We once thought Clubhouse founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth would be inducted in the social media hall of fame with the likes of Zuckerberg and Dorsey. Today, we wonder if this once promising app has a future?
ClubHouse : The App of The Year
April 2020, we were introduced to an app that would make headlines for the rest of the year. The majority of the world was quarantined and looking to mingle online amidst the coronavirus pandemic, so Clubhouse’s launch timing felt perfect.
There was just the right amount of controversy, learning opportunities, culture, and entertainment to keep the app interesting. I found the Clubhouse atmosphere to be just as chaotic as the year 2020, with enough drama to keep me distracted from COVID-19.
Twitter was in talks to acquire Clubhouse for $4-billion. This was just a year ago. Today, Clubhouse would be lucky to get a $500-million acquisition offer.
Everything seemed right, so what went wrong?
Lockdown restrictions being lifted is the main reason for Clubhouse’s downfall. Without a well-marketed value-add in 2021, people fail to see the necessity of Clubhouse in a world open to actual human interaction.
If I was part of the ClubHouse marketing team, I would have made re-marketing/branding a big discussion as the world started to open up.
‘‘In the fast-paced tech industry, you never want to be left behind .’’ -ME
In the ever-changing tech industry, you NEVER want to be left behind. Clubhouse is a prime example of a company being left behind as the world moved on.
Their model worked in a quarantined world. After Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, people slowly walked away from the app, and the Clubhouse team just let their dedicated fan base wither.
Tips for a dead app
I’d recommend rebranding, new features, marketing campaigns, and a load of press/ public relations to bring Clubhouse back to life.
Remote group interactions are still the future. This is still a great app with life left in it, it just needs a good marketing touch.
A social app that constantly evolves is Instagram. The introduction of e-commerce and reels shows that Instagram is not willing to be left behind. Instagram has always adapted, which is why they’re probably the #1 social app of the past decade.
The False Promises of Trendy Startups
Finding a lasting market-fit is a great first step to success. The first step to finding market-fit is finding a creative way to make your users believe your platform is an essential part of their life.
Facebook tells us that regardless of how much they invade our privacy, they’re still an essential part of our life, because they connect us to our loved ones and friends.
Amazon is great at letting us know that regardless of their shady business practices, we can always get whatever we need/whenever we need it at our doorsteps.
These tech giants have used clever marketing to inform the general public of how they make our lives better and why we can’t do without them. In addition, they always adapt. This combination makes marketing these brands easier.
Telling people why they need to keep you around is a great way of from moving from being successful tech company to a unicorn. Clubhouse could’ve used a variety of tag-lines, such as, ‘‘stay informed’’ or ‘‘say what you want’’ to keep people around.
Good marketing for a social app is a combination of culture/ diversity/ youth/ pop culture / comedy / emotion / controversy / freedom . And the secret is to make people see what they are missing out on whenever they are not on the app.
Although, good marketing is just an important piece of the puzzle. All other pieces need to be in place to turn your startup from a success to a unicorn.
Is this how it ends? Can they make a comeback?
I have begin to wonder if it was a great app or just the right app for 2020. Time will tell if we will re-download the app or not. Twitter has copied the Clubhouse model with Twitter spaces, so ClubHouse needs a comeback with something new.
If Clubhouse wants to make a solid comeback, it will take exceptional marketing and rebranding.
As the tech industry grows, everyone wants in. But the question on my mind is, ‘‘Can everyone succeed in the tech industry?’’
Creating or joining a successful tech company is not enough. Becoming a successful startup is just the beginning, staying a successful startup is where the real challenge is.
Startups are not only battling competitors, but big tech copycats too, so that stakes are higher than ever.
To all my tech marketers, take a page from the influencer/celeb marketing book and focus on constant rebranding to stay relevant.