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Although we're only a few months into 2021, there is a newer app creating tons of buzz among our clients. Clubhouse, an invitation-only app, offers a platform for people all over the world to come together. Within the year it has been available for download, the app has attracted up to 10 million users and counting. This rate of growth and level of popularity is attractive to brands and advertisers for obvious reasons. In this blog post, we share more about Clubhouse and explain how we're approaching it at Code3.

What Is It and Why Is It Taking Off?

The Clubhouse app is currently only available to iPhone users, but an Android app is coming soon. With the expanded audience that will come via Android downloads, we expect the platform to continue to grow and grow quickly. 

Anyone that uses Clubhouse can create a chat room for others to join and participate in the conversation. Chat rooms are usually dedicated to a specific subject and can either be set to public or private. Simply put, after a year of social distancing and a lack of human connection, Clubhouse is the perfect app to make up for these pitfalls of the pandemic.

What Can We Compare It To?

As of now, Clubhouse is relatively unique compared to most major social media platforms. Its functionality, user experience, and the amount of celebrity and influencer buy-in make it attractive. But, in general, there are several high-level comparisons being drawn by those in the industry. First is its likeness to group chats and podcasts; essentially a combination of the two. Or, as A.V. Perkins expertly said via Bustle, they consider Clubhouse to be LinkedIn's 'cooler cousin'. Or as if TikTok 'graduated and is looking for a job'.

Our Take

While Clubhouse is still considered a young platform, we expect Instagram to follow in its footsteps as it did when TikTok became popular. Recently, Instagram Chief, Adam Mosseri, announced a very similar capability would be coming soon. The new feature was described as multi-participant Instagram Live video chats. We don't anticipate Instagram will be the only platform to mimic Clubhouse and we will likely see a variety of live group chat features in the coming months. With this, it's hard to predict exactly how and if Clubhouse will evolve to remain relevant and unique.

What’s the Big Deal?

To elaborate on the mention of celebrities and influencers, Clubhouse's exclusivity model could be a key differentiator. Currently, Clubhouse users have to be invited by another current user. All members that join earn two invitations to share with their friends. Then, as time goes on, anyone can gain additional invitations based on their usage and existing network. The influx of demand combined with the barrier to entry has allowed the average person to have access to high-profile names on the app. And since these celebrities, CEOs, and influencers have too large of audiences on competing platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok the same level of connection isn't possible.

Why Should Brands Care?

With any new digital media channel, especially with the growth of social commerce, brands and advertisers want to be involved. And those that become early adopters have an opportunity to gain a following and connect with potential customers. However, when it comes to Clubhouse, brand pages and advertising capabilities are not yet available. With that said, it wouldn't be surprising to learn of the platforms' plans to develop these capabilities. 

For now, we've included some insight below for brands to consider in the meantime.

Human Connection Breeds Authenticity 

Clubhouse makes it possible to connect with people in a deeper way than the standard advertisement. Gwyneth Paltrow uses it to promote her brand, products, and her website. Elon Musk is another great example of someone that uses the app as a marketing and networking tool. The platform serves not only as a marketing tool but a way to authentically connect with customers. 

Brand Voice Takes on a Literal Meaning 

Video marketing will continue to be popular and effective for businesses, but live group audio will be the new go-to tactic. It has already offered another form of digital communication and brands that don't lean into it could miss out. It's an engaging way to answer common questions and discuss popular topics. Savvy brands leverage it to tell their story and market their brand and products in a conversational way.

Clubhouse Elevates the Need for Influencer Marketing 

As we saw on TikTok, we expect brands to partner with Clubhouse influencers in a similar way. While brand pages and advertising aren't available yet, this is a great way for businesses to reach a large and engaged audience while increasing brand recognition.

An App for Both B2B and B2C Interaction

Clubhouse is a powerful medium to educate consumers. Large corporations could use it for information sharing and dissemination among their own employees. Topics can range from anything like diversity and inclusion or a way to host all-staff company meetings. Another perk that makes this possible is the app is free to use, for now. And we could see more companies use the platform this way should Clubhouse decide to open access to anyone with a user name and password. 

Final Thoughts

We expect the potential and direction for Clubhouse to be known sooner rather than later. A platform that grows this quickly is bound to become more than a popular app. But, while we wait for advertiser-friendly capabilities, it's worth becoming familiar with Clubhouse. Understanding how it operates and connecting with users in ways that aren't monetized could give brands a competitive edge when the time comes.

At Code3, we have more than 250 performance-driven experts dedicated to our roster of clients. It's our mission to turn ideas, possibilities, and goals into reality for the brands we work with. That being said, the topic of Clubhouse is top-of-mind for our client teams. Should you have any questions about how Code3 can support your brand with customized strategies, please reach out. And, if you’d like to further explore the work we’ve done recently, check out these resources.

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