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New app Sprokk highlights voice as social link

By Anaika Miller

May 29, 2013 1:29 a.m.

The original post contained an error and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for additional information.

For the founders of a new app focused on vocal communication, their main goal is creating a world where their users can share their voice.

Justin Casale-Savage, a UCLA Anderson School of Management alumnus, is a founding partner of Sprokk, a new iOS app that allows users to record and share 17-second audio clips attached to photos.

Casale-Savage and Sprokk CEO Matthew Sanger said they created Sprokk because they believe stronger interpersonal connection and meaning has been lost in other media outlets, where users can hide behind text.

“Voice is very powerful because it captures human emotion,” Casale-Savage said.

Sprokk was launched less than two month ago and currently has about 1,000 users. About 50 new members join every day, Casale-Savage said.

Kelsey Van Hook, a first-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student, has been using Sprokk since March. She said she likes that Sprokk’s posts are permanent, unlike a popular photo- and video-sharing app called Snapchat.

“Sprokk allows you to create memories that are more than pictures,” Van Hook said.

Posts through Sprokk can be shared on Facebook and Twitter, and Sprokk users are encouraged to interact with each other by rating a post with either a “boo,” “LOL” or “fancy.”

Tim Groeling, chair of the Department of Communication Studies at UCLA, said he has not heard about Sprokk but cautions entrepreneurs against expecting success.

“The general consensus is that these new apps usually fail,” Groeling said. “It’s going to take a lot to become the next Facebook.”

One of the reasons Sanger and Casale-Savage said they believe Sprokk will be successful is because of their marketing techniques.

“Anybody could build the app like us, but the branding we do is unique,” Sanger said.

A core part of their marketing strategy is Sprokk’s student brand ambassador program, which employs 25 students from five different universities in Southern California to promote Sprokk on campuses, Casale-Savage said.

Lindsay Markel, a first-year undeclared student, is Sprokk’s student ambassador for UCLA.

She first heard about the opportunity through an email sent by her sorority, Alpha Phi. Though she has been working at Sprokk for about two and a half months, Markel said she still can’t describe a typical work day because she has worked on everything from social media outreach to helping out at company photo shoots.

Through the internship, Markel said she has become much more interested in marketing and communications, fields she said she may pursue in the future.

Another one of the company’s marketing tools is the Sprokk logo itself, an orange head topped with blue tips and a white space where the face should be. Sanger said the logo embodies the company’s goal of encouraging people to express themselves.

Now that the school year is ending, Casale-Savage said the company plans to reach out to the large Los Angeles community by hosting more promotional parties.

Casale-Savage said the company is also hoping to develop a compatible version of the app for Android users in the future but is currently focused on expanding its current platform.

Correction: A photo was mistakenly attached to this article.

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