The Speakeasy for Social Media

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Generation Z, Snapchat and how it can help brands develop their in-store profile online

Fast, malleable and independent, Generation Z does not hang on Facebook or sit scrolling with the millennials through endless reams of images and quotes on Instagram and Twitter. This is the generation of instant unfiltered gratification and self-expression. Forget swiping kids, it's all about the snaps and taps.

Launched in 2011 the revolutionary app, Snapchat has raised a family of over 100 million users. This social media platform is about providing a personal window into the way you and your friends see the world, living in the now, through the real-time upload and 24 hour expiration, expressing who you are in that very moment. The concept of an everlasting persona does not exist here.

This week's leading headline in the world of social media highlights Snapchat and its change of name to Snap Inc. establishing how the company aims to expand beyond the Snapchat app and towards cameras overall. A minute after releasing this news another blog post announced their newest product soon to be released in the U.S. – Spectacles. A pair of Sunglasses with a built-in camera designed to wirelessly transfer video clips to the Snapchat app. Using a 115 degree lens and circular video this $130 pair of shades aims to be orientation agnostic on both android and iOS devices. Google Glass was the first attempt at this however the products fame was short-lived as users were quickly dubbed 'Glassholes'. Spectacles reveal exactly what Google Glass lacked - fun. Spectacles make it easier to take point of view action shots and share them with the world. Affordable and user-friendly, this product will be at the top of every Z-Gen's Christmas list.

While this ever growing online-app world advances, an increasing number of brands struggle to draw consumer's in-store. Online shopping plays a large role in the retail industry as many consumers go straight to the webpage to order and others merely browse through the store to then later order the same product or cheaper online. Viewed as two separate entities for so long brands now see the need to connect the in-store and online environment.

Burberry was one of the first in the UK to successfully use Snapchat as a platform to advertise their new 2016 spring collection through the build up to the fashion show. Driving engagement and building much anticipation around the date of sale, Burberry made the line exclusively available in store and gave viewers a virtual 'uncensored' backstage pass to the show.

River Island recently partnered with Snapchat to create bespoke branded geofilters that activate in-store. Live in over 280 stores (UK and Republic of Ireland) the activation is running for three months to support the brand's new polaroid-inspired advertising campaign. This takes cues from the retailer's autumn ad campaign, featuring Lindsey Wixson in a series of casual shots similar to that of polaroids. To keep things current, the filters are designed to highlight key brand and cultural messages that will vary across the season. To encourage customer engagement, the brand is running a competition offering users who have shared snaps of the filters on either Twitter or Instagram a chance to win a £1,000 shopping spree and a digital camera. This is the first campaign of its kind for a fashion brand and we can't wait to see the results!

So what you say? Most teens have Snapchat practically embedded in their phones and often use its messaging abilities more than other standardized methods. We believe Snapchat, although directed at Generation Z, holds the key to uncensored, instantaneous information giving viewers a peek into a diverse world, and more importantly a brand, and retailer's experience.

By highlighting the great use of location-based technology in Snapchat, brands could easily create the perfect store based activation.

So, as many retailers look to drive engagement rather than sales, we think the example of River Island is an exciting toe-in-the-water of what is possible with this established social media platform.

With so many opportunities presented through the use of social media it is no wonder technology is said to be placed in the same category as water, with people checking their phones within 14 minutes of waking up in the morning. Z Gen are guided by their social influencers but still want to go in-store to view their purchase – this is where expectation meets their reality. Snapchat is indeed the Z Gen link between online and reality through the most real and accessible lens.

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