A picture-sharing one-to-one messaging service where the content disappears after a few seconds? Doesn’t sound like the ideal place for brands to be, with the current focus on maximising the impact of content and building long-term relationships with fans.
However, when Lynx decided to host an exclusive, clandestine launch party we knew we had to find a way to ‘leak’ exclusive content to core fans, and Snapchat looked like a good choice. It allowed us to distribute “the real behind-the-scenes” images of our host, Charlie Webster, on a photo shoot and being put through her paces on our space-themed assault course. We asked fans to connect with us in the 48 hours before the event and posted a few candid images throughout the day to our few hundred new-found friends. The responses came back thick and fast (and with a few interesting images), all suggesting that we were using the platform in the same way that Lynx fans already were.
This was the first time a Unilever brand had used the platform, but Lynx fans aren’t interested in ‘firsts’ – what they want is compelling content, and our job is always to find new, engaging ways of delivering that. We reasoned that, if this meant opening ourselves up to ‘sexts’ from the odd fan, that’s the price we’d have to pay. So far, our experience has been blissfully genital-free, but on those odd occasions where responses have been close to the line, we’ve been able to respond with an image of the new Deep Space shower gel, urging people to clean up and take a cold shower…
While an interesting experiment into the platform, this was a time-consuming way to communicate with Lynx fans, and has now opened the floodgates for Snapchats left, right and centre – even when we’re not looking to receive messages from fans, they’re looking to send them out to us. The cost of viewing and responding to all these images is potentially extremely high when compared to the reward of improving relationships with individuals. We’re always looking for ways to drive deeper engagement, but we don’t want to ignore the bulk of our fans to serve exclusive content to a few, so (in the same way that Asos approached Skype with their one-to-one consultations) our next task is working out how best we can use this platform to support our always-on approach, to make sure we deliver the content our fans want in the way they want it across the board.