From podcasts to Clubhouse, new communication trends are putting oral culture back at the center of communications and public relations.

With around two million users worldwide in January and around 50,000 users in Italy just weeks after its arrival in our country, Clubhouse is a networking platform that has brought voice, the most traditional communication tool, back at the core of the social scene.

If Instagram and TikTok have made images and videos the undisputed protagonists, Clubhouse focuses on voice, unlike the typical emphasis on visual content generally seen across the web and especially on social networks.

 

What is Clubhouse?

Developed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison and former Google employee Rohan Seth, Clubhouse is now only available for iOS users. This app allows subscribers to create “rooms” to communicate with voice content. No texts, no images, no videos: all interactions are based on voice.

The rooms are divided into thematic areas that are shown to the user based on an algorithm that detects preferences and interests. It is possible to simply listen to others or choose to actively participate in the discussion, just as you would physically do during a work meeting or at dinner with friends. In the period we are living in, in which physical proximity and the possibility of meeting in person are still inevitably reduced, this new alternative seems to arrive at just the right time.

Voice going center stage: before Clubhouse, podcast has been the latest success format

In recent weeks, Clubhouse has attracted the interest of the world of communication. The phenomenon of voice communication has already been confirmed with the success of podcasts over the last few years. In 2020, 14 million Italians (up from 12 million in 2019) listened to at least one podcast with a preference for news and current affairs channels, thematic insights, self-help and training – according to Nielsen’s Italian research for Amazon’s Audible. This vocal tool is particularly appreciated by the younger crowd, with 52% of these listeners being under 35 and listen to podcasts daily.

Being easy to use, having the ability to involve and excite, convey captivating stories and share useful and interesting information to the user are all elements that distinguish the sound-based storytelling and which offer brands a new form of infotainment. This also offers brands a new form for effective storytelling, thus strengthening the relationship with their target audience.

Will the future be… vocal?

Vocal social networks therefore seem destined to radically change the social landscape: even Mark Zuckerberg is in fact interested in the dynamics of Clubhouse and according to rumors, he is thinking of developing a similar product. While Twitter is ready to launch Audio Spaces, a new product that will allow users to meet in voice chat together with one or more users. This is now a perfect case to say: we shall see who will have…the last word.

This blog post first appeared in Italian at the blog space of Sound PR, PRGN’s member agency in Milan, Italy.

Alessandra Malvermi
Alessandra Malvermi
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Sound Public Relations
A public relations, brand management, digital strategies, social media, content marketing and crisis communications expert, Alessandra is strongly passionate about innovation and new trends and has a lively talent for international relations. Besides being Vice President of Global Women in PR for Italy, she has been a jury member of the IMC European Awards and Chair of the PRGN Membership Committee. Among her interests are skiing, trekking, music, arts, books and more.

4 thoughts on “Clubhouse: Voice-Based Communications Returns as a Key Element in Building Relations

    1. @David, for now, Clubhouse is a trend to watch at. I don’t know if it is a phenomenon that will explode or not. The security matters could be a serious barrier for businesses to enter, indeed. The fact is that Clubhouse has brought the voice to the center. And this is a relevant phenomenon in itself.

  1. Thanks for this post, Guilia and Alessandra, As a storyteller one of my favourite quotes is by an Italian journalist and novelist Italo Calvino, “It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear,”

    If Italo is right, this may be part of the reason why podcasts and chatrooms are becoming popular.

    Despite the craze with digital, radio has never gone away either, well not in the Australian market. We like listening and telling stories. Audio is personal and lets our minds create the video.

    You got me thinking, Thanks, again!

  2. TY Mark. You (and Calvino) are right. Relationships need a beautiful heart and unbreakable trust. Sound and voice go straight to the heart and lend themselves to be a privileged tool for nurturing relationships. Not a surprise therefore if the future of marketing and communication seems to be linked to the interaction with the public through the voice.

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