Snapchat turned five years old on Monday. And with its new coming of age, the company also announced the launch of its rebranding – the new Snap Inc. Snapchat’s chief strategy officer, Imran Khan, took the stage at Town Hall during the 13th edition of Advertising Week New York to share why it was time for a rebranding, what the brand has accomplished since finding its footing in the social network five years ago, and how Snapchat continually appears one step ahead of the rest in the world of mobile innovation.
“The biggest misconception about us is that we’re a social media company,” Khan told Advertising Week attendees. “But we’re more. We’re a camera company, too. We started with the camera. We believe people are creative, and by opening the app to the camera, we’re inviting people to create content. On any given day, more than 2/3 or our daily users are crating content by using snapchat.”
Khan noted Snapchat’s ability to innovate within a niche market, like that of mobile and video, and how its introducing concepts such as Snap Ads, or the brands three-tier story platform – My Story, Live Stories and Discover – have allotted marketers to reach consumers in ways not yet exhausted by traditional marketing tactics.
“Advertising is a natural extension for Snapchat, because it’s a platform to share stories visually. In a time when brands are trying to get users attention, Snap Ads are the best mobile ad videos in the market,” Khan said. “With sponsored geo-filters and lenses, it’s a product that a brand can create for users to add to their images. It’s a great way to drive recommendations. Your customers are adding your artwork to their videos and stories, which is them telling their friends about your brand.”
As with the brand’s newer additions, such as Live Stories, Khan explained it allows users to “share their best moments,” which Snapchat then stitches together into a story to give other users an inside glimpse at what is happening at that moment in time at any given location.
“It’s telling a story from thousands of people’s perspectives,” Khan said. “As a viewer of a live story, you feel like you’re there at the event that’s taking place. It’s a completely immersive experience.”
Ann Simmonds, chief marketing officer for General Mills later joined Khan on stage to discuss the ways in which Snapchat’s ability to innovate the mobile market has changed the playing field for brands, and reintroduced the importance of storytelling as the truest, most accurate means of marketing.
“While the machine is changing all the time, what needs to remain is the magic and the quality of the story, so we’re always wide eyed about how we can make the story stronger,” Simmonds said. “As dizzying as mediums like [Snapchat] have been, two things have remained perennial. One is the power of partnerships and the need to be endlessly experimenting and learning from each other. But second is that nothing changes. Even with innovations and new mediums, the way you make markets great is with great ideas.”
Simmonds credited the success of General Mill’s incorporating Snapchat into their marketing medium to that of “similar brand ideologies,” nothing how GM is a group of “super family friendly advertisers with brands like Cheerios,” and Snapchat an “equally happy, optimistic brand.”