How the Red Hot Chili Peppers Inspired a Podcasting Company
(And why your company needs a podcast for salespeople)
In my last article for Authority Magazine, I connected Michael Phelps’s ability to visualize success to business habits heightening sales performance. One source on this topic was Gary Reynolds, founder and CEO of FieldCast, which produces podcasts for large corporations needing to educate and motivate their sales executives. Long before the “branded content” trend, Gary was supporting emerging artists through corporate sponsorships, and producing unique consumer experiences. Now, he’s doing that for employees.
In this interview, Gary shares his personal story.
Can you tell us why you founded FieldCast?
I spent 40 years in corporate life. And during that time, I observed how critical it is to communicate with employees. While that seems obvious, many corporations don’t prioritize them. People who don’t feel connected to their company’s values move on, but the ones who do feel a sense of purpose tend to thrive.
Meanwhile, mobile devices have transformed society. Millennials and Gen Z don’t know life without their phones. Companies that want to motivate, educate and retain them need to change their ways. Emails, webinars, and sales meetings are not the most effective means to do that. But given that 48 million Americans listen podcasts weekly, it’s clear that podcasts are.
In our view, podcasts combine the convenience of a mobile device with good-old fashioned storytelling. Everyone loves a good story, even if it’s about career matters.
What are some of the stresses employees feel these days, and why do podcasts help to alleviate them?
Most people are probably suffering from sort of burn out…we are barraged with messages all day long. Whether it’s keeping up with friends on social media, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram feeds, or getting reminded of work deadlines on email, we’re all suffering from information overload. But many companies make it worse — they try to over-communicate and rise against the din, only to create more din, more stress, and more burnout. There’s got to be a better way.
Here again, podcasts can get business back to the core. Say your company has 1,000 salespeople working across the U.S. And say you’re the EVP of sales — there’s no way you can talk to all of your employees. Most will feel disconnected from you. But if you take the time to share your experiences, to educate them about the corporate culture, and use your voice to connect, then everyone wins.
Like Maya Angelou said, “Words mean more than what is set down in paper. It takes the human voice to give them deeper meaning.”
None of us achieves success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who helped get you where you are?
Yes, it’s the brand manager at Miller Beer back in 1979 who listened to my ideas. I had just returned to Milwaukee from California where I had tried to make it as a musician. My idea was to connect emerging artists with brands, thereby giving musicians a new source of income and brands a meaningful way to engage with their customers. No one was connecting brands to bands back then, and certainly not artists trying to get a break. GMR was born, and Miller was my first client.
Who were some of the artists you worked with?
One of our first bands was The Del Fuegos, an 80s garage band. They were playing 250 nights at bars in the Midwest. Miller would sponsor their shows. This gave the band a huge boost, and soon after they opened for one of Tom Petty’s tours.
As the bands started to take off, so did GMR. In 1995, Molson Ice held a Polar Beach Party in the Antarctic. Metallica, Hole — even the Red Hot Chili Peppers — performed for an audience of 500,000 people.
I once ran into singer Anthony Kiedes in the Quicksilver shop at St. Barts, and I wasn’t sure if he would remember me. He said, “Out of all the people and places I’ve played, you put me in the one place that I’m only going to play once in my life.”
How have you used success for the common good?
I grew up dirt poor and am now in a situation to give back. My family and I have supported Dress for Success, local food pantries and veterans. From people in desperate need of a hot meal to wounded soldiers, I’ve heard heartbreaking stories. It’s a duty and a pleasure to help them.
If you could create a world movement, what would it be?
I’d remind people that you don’t need money to change someone’s life. Every single day, you can go out and perform the simplest acts of kindness. You can say something positive to someone and make their day. One person’s good karma is another person’s joy. Just think if that happened in every village, every city, every country, between every world leader. Planet Earth would be a much healthier and happier place.
Sally-Ann O’Dowd’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., consultancy, Sally On Media, produces multimedia content for brands. As a contributing writer for Velocitize.com, Sally-Ann covers the intersection of business, advertising and technology. For luxury mag Think, she is a location scout and arts writer. She writes about health, science, art, wealth management, and Native American businesses for Lifestyle Media Group.