The Rise of Shameless Media

How Australia’s Most Adored Pop Culture Podcast Turned Into An International Media Phenomenon.

Shameless Media is a youth media company based in Melbourne, Australia. With over 75 million podcast downloads and more than 1.1 million social media followers, just how did they garner the kind of cult following that leaves their listeners yearning for every episode? Like all good stories, ours starts with ambition as it so often does in the Entertainment industry. 

Founded by Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald, Shameless Media launched their celebrity and pop culture podcast, Shameless, on the 12th of March 2018, with their first episode titled ‘Fashion week is real life Instagram’. But let’s rewind a little bit. 

Michelle and Zara met at Mamamia during their first month as young writers. When answering the how-did-you-meet-question, they told The Squiz: “For some strange reason, we were always scheduled on the same whacky shifts together, often in the office when no one else was. It was during these shifts we’d get talking and debating and brainstorming, and things just clicked. Our ideas bounced well off each other and our conversations were always infused with honesty. It worked then and it works now. We’ve never looked back.”

A senior member of the Podcast team at Mamamia gave the duo an opportunity to share their “sophisticated banter” with listeners in the form of “Bach Chat’ – ten-minute podcast slots, twice per week. The project affirmed their natural chemistry and adoration of raw, authentic conversions. “There’s something else here.” Zara told Michelle. 

The pair pitched additional podcast ideas to Mamamia. They wanted to explore celebrity influence and the pop culture paradigm in an intellectual way, and so Shameless was born; A pop culture podcast for “smart women who love dumb stuff”. 

The pitch for Shameless was initially accepted and then rejected, so the two took to creating it themselves in addition to their full time jobs. And for a while, they did both. But after just ten weeks, they decided to commit themselves completely and leave Mamamia to pursue Shameless full time. This would become the decision that starts an empire.

But just how have they reached their unrivalled level of success?

Whilst their natural wit, chemistry and humour plays a significant role in their success, like any great brand, there’s more to it than that. So, let’s delve into the key components of Shameless Media’s brand positioning and messaging strategy.

They know who their listeners are
Relatability, approachability, likability. If they’re the holy trio when it comes to successful podcasting then Shameless Media takes us to church. 

From the very beginning, Zara and Michelle knew who they were speaking to, and how to speak to them. They have a generational edge that allows them to speak to their listeners in a way that others cannot. They’re forever on the pulse. They’re smart whilst always being relatable. They’re witty without ever being cruel. They’re the absolute antidote to pretentiousness and it makes me, and one million others adore them. 

Their brand voice is uniquely their own
As a brand consultant, my instinct is to say that their tone of voice is best described as conversational. But it’s so much more than that. 

Shameless Media have always had an incredible talent at speaking to their listeners like they’re chatting to their friends. Or more than that, they have an uncanny ability to speak with each other so organically that, as a listener, it feels like you’re hanging out with your friends, listening to them go back and forth, occasionally contributing to the conversation by laughing along. They intimately understand their listeners and each of their customer personas.   

They’ve mastered social media 
From Instagram stories that feel like you’re catching up with old mates to Twitter threads that spark viral conversations, it’s fair to say that Shameless understands the power of each platform and how to leverage them all effectively. 

They’ve built a community where their followers feel like they’re part of something. A group chat with members from all around the world. A real-time conversation about pop culture discourse. A space where sometimes mid-memes are always great content and dialogue is perpetually open when it comes to Taylor Swift, Kylie Jenner and the internet’s latest favourite TV show.

In a world cluttered with media noise, Shameless Media is a testament to the fact that a clear brand positioning and messaging strategy, and commitment to creating exceptional content, allows you to forge deep, irrevocable connections with your customers/clients/buyers/listeners/readers/fans.

So how do you emulate their success with your own brand? 

By understanding A) what your unique selling point is, B) how to position your brand in the market and distinguish yourself from your competitors, C) who your customers are, what they value and how to distinguish yourself from competitors and D) what your brand’s personality and tone of voice is and how to execute it across all mediums (website copywriting, social media content, email marketing, blog content, love letters, etc, etc).  

If you’re reading and thinking: “Well, how do I do that?”, you’re not alone! We’ve helped so many founders and brands through this process and we can do the same for you too. Our approach combines research, strategy and creative instinct to define your brand’s point of excellence and convey it in a memorable way that demands to be felt. 

Want the Shameless effect for your brand? Right this way.

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