Putting the ‘chat’ back into Snap(chat)

Snap, Snapchat, Snap Spectacles? Whatever’s next? This is a brand that has been very much in the news recently, whether that’s business and marketing news, or the gossip columns — I mean, divorcing over Snapchat? Really? If you haven’t caught the latest in Snapchat news, worry not, because that’s what we’re here for. So here’s an overview of the most newsworthy Snap stories you may have missed.

If you’re a total novice in the Snapchat game — i.e. if you’re not a millennial (and even they’re pushing it) — then this may all seem like a whole other fun-filter-filled world to you, and there’s a distinct chance that the news stories surrounding the app phenomenon may have passed you by. But it is very likely that Snap may represent the future; the future of social media, of marketing, and of how the next generation will communicate — even more so than they already do. So, it’s important to be up to scratch with the latest developments and insights from this boundary-pushing brand.

What’s with the name?

The Snapchat app has been around for over 5 years now and the name has become synonymous with sharing fast-disappearing images and videos with quirky filters — rainbow vomit anyone? So why change it when you’ve got a good thing going? Well, the app actually hasn’t changed name. Rather, the parent company that owns the app has shifted from ‘Snapchat’ to ‘Snap’, but the app remains unchanged.

What this really represents is an expansion: under the company name, Snap Inc., there is now not only the app we all know and love, but other ventures, most notably Snap’s Spectacles. In making this branding change, it seems that Snap’s intention is to be taken more seriously as a media brand, simultaneously distancing itself somewhat from the app, almost exclusively the sphere of youngsters, while at the same time embracing it as an integral part of the Snap story. Essentially, having their cake and eating it too.

A move to original content?

The most recent flurry of news articles and conjecture around the brand has come in light of a recent job advertisement for the company; that of ‘development managers’ for its original content. The business and tech insider powers-that-be have interpreted this to mean that Snapchat will be looking to produce their own original video content for the site, turning the app into a real content hub, far beyond its starting point as an image-sharing platform.

But this is not the first time the app has delved into this realm. Brands and influencers have been using the video capabilities of the app to create similar content for a while. It was also recently announced that MTV were working with Snapchat to create a few short series of video content for the ‘Discover’ area of the platform.

So this development is not necessarily a surprise. But it is significant. Online video hubs, such as Netflix and Amazon, have been creating their own original content for some time. So, does this move mean that Snapchat are trying to compete on this large-scale level? Or are they establishing themselves as a completely new offering — a unicorn in the space, if you will. In contrast to Netflix and Amazon, Snap’s original video content will be designed specifically for mobile viewing, so it certainly will be an original development, both in Snapchat’s history, and beyond. At this point, however, it is still largely interpreted information circling — until Snapchat show us what they’ve got up their sleeves, it’s a case of ‘wait and see’.

Nice Spectacles

The name is simple, the concept is actually pretty cool — if not a little out of reach, perhaps even fanciful. I mean, I don’t know too many people who will be rushing out to buy these at $129 a pair, but the idea is cool nonetheless. Essentially, they are sunglasses with an inbuilt camera to capture a real point-of-view shot. The really neat part, however, is the fact that it captures a wide, circular 115° angle view, giving a completely spherical clip that can be viewed with your phone in any orientation. I’ll be honest, it’s not the most easily explained concept, but when you see it in action, it’s pretty impressive, so check out the promo video for a better understanding!

The key question stemming from Snap’s release of the Spectacles, — and indeed it’s brand name change — is what it all means for the direction of the company? Clearly moving away from a purely social offering, into more of a content hub, with physical products in tow as well, the question arises, where might they expand into in the future? From a brand as exciting and innovating as Snapchat, this expansion is genuinely game-changing.

Now, of course, this may all be exaggerated hype; another hopeful social craze that eventually simmers down — not unlike the troubles Twitter is currently seeing. However, I like to think that with the promise Snapchat has shown and the following it has garnered so far, not only from pre-teen generation Z-ers, but also big name brands and influential figures, it has proven itself already as a forward-thinking, adaptable service. If it carries on in this vein, expanding in the way it has done so far, the potential is huge: think original content on the level of Netflix, with a social hub to rival Facebook — it’s pretty big business.

If you want to find out more about how such influential social offerings could work for your brand, drop us a line and we’ll help get your name out there. It’s what we do.

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