OK Commuter

OK Commuter

According to a recent study from the TUC, people are now spending more time than ever commuting to work. The door-to-door slog takes an average of 59 minutes which, all totted up, totals 221 hours a year.

That’s a lot of dead time. 

This might be a miserable realisation for anyone who has to make the journey every day, but it should also be recognised for what it is – a huge opportunity for B2B marketers.

Why? Well, with every brand jostling for a sliver of its audiences attention, 59 minutes that need filling every day presents a plum opportunity to engage, entertain and educate potential new customers, especially as they are in ‘business mode’ and open to ideas.

The obvious question, then is: what should you do? Here are five content suggestions for the daily business traveller who’s thirsty for entertainment.

1. A branded podcast series.

Podcasts have fast become the commuters’ favourite thing to listen to on their travels to and from work. And while the more entertainment-focused podcasts like Serial, Adam Buxton and The High Low are dominating the charts, business podcasts are hot on their heels. 46% of people now listen to brand-funded podcasts, and B2B brands should be thinking about how to create their own series to get a piece of the podcast action.

Whether it’s weekly insights with industry thought leaders (like ‘Somehow Inevitable’ from Earnest Labs) bringing technology to life through stories, (like ‘Life After’ from GE and ‘Stories from the Frictionless Future’ from Mastercard) or more magazine-style podcasts (like ‘Business Beyond Limits’ from Vodafone) businesses can and should create podcast content that is every bit as entertaining as ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’.

2. A monthly mag.

If you think magazines are dead, think again. While the mainstream printed mag business may be in decline, with some of the most well-known titles disappearing from the shelves, new independent titles made for more niche audiences (like Courier) are filling the gap.

There is a lot of talk at the moment about the value of brands becoming broadcasters, and the same argument can be applied to them acting more like publishers. Across many industries within the B2B space there is a real chance for brands to create beautiful, informative and entertaining magazines that every commuter should want to be seen reading and shake up the old guard – why shouldn’t it be you?

3. A business influencer programme.

Look around you on any commute and the majority of people will be entertaining themselves simply by scrolling on their phone. Whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or TikTok, social content is the easy win for getting in front of the commuter who doesn’t want to think too hard.

But how do you catch their attention amidst all the noise? One of the best ways, and a huge opportunity for B2B marketers, is to use business influencers to co-create and share thoughts and insights from your brand. So, whether you work in retail and you’re getting Mary Portas to share your insights or you’re a construction business partnering with a social brand like ‘On the tools’ to make entertaining videos, there are many ways to use influencers to get you noticed.

4. A simple, entertaining game.

Casual gaming is now one of the most popular mobile activities for commuters. 32 million people in the UK now play games and 71% of consumers prefer entertainment as a way for brands to connect with them.

But not enough brands are making the most of this opportunity. Creating a simple game that can be played on someone’s phone on the way to work is a great way of educating your audience on a complex issue, showing you’re a helpful brand and entertaining your audience all at the same time. And if you are partnering with the right games developer, who knows, you could create something as good as some of these examples.

5. A book.

The good old-fashioned paperback. Once threatened by Bezos’ dream of everyone reading on a Kindle, books have stayed strong as a stalwart of the commuter entertainment.

So, forget your series of white papers. Start writing a book. And it doesn’t need to be a hardcore business book – a lot like the podcast suggestions it can be fictional storytelling, a series of interviews or just an entertaining peek into the way businesses or industries run (check out Whaling for beginners by Axelos for a good example). Hey, we even gave it a go ourselves when we wrote ‘The Nod’ – the story of our trip around the UK to meet small business owners (let me know if you’d like us to post you a copy).

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Advertising guru Faris Yakob talks a lot about the currency of attention, and how brands need to think hard about how they can command that attention from their audience. I say, what better place to start than with those who have an hour of it a day that needs filling.

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[Header photo by Jordan Merrick on Unsplash]