Behind-the-Scenes with Banana Republic: The Making of a goop Podcast Series

by Morgan Brasfield

Banana Republic

October 29, 2019

In a corner office on the 8th floor of Gap Inc.’s headquarters, Banana Republic’s marketing team sat huddled in a pow-wow.  The team was bouncing around ideas on how to reach a new audience, a task far from simple when trying to determine a brand partner whose vision and values complimented their own.

“We wanted to find publishers or media partners that we could build a relationship with over time in order to build continuity with new audiences.”

The ultimate goal was a hearty multi-quarter media deal involving custom content and a sponsored podcast series.  Gwyneth Paltrow’s modern lifestyle brand, goop, became a top contender, in part due to their growing footprint in the podcast space.

Producing audio content may not seem like the most intuitive marketing approach for an apparel brand that relies on the power of inspirational visuals, but podcast listening is on the rise, particularly among millennials. According to a recent study, millennials are the biggest audio generation yet and podcasts now represent 10% of what they listen to. 

“This growing trend was not something we could ignore, and goop was the best partner to co-create content for our target audience in a culturally relevant way.”

Not only did goop’s audience align with Banana Republic’s demographics in terms of target age and geography, their brand purpose and values were an authentic fit for a rich content collaboration.

Together, Banana Republic and goop have created a custom “shop-able” article,  a curated selection of Banana Republic items available on goop.com, presence at goop’s upcoming holiday pop-up shops, and perhaps most notably, an eight-part podcast series, Women on Top, which would mark the first-time Goop worked with an outside partner on a custom co-branded program. The Women on Top series has received almost one million downloads to date.

The podcast series features notable guests all with unique backgrounds, ranging from motivational speaker Marie Forleo, to actor/producer Kerry Washington and activist Shannon Watts—the founder of Moms Demand Action.

Today, we talk to David Petzold, Brand Media Marketing Manager at Banana Republic, who was instrumental in the development of the partnership.  David takes us behind the scenes, sharing the process, what surprised him most and, of course, his favorite episode.

Very first question, why goop?
“We’ve always loved goop as a brand, particularly what they stand for in their values which are very aligned with our own.  What started as Gwyneth’s newsletter ended up becoming an amazing lifestyle brand where women of all ages find inspiration and insight to simplify, empower and enrich their lives.  All of these reasons tie really nicely back to our brand DNA of being curious, connected and out in the world.  Banana Republic was started by two California creatives, fueled by their explorer spirits, and now our brand is anchored in the belief that what you wear should open a world of possibilities for a life with no boundaries. The opportunity to create a program showcasing women who are breaking boundaries felt perfect to us.”

What was the collaboration like with goop?
“The goop team has been an amazing partner to work with on a custom program, especially at this scale.  They’ve been receptive to our ideas and feedback, but they also have such a strong brand point of view, so the partnership has been a true collaboration. Researching and aligning on the guests for each episode was my favorite part of the partnership.  It was no surprise that we all gravitated to strong, disruptive and passionate women.”

What surprised you the most about working with goop?
I was personally surprised at how involved Gwyneth Paltrow has been in our partnership plans.  She approved the series guests, the product we’ll sell on goop.com, and even the styling for our custom ‘View from the Top’ article. This speaks volumes about her vision and leadership as a businesswoman.”

What makes this project different compared to some of the others you’ve worked on in the past?
“This was a stretch project for everyone involved because It required coordination across design, merchandising and inventory to achieve a common goal.  Our cross functional team members rallied to deliver some incredible results under a very fast timeline. Ultimately, this partnership will change perceptions of our brand with a younger audience.”

What’s your favorite episode from Women on Top?
“My favorite was the Sarah Paulson episode on why you want to feel fear.  I’m a huge Sarah Paulson fan and I’m watching American Horror Story right now! In Sarah’s podcast episode, she talked about how she struggled in her 20’s when she was trying to start her acting career.  After feeling at the mercy of other people’s opinions, and like she was never going to have a break though opportunity, Sarah took control of her own fears and focused on knowing her own true self.  Fear became her motivator! In fact, she claims that she wants to be afraid she won’t be able to do something because that pushes her to succeed. I think facing, and overcoming, your fears is a powerful message for everyone out there.”

What’s next for Banana Republic’s partnership with goop?
"Right now, the design team at Banana Republic and the fashion editors at goop are working on a five-piece capsule collection that will launch in February on goop.com and BananaRepublic.com.  This product collaboration is another innovation in our partnership.  We couldn’t be more excited!"

Thank you, David!  For the full list of episodes from Women on Top, click here.

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