Is Snapchat Right for Challenger Brands?

December 15, 2015 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

Wondering if Snapchat is right for your challenger brand? Wondering what the heck that chubby little Snapchat ghost is all about and why everyone is talking about this social media platform teenagers love? The fact that the younger demographic (18- to 24-year-old consumers, as well as Millennials) are the primary users, is a key reason challenger brands chasing that target should take notice of this social media tidal wave and jump in.

What’s All the Chatter about Snapchat, Anyway?

In a nutshell, Snapchat, users can send messages or “snaps” to recipients with a time limit set by the sender (between 1 to 10 seconds), after which the message disappears for good. The platform has been a boon to mobile marketing. It helps promote a sense of urgency and takes advantage of FOMO( fear of missing out), while at the same time appealing to consumers with a note of exclusivity.

Launched in September 2011, Snapchat use has exploded over the past year and the company’s revenue shows it. Snapchat reported $3 million in revenue in 2014 and estimates show they’ll generate about $50 million in topline revenue for 2015. Snapchat sells advertising, but ads must meet specific guidelines (no cigarettes, guns, etc.).

Here are some more Snapchat stats that challenger brand might find especially interesting:


What Makes Snapchat Right for Challenger Brands?

1 – Your target customers are likely snapchatters. Many challenger brands zone in on the younger demographic that makes up the majority of Snapchat users, so that might be reason enough for adding this social media platform to your marketing plan.

2 – Marketers are taking it seriously. Both Inc. Magazine and Forbes recently touted Snapchat as a valuable marketing tool.

3 – It’s creative and lets you showcase your challenger brand personality. Snaps and the platform’s Vine-like 10-second videos are, by their nature, unpolished and are intended to give snapchatters an insider’s POV of the storyteller. This adds to the feeling of exclusivity for the user/viewer and gives challenger brands an ideal opportunity connect to the targeted consumer. Go ahead and flex some creative muscle, inject some humor and stamp your personality all over every snap and video you send. This is where humanizing your brand is critical and showing your lighthouse personality is key.

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How Do I Get Started Snapchatting?

It’s possible you’ll need to have a snapchatter (one well-versed in all things Snapchat or a teen who knows the app backward and forward) help you learn it. Snapchat has a “social user interface,” meaning the app doesn’t really have instructions. You’re meant to learn it by talking to your friends who know all the cool tricks already, although the Snapchat site does have some guides. The site Marketingland also has a quick rundown of the basics and the Discover feature, which replaced the “Brand Story” earlier this year as an ad unit. Snapchat also offers the marketing option, Live Stories (users can share video and photos at a live event – which might be a great option if you plan to participate in any type of “Taste of the Town” or other local event).

Follow Me!

Once you’ve established your profile and learned the basics, you’ll need to cultivate followers. The best resource is your existing social network. Signage in you restaurant and on menus works, also. Cross promote upcoming Snapchat promotions on Facebook and Twitter.

Once you’ve established a follower base, start sending “behind-the-scenes” photos of your staff at work or other exclusive content. Ask your employees for their ideas. You might have a Snapchat guru already on staff!

For your first promotion, you’ll likely want to get started with a simple flash sale or coupon. Whether you start small or launch a full-throttle Snapchat marketing plan, assign someone to the task of monitoring the progress of the Snap (message, image, video, etc.) until it expires 24 hours later and answering Snapbacks. The last thing you want is to send a snap only to have your followers hear crickets in return.

For more ideas on how to use Snapchat, be sure to read the next Bark! blog post for 6 Snapchat Secrets to Promote Your Brand.


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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