts are nothing new. Since 2003 self proclaimed journalists have been creating recorded radio content that informs and entertains. The game really changed when Apple provided support on its iTunes platform and iPhone. Spotify and other streaming services have further validated the medium as a low-cost opportunity to reach audiences on the fringe of a target market with affiliated interests. According to Edison Research, podcasts reach over 100mn American's every month and 69% of listeners agree that podcasts make them aware of new products or services. However, with popularity comes competition. A podcast predicated on the idea that security was interesting had never been done before. A thoughtful strategy and process that presented fresh insights while remaining credible was key.
G4S decided to pursue a podcast in an effort to attract younger audiences familiar with the platform with a casual interest in security and technology. Low barriers to entry were attractive as well as the concept of furthering the message of a "trusted advisor" - a brand position where G4S takes on the role of a customer empowering consultant that assesses a customer's risks and assets and builds a holistic security program that combines several products to to provide security while achieving efficiency and discovering value. A key KPI of the show was to drive traffic to an agnostic thought-leadership website known as SecurityRiskIQ.com. This site later became the "G4S Academy" where listeners could access additional thought leadership content such as guides and webinars for free.
The show's cornerstone would be a host with a reputable personal brand in both the security and technology space. It had to be someone who brought youth but still had experience and could challenge expert guests in discussion. Following a Top 20 Under 40 nomination, Joe Young emerged as the ideal candidate. At the time of inception, Joe held the title of Senior Vice President of Innovation at G4S and was used to challenging perceptions. Supporting Joe would be myself and Landon Bailey, another young professional from G4S with experience in radio.
The tone of the show would be casual and entertaining, following an interview and discussion format. Hosts would welcome an expert guest to discuss and challenge a prevalent topic that neighbored on future-forward concepts in security and technology. The team would question why they exist and how they influence our daily behavior, hoping to educate and uncover value in security the audience was not aware of. I would prepare a "show run-down" every episode, gathering information on the guest's background and expertise as well as the topic we'd discuss. While our hope was the show would feel unscripted and natural, a show run-down gave it structure and provided the team canned transitions to fall back on.
Making it happen. Generating results.
With the hosts and strategy set, we needed recording software that was cloud based and a hosting platform to distribute the show to various RSS/XLM podcatchers such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts etc. With Landon and myself in Toronto, Joe in Chicago and our guests across the world, we needed to do all of this remotely, let alone during a pandemic. After research and testing we chose Squadcast to record our show. The online software allowed us to meet in a typical video conference fashion and hit the record button, saving each of our voices as separate audio files directly to the cloud. This had multiple benefits. The first was if one of us lost connection the entire recording would not be ruined. Second, if the hosts or guest experienced distracting background noise while the other was talking, we could easily edit it out by dropping the volume level of that channel in the edit. Lastly, Squadcast also enabled us to download the recordings in an uncompressed WAV format superior to MP3.
After recording an episode the real work begins. I would edit and cut the show in Adobe Audition, build album covers and various social imagery in Photoshop, InDesign and create waveform animations in After Affects. These animations would morph into short video clips for social media promotion. Once the show was finalized and approved, it would be uploaded to Buzzsprout, a hosting platform that would push the episode to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts etc where listeners could access it. I would also create an episode page and embed the player on the G4S Academy website via an iframe. Buzzsprout centralized all listener data no matter the platform enabling us to measure popularity and impact.
At the time of writing, the Secure or Not show had generated engagement from 4,000+ listeners in over 80 countries and proved to be some of the most engaging content on G4S's social media channels. Pages hosting the podcast on the G4S Academy website ranked among the highest ave. time on page and had some of the lowest % exit. Users entering the site as a result of a show were twice as likely to interact with another piece of content. Groups in the 18-24 and 25-34 age demographic proved to be the largest audience set. These groups showed an affinity for media, entertainment and technology.