MAD Designs |Branding Case Study of Snap Chat

SnapChat

SnapChat was in use by almost 77% college students daily and in 2014 it became clear platform to engage with audience. SnapChat had high engagement levels in 2015 and was received with enthusiasm.

Snapchat is a mobile app widely used to share videos and photos with your family and friends. The apps main concept is that the shared messages and pictures are available for a very short time and they become invisible, literally disappear.

What did the CEO of SnapChat say?

SnapChat is in the news again, but now for different reason. The CEO of the company, Evan Spiegel called India poor. Technically, Spiegel did not speak anything in public. But, the 'poor India' statement came from an ex-employee of Snapchat, Anthony Pompliano, as Variety reported. Anthony said to the website that Spiegel, the CEO in September 2015 said the 'app is meant for rich people only' and he does not wish to expand in poor countries like India and Spain.

This is an indirect statement received from Snapchat ex-employee, who was fired three weeks ago as he did not part his previous employer Facebooks secrets to Snapchat. Anthony sued Snapchat for terminating him without revealing the reason and due to this he was unable to find a new job.

At the same time, report from a US based new site respected for its reporting accuracy, The Information also did not confirm Spiegel's statement, yet it says the CEO of Snapchat did make remarks about India. The entire fiasco is confusing.

Indians Reaction

As expected, Hyper-reaction! Indian users were triggered that the Snapchat app went down to 1 from 5 on the iOS Apple store. Many uninstalled, slammed the app and its CEO even on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Twitter got flooded with #boycottsnapchat.

How Snapdeal got wrapped?

Snapdeal got wrapped as it has the word 'Snap'. Snapchat and Snapdeal looked similar that many people uninstalled Snapdeal as well.

Response of Snapchat on this controversy

The company denied the statement and sent to several websites official statement claiming The CEO said nothing as 'Poor India' and it was false accusation. The company said Snapchat is for all and is available for free download worldwide.

How to control?

The only way of controlling is by coming clean on record. Spiegel must come out and reiterate the fact and if he said it, he must give a reason. He is obliged now to do so as it is a public traded company answerable to shareholders.

Already Instagram stories have overtaken Snapchat as it has 200 million active users than Snapchats 160 million active daily users. Spiegel must address personally and no lawyer intervention will clarify his act. There is no doubt that India and Spain are the countries developing the growth market for companies such as Snapchat. Hoping such rumours will experience a natural death is not right.

Overtaken

The growth of Snapchat is plateau, while the Instagram stories and Facebook, snapchat hard-core rival has gone far ahead.

Facebook presence is deep in India, while Snapchat has nothing. There is a semblance of Snapchat presence only in UK, Australia, France, Ukraine and Canada, outside the US. The vast millennial population in India needs to be addressed if Snapchat wishes to see a growth in the future.

Negative publicity

'Snapchat CEO insulted out motherland' this was the common sentiment. This hatred took the brand image to a hit that it has existing alienated users and they prevent others also from downloading this app. There are possibilities that few hardcore users may stick around.

Snapchat was in the news even when Tanmay Bhat, the stand-up comedian showed the image-swap filter of Indian icons Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar fun snaps. It was focussed on the messenger and not the medium, yet the Snapchat overall lens was negative and it was on the news mainstream for such instances, though it may not associate itself.

Snapchat needs to learn lessons from the Nestle Maggi, how the brand sentiment went negative. Here the asking point is Will Snapchat be back?

Doing business in India is not so easy for local and international companies. Though Snap.Inc is over six years old and is yet playing the waiting game and extending it longer. Snap Inc must remember that waiting too long into growth markets to expand means you will be disappearing bread crumbs.

Conclusion

Facebook and Twitter have enjoyed massive user growth. Now Snapchat is hoping to come with a lite-version to expand its market in India, so that the users are on board and the connectivity improves. Definitely a true testing time for Snap Inc, let's see if it sets success record or takes out an easy way hoping the controversy to die a decelerate death.