About 13 years ago, a good friend and mentor Jeremiah Owyang wrote a blog post,”Are you a Purist or Corporatist“, where he summarizes a conversation he had with colleagues about the impact and participation of brands using social media.
While this post was written back in 2008, it couldn’t be more relevant today as new social networks and apps are coming to market.
I attempted to re-create a visual from Jeremiah’s blog post below to show the scale of how different the purest thinks from a corporatist as it relates to brands on social media. In the early days, I was a 10 and didn’t want any brands participating in any community conversations. Then I became a direct marketer. I shifted all the way left to a corporatist and was always trying to figure out different ways to reach audiences, generate leads or sell products. At that time, I didn’t care about the community.
Today I am a 4 or 5. I think brands do you have an opportunity to engage in social audio platforms like Clubhouse. But they need to do so in a smart and authentic way. Here are a few ideas on how brands on Clubhouse can be successful today and in the near future.
We have seen a few brands create profiles on Clubhouse-Koolaid, Hubspot, and Barstool Sports to name a few. However, according to Clubhouse’s terms of service, “You must use a real name and identity on the service.” Also, being that the app is meant for authentic and transparent conversations I would recommend that brands do not create individual profiles, at least for now.
There have been a few predictions for features that could benefit brands include sponsored rooms. But there’s nothing “official” at this point, even though there have been a few small businesses doing so. In the future, we could see brands using Clubhouse to launch products, earnings calls, executive activation, town hall discussions, customer service rooms and CSR programs being activated through Clubhouse. At this point, I would recommend holding off until there is further clarification from Clubhouse.
Executive Profiling & Activation
We are still feeling the effects of COVID-19 with cancelled events & conferences, continuing lockdowns and travel bans. On Clubhouse, it’s really easy to start a room where your executives can initiate a conversation about a relevant topic. However, we’d recommend that executives take caution and do so with no hidden agenda.
It’s unclear how many brands have collaborated with influencers to moderate a room or join a discussion. We have not seen any clear disclosure so it’s safe to assume that it’s a practice that hasn’t taken off quite yet. However, there is an opportunity to collaborate with influencers on a Clubhouse program assuming there is full disclosure and that brands adhere to the FTC guidelines.
Customer & Employee Brand Advocacy
With a low barrier of entry an easy-to-use platform, brands must think about launching (or re-launching) an employee and/or customer brand ambassador program. With social audio apps like Clubhouse, it’s easy for any stakeholder to join any discussion in any room and talk favorably about the brand or business. However, I’d recommend that brands have very clear social media guidelines before operating such programs. It should also be noted that all conversations and discussions in clubhouse need to be authentic and not self-serving.
From a customer brand ambassador perspective, I can already envision seeing integration between in Influitive and Clubhouse, whereby marketers can flag specific rooms and activate customers to participate.
Increasing the Shelf Life of Content
The challenge with Clubhouse rooms is that there is no record that a discussion ever happened. Once your room is over, it is over. There is no way to pause the conversation or go back and listen to it in the future. The terms of service clearly outline that rooms cannot be recorded unless approved by the community. For brands that are activating some type of program within Clubhouse, it would make sense to have either influencers, customers, or employees attend the room and document the conversation. There is nothing in the terms that forbid anyone from taking notes and writing a blog post about the conversation.
In fact, I do this all the time.