Competitive Marketing advantage by Co-Creation of Value on Snapchat: Part 2 How should Marketers adapt?

Written by Jonatan Storesund


These insights from Google and Ericsson’s technological and usage trends describe how Internet and digital device users are adapting to our digitalized society, but how should then marketers adapt?

Marketing and brand development have grown into a new perspective of how to manage social media as a marketing and increase of brand awareness channel. Since the revolution of Internet’s Web 2.0, whereas the direction of focus has been changed from the products and services to context, content and user experience. The experienced of content marketing has further developed from “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but the stories you tell” - Seth Godin American entrepreneur, author, lecturer and marketing professional. And brands is no longer in the control of the marketers “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is” - Scott Cook (in Gensler, et al. 2013), co- founder of Intuit.

This is illustrated in the social media sphere through likes, shares and comments etc. but whenever a new phenomenon like these rise within new platforms such as “regram” on Instagram, “retweet” on Twitter, “reblog” on blog platforms etc. It becomes a new or different approach to co-create the value of the media.

I want to highlight the rise of the social media Snapchat (2015) and their valuable mobile device application that creates authentic experience to and together with their users. Whereas they have implemented the term ‘Story’, which is a mash- up feature of videos, photos, texts and paintings, that Snapchat friends can see through the application. The number of users of Snapchat is unknown for the public, hence the CEO and founder of the company Evan Spiegel stated on 18th November 2014, in a leaked mail exchange between the CEO and another board member:

“The argument of grow now, monetize later doesn't make sense because we have reached abnormal levels of growth and our monetization product is value-added” – Evan Spiegel (BusinessInsider, 2014).

The website Digital Marketing Ramblings (DMR, 2015) has insights of incredible statistics of Snapchat’s usage, for instance:

  • Percentage of collage (US) students that use Snapchat daily: 77%

  • Percentage of smartphone users in Norway that use Snapchat: 50%

  • Snapchat's mobile app user growth from Dec '13 – May '14: 67%

  • Amount Facebook reportedly offered to buy Snapchat for: $3 Billion

  • Percentage of marketers that use Snapchat: 1%

In order to wrap this post up, I want to illustrate the power of Snapchat by “reblog” a post from Snapchat blog (2014) regarding their feature of ‘Our Story’ used in the event at Electric Daisy Carnival. Which ended in a co-created video of 350 hours of valuable experience and stories.

It’s Live!

Today we’re expanding our favorite new product - Our Story - to cover more live events! When we launched Our Story at Electric Daisy Carnival we had our fingers crossed - we hoped the Snapchat community would contribute their unique point of view.

We were absolutely blown away when Snapchatters contributed over 350 hours of Snaps to Our Story during EDC, Rio, Outside Lands, and Lollapalooza. It was so much fun experiencing our favorite events with all of you!

You’ll notice today that there’s a new “Live” section beneath your Recent Updates. That’s where you’ll be able to experience Stories contributed by the Snapchat community at all sorts of events. It’s a great way to check out what’s happening around the world.

We’re so grateful for your awesome (and hilarious!) contributions to Our Story. The world has never experienced this before - it’s truly a product of the Snapchat community.

As the practitioners describes earlier regarding how brands are not any longer what the firm tells the customer what it is, but what the customer tell each other it is. This distinction has evolved since the rise of social media and Web 2.0, whereas theorists distinguish firm-generated brand stories and customer generated brand stories. The last mentioned is far more valuable because of a third part agreement upon a positive experience of a brand, which increase the reliability of the brand. But it lack of control, since the customer can post and communicate positive stories in the same extent of negative stories, which will affect the brand negatively (Armelini & Villanueva, 2011; Singh & Sonnenburg, 2012). This increases the importance of stimulation in the dialog on social media, since the brand and marketing manager should not sit still and observe the conversation but add the positive stories to their own and proactive work with negative stories. Gensler et al. (2013) has created a conceptual framework of this stimulus whereas they have used metaphorical approach of puzzle pieces to illustrate the stimulation of which stories that fit the firms brand stories.


Figure: Conceptual Framework of Social Media’s Impact on Brand Management. Source: Gensler et al. (2013)

My point here is that the channels between the customers and the brand can shift in order to do make a ‘positive puzzle’, whereas a co-created story is made by the firm together with the customers or users of the media, which will increase the user experience, when the user gets involved. Moreover, the content and context is co- created which creates value of transparency and solidarity, that ‘we are doing something together’ that increases the user experience. Snapchat is an illustrative example of this, whereas the brand can engage their followers to make their own stories of the engagement purpose. And Snapchat is another channel to generate these puzzle stories, created by the brands audience.

For more information regarding Snapchat and how it works, please see Marketingland’s (2015) post by Danny Sullivan where he describes its features and how brands can make sense of them.

So my recommendations for marketers to best adapt are:

  • Keep up your good work of content marketing by creating content in the right

    context for your segments and make use of your customers’ user experiences.

  • Analyse technical trends and focus on which segment that use different communication tools, platforms, application etc. and see where your brand and

    stories fits in.

  • Try out Snapchat as a brand awareness increaser; you might consider that 13-

    25 years old people mostly use this app.

  • Since Snapchat has features that limit the usage, make sure that you have a

    strategy, test it and make sure that it ‘fly’

  • Follow other marketers on Snapchat to see how the interact and engage with

    their audience.

  • You can always ask a ‘digital native’ maybe your siblings or children have

    experience of the application.

  • And Co-Create your stories and user experience together with your loyal


    By using Snapchat as marketing and branding tool, with its limited features, the communication between the organisation and its followers can be perceived as symmetric. Whereas both parties have the same condition and an open dialogue through ‘Snapchat-stories’ and by invite to engagement and Co-Create the content in an appealing way and context, so the value will be amplified in a higher extent through many-to-many communication, than if just using Snapchat as one-to-many communication platform.



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