Over the past few years the value proposition of Snapchat as an advertising platform has been slowly rising.
Initially it gained popularity with mass-market companies, like Taco Bell. However, now haute-culture brands are increasingly embracing the channel. In fact, Snapchat has arguably become more advantageous for luxury over any other industry.
Yet, some would argue that the very nature of Snapchat is at odds with what it means to be a ‘luxury brand’. This is because brands have to conform to Snapchat's aesthetic and formatting guidelines. This could, as some believe, dilute the brand image.
So, is Snapchat sabotaging the intrinsic nature of luxury marketing? Or is it a reflection of the changing nature of the luxury market?
A New Form of Brand Storytelling
With the exception of using the Stories feature, Snapchat users are limited to 10 seconds of video. This is arguably problematic for luxury brands - who often rely on their rich brand narrative to establish and maintain their value.
However, brands must appreciate that the luxury market has greatly diversified. There is now an emerging consumer group of aspirational individuals who can happily consume branded content in snackable chunks.
This is specifically relevant to Snapchat as 60% of their 160 million daily active users are in the millennial age bracket - with 71% under 25.
Everlane have adopted Snapchat to target this digitally native market and enhance the brand-customer relationship. The brand delivers short, snackable content in the form of exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and surprise Q&As. Furthermore, they utilise the social platform for community management - replying to followers’ snaps and liking their content.
As Everlane show, Snapchat is a powerful tool for reaching a young, fashion-forward market. Through the channel brands can cultivate a stronger relationship with individuals at crucial touchpoints.
Moreover, the social channel offers opportunities to be creative and bold. Rather than expecting Snapchat to conform to their needs, luxury brands should push the boundaries of their social marketing - embracing the channel to create edgy, more risqué, content.
As one of the pioneering luxury brands using Snapchat, Tiffany broke away from their traditional identity to develop a social strategy that specifically targeted Gen Z customers. The jewellery brand launched their own set of branded geofilters as well as collaborating with Kylie Jenner for sponsored snaps.
Valentino similarly push the boundaries of luxury through their Snapchat activity. Beyond giving brands a behind-the-scenes look at their Fashion Week shows (as Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger have done), the brand regularly shares snaps from showrooms and stores, presenting their different products. Furthermore, they’re very liberal in the use of emojis and text on their images - breaking away from a typically luxury aesthetic. As L2’s Intelligence Group director Claude de Jocas states “[Valentino have] been able to drive authenticity and pull back the curtain on such a highly editorialised look”.
It is essential in marketing to be present on media platforms where you can reach your target market. The young audience that is currently active on Snapchat isn’t necessarily currently buying luxury goods. However, in the coming years these individuals will grow their disposable income. Therefore, through Snapchat, luxury brands can build initial connections with these individuals as they grow their market power
Many would argue that Instagram is the most powerful tool for fashion and luxury social media marketing.
Certainly Instagram dominates Snapchat in terms of sheer number of users (over 600 million accounts and 300 million daily users). Furthermore, while Snapchat was one of the fastest-growing social networks in 2016, it has been severely impacted by the launch of Instagram Stories - which already has 150 million daily users.
However, with the release of Snapchat Spectacles, the social channel has made another step towards rooting itself within fashion and luxury circles. While the wearable market has been somewhat inconsistent, several fashion industry leaders have praised the chic and quirky style of Snapchat’s Spectacles.
Furthermore, as seen with L’Oréal’s Golden Globes campaign, the Spectacles allow brands’ to diversify their social marketing - delivering to their audience more dynamic content.