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What is Clubhouse?: Unlocking the Potential for Brands
By Jonathan Schumann, Director, Egg NYC
I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the new social media platform Clubhouse, I rolled my eyes. “Another platform?” I groaned. “Invitation only?” I scoffed. “Too many things!” I exclaimed, shortly before tossing my phone across the room.
Then, I got invited to join. Once the whiff of newfound recognition and relevancy wore off, I became eager to figure out what Clubhouse is all about. Beyond my individual engagement, I immediately began to wonder how brands might be able to leverage Clubhouse to connect with consumers in the future.
At Egg, we’re always curious about how the evolving social media landscape might shape how brands engage with their current and potential consumers (for a refresher, here’s what we wrote about TikTok last year). Each new platform presents the opportunity for brands to create a meaningful touchpoint. But, with every opportunity there’s a chance for brands to misfire or ring false.
So, before digging into the opportunity for brands, what’s Clubhouse all about? It’s basically an audio listening platform that lets users listen in on conversations, interviews and discussions with a wide range of people on a variety of topics. Think podcasts, but less formal, and all live. Users indicate areas of interest – fashion, design, music, news, etc. – and Clubhouse recommends content to listen to and creators to follow.
This passion-first approach taps into consumers’ desire to find a tribe united by shared interest as well as engage with content curated to their specific desires. Additionally, the live element has the power to re-create spontaneous moments of collaboration and inspiration that we’ve all sorely missed in the last year. As such, it’s no surprise Clubhouse has taken off so rapidly – 10 million users in total, with an average of 6.2 million weekly users, which indicates wildly strong engagement.
Given this immediate popularity, it’s easy to see Clubhouse’s unique appeal to brands. Lifestyle brands in particular work to build loyal followers who serve as brand evangelists and ambassadors. That means Clubhouse’s interest-led approach could emerge as a uniquely efficient tool for brands to tap into core tribes of passion. That said, realizing this potential won’t be easy. So far, Clubhouse’s growth has been entirely creator-based, not brand-based. So while British fashion brand Ted Baker has recently entered the space, users are more likely to find and follow individuals like the men’s fashion director of Nordstrom and the creative director of Tiffany & Co.
This emphasis on personal, passion-led curation means consumers may be less willing to openly engage with brands compared to other social media platforms. With key brand stakeholders already engaged on Clubhouse, an ambassador-led model may be the best approach for the short-term. Identifying and supporting key voices to act as brand emissaries may serve the dual purpose of retaining the platform’s allure and air of exclusivity, while also creating a halo effect for the brand itself.
Time will tell, but I expect we’ll continue to hear more about brand attempts to leverage Clubhouse, especially as the platform opens up to more users. If questions around consumer engagement strategy keep you up at night (as they do for us), reach out and let us know!