Joining the Club(house)

Tina Anthony by Tina Anthony | April 7, 2021

Clubhouse Intro – What is it?

Curley Company has been watching the growing audio-only content trend that has been happening the last few years with fascinating interest.  From podcasts to audiobooks to smart speakers, users are clamoring for content specific to audio. Clubhouse is the next iteration of this trend. It is described as an “audio-chat social network” and lets its users listen to other users’ live conversations with the opportunity to join in the chat.  For now, users leading the conversations are typically famous or subject matter experts in a particular industry.  White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Bill Gates and Elon Musk are some of the influencers who have led or participated in chats in recent months.

The app offers pages full of conversation topics (rooms) to follow, from sports to tech to world affairs and more. In each room, users will find people interested in the same thing and can follow them. The more topics and people users follow, the more likely they are to get suggestions for other rooms that would be appealing to them.  

Each room and conversation can have its own style and set up for how they want to deliver the audio-only content. Music sharing is logically a popular format right now. Some rooms might be a casual conversation between two friends, while another room could be in a more formal interview style.  Moderators of rooms can put celebrities or influencers on a “stage” and make them a speaker if they drop in the room.

Being audio-only means that there are no pictures or videos used on Clubhouse.  The only images are profile pictures for each user. The app does not have a web-based platform and is only available to iPhone users.  It is currently invite-only, with each user only getting two invites, and they can earn more as they use the app.

Because audio-only content is becoming increasingly more popular, look for Twitter, Facebook, and other competitors to start rolling out their own versions of Clubhouse.

Business and Brands on Clubhouse

While Clubhouse is currently ad-free, marketers have found a few ways to get their brands on the platform. One way to do this is to partner with an influencer/moderator who is already on the app.  This way, the brand can work closely with them on a conversation around their chosen topic, and the moderator will start the conversation, allowing for it to be promoted on the app’s main feed.

Brands can also build a presence on the platform via their own profiles. CPG brands (Milk Bar, Kool-aid) and media brands (Politico) are already on it.  The app does pose challenges for brands in that they must be creative with the audio-only content; there are no opportunities to showcase social tiles, video or other professionally-produced creative.

No matter how a brand uses the app, it is important that they treat this like any other platform and be authentic and meaningful in their participation.