Podcasts have boomed within pop culture over the last decade, with both beauty and fashion brands expanding into the arena around 2018. But podcasts can take varying shapes and serve different purposes, from engaging the masses to reaching internal employees.
Positioned as an education and training podcast, Benefit Cosmetics’ “BenefitLife” gives listeners an inside look at the brand, including how Benefit came to life and how it’s driving product innovation. It also spotlights initiatives and projects within the Benefit universe. Jill Page Collister, Benefit svp of global education and development, is the host of the monthly “BenefitLife podcast” that began in August 2019. As a mostly employee-facing podcast, BenefitLife doubles as a morale booster and a way for employees to feel more connected to their employer. Other brands that have tackled their own internal podcasts include New Avon Inc. in 2018, plus now-defunct Barneys New York had a short-lived version between 2018 and 2019. So far, BenefitLife episodes have been downloaded a total of 25,000 times since launch, said Collister.
BenefitLife began in 2019 when Collister sought to revamp Benefit’s virtual sales meetings, which consisted of business updates for the 300-person field team. At the time, she found them cumbersome and felt they could be more engaging and fun. BenefitLife is advertised internally, including in an employee email blast that teases guest speakers and topics.
“As an educator, I know firsthand that people work for people. There was an opportunity to reshape this business meeting into a podcast,” said Collister. “We could lean into the strategy of delivering business ideas and key topics, but also paint a picture of who Benefit employees are.”
The podcast is broken down into four sections: an intro, followed by segments called “Breaking the Rules With Wit and Wisdom,” “Problem Solve with Courage and Creativity” and “Make a Real Connections.” The Wit and Wisdom section includes interviews with Benefit employees, while Courage and Creativity announces and reviews current product launches and shares makeup tips. Real Connections tells listeners personal stories about Benefit employees. More recently, BenefitLife began inviting speakers from outside the Benefit employee base. In its August episode, BenefitLife invited Erin Badillo, the executive director for non-profit Dress for Success. In August, Benefit donated a portion of sales from its brow wax services to the non-profit.
“Having Erin Badillo on was great, because [employees] can identify with and understand what Dress for Success does, and how [they as employees] contribute to helping empower young women and girls,” said Collister. “We try to entertain with this podcast and have fun with it. When you think of that [field team member] who is listening and connecting with Benefit as a brand because of the people [on the podcast], it does a lot for morale.”
Collister first managed BenefitLife as a two-person production team, but has since brought in Benefit Cosmetics regional education managers Jessica Owens and LeAnne Stack to help with hosting. Collister said she has greater ambitions to expand the scope of BenefitLife to include other global markets outside the U.S.; Benefit is sold in 54 countries.
“What I would love to do is have more of a global impact — playing with languages and having people on from all over the globe. We’ve started to dip our toe in that a little bit,” said Collister.