Lend Me Your Ear

3 Minutes
Sara Armitage

Podcasts are now commonplace and a great tool for engaging your audience and potential customers. But what about Clubhouse?

Launched in March 2020, the audio-based app was initially aimed at building a social experience that was more human than posting, somewhere people could gather and talk.  It was originally marketed to high profile users, celebrities and Silicon Valley investors but then opened up to more general audiences who can chat in ‘Rooms’ related to their interests.

A move to allow members to invite two guests opened the app up even further and according to the Los Angeles Times, Clubhouse had over 10 million uses by February this year.

It might sound like a rave venue but it is now on the radar of marketeers everywhere as a possible alternative platform to the podcast and an additional social media forum.

Aside from the fact that it had originally an ‘elite’ membership, was invite only and only available to use on iPhones, it has none the less, gained considerable media coverage and awareness online. Business leaders and professionals can be found speaking in a Room related to their area of expertise, brand or industry which has led to Clubhouse now being a consideration in the marketing mix.

And as just this month it has now been opened up for Android use, interest in the platform will continue to grow.

Here are some positive points to consider:

  • 2020 brought us all online: With people at home, online communities, virtual events, and Zoom chats were a lifeline and we became more comfortable, and keen, to engage in such platforms.  Clubhouse provides a new audio only option to connect and learn without screen fatigue.
  • Building trust: Again, the recent pandemic led consumers to focus more on a brand’s social, cultural and ethical policies and actions, favouring companies who appeared trustworthy, open and caring. As we move through 2021 with continued uncertainty, Clubhouse creates an unscripted environment that underlines authenticity.  Nerve wracking but real.
  • The app content is evolving: This means there is plenty of room for scope and new ideas.
  • Thought leadership: Initially built around influencers means users are likely to come to the app to look for informative discussion and tips directly from an expert, so a great forum for certain businesses to make their mark.

On the downside:

  • Limited audiences: Comparatively, due to its exclusivity being invite-only, it is still too limited for some marketeers at the moment.
  • Unedited content: As there is no script, along with what you want to hear there will be lots of other content or interference that may not be so interesting.
  • Vulnerability: Live and unscripted content could make some brands vulnerable. Authenticity v unfiltered comments, a difficult balance.
  • And finally, it’s already gaining competition: Facebook and Twitter have both developed audio drop-in platforms. If these big names provide options that are more inclusive and accessible, marketeers may invest elsewhere.

In November 2020 Twitter launched Spaces, a feature that allows users to join virtual rooms where they can engage in real-time, audio conversations with others. The company began with a limited number of users but last week rolled the feature out globally to iOS and android Twitter users who have over 600 followers.

Spaces is an audio-only voice chat feature that lets a host stream voice chats with other Twitter users. Audience members can either listen in or become part of the conversation.

And as reported by the BBC in April, Facebook has also announced it will be rolling out a series of audio features in the coming months.

It’s early days and there is a lot to consider but with the changes in consumer purchasing behaviours and attitudes, audio apps could present a new and exciting platform for business.

Wish Agency are a fully integrated marketing agency with offices in Leeds & London.