Brands that Stand Their Ground: Snap Inc.

Among many other things, social media affords us the ability to explore online communities, rally for a cause and interact with brands. Years ago, a brand interaction was a one-way conversation from brand to consumer, but for better or worse, it has transformed into a two-way dialogue. What are the implications of this dialogue?

Typically, brands aim to please their audience, but from time to time, they completely miss their mark. I’ve seen more brands issue apologies in recent years than ever before, but what happens when despite backlash, a brand stands its ground?

I bring this topic to you after contemplating a recent situation not just as a consumer, but also as a business-minded professional. A few weeks ago, there was a stir in the social media world: Snap Inc. redesigned its app. *GASP*

Here’s the SNAPshot: Snap Inc. flips Snapchat on its head. User experience radically changes. Users’ adversity to change flares and they’re annoyed. Users organize a change.org petition (with 1.2 million signatures to-date). Snapchat issues a “we hear you,” response, with a “but we’re sticking to our decision” outcome. *DOUBLE GASP*

According to TechCrunch, Snapchat has been vigorously upholding the update. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said earlier this month that, basically, people just need to deal: “It’ll take time for people to adjust, but for me, using it for a couple months, I feel way more attached to the service.”

My first reaction: Bad move, Snapchat.

My second reaction (after more consideration): I actually respect Snap Inc. for sticking to its decision.

In today’s social media landscape, many brands are quick to “cower” in front of consumers, back away from decisions, issue apologies, etc. – sometimes for good reason, as in the example of Adidas’ tone-deaf Boston Marathon email, but other times unnecessarily. Depending on the situation, when I see a brand back down from its decision, it tells me they didn’t think through their intentions or their audience’s reaction enough.

The TechCrunch article also notes that Snap’s earnings pointed to the redesign’s potential to positively impact the company’s numbers. Publisher Stories on Discover grew 40 percent compared with the old design, and users older than 35 were engaging with the app more.

While it’s nice to feel like consumers have the power from time to time, this is also a reminder that for the most part, brands create extremely well-thought-out plans and have their consumer’s interests in mind.

If anyone can route this perspective over to Kylie Jenner, I’m sure Snap Inc. would appreciate it.

Leave a Reply