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Snapchat Spectacles

— Briana Campbell 

Snapchat is in the headlines once again. This time with a $130 pair of fashion-forward sunglasses.

Snap Inc.’s (née Snapchat) new Spectacles — sunglasses with an embedded camera that automatically pushes recorded content to the Memories section of the Snapchat app in a circular video format — allow people to record snippets of their daily life in a brand new way. The video captured is similar to the 360-degree video that other platforms are touting as the next way to drive deeper user engagement, but it brings that video much closer to a user’s actual perception — which, in addition to being really cool, makes it more personal and relatable. With Spectacles, Snap Inc. once again proves that it not only spots trends, it gets in front of them to put them in the hands of everyone.

According to a 2016 study from Austin-based Center of Generational Kinetics, younger users favor more personal and immediate social networks. And we are seeing a shift as Gen Z and millennials move toward direct messaging apps, “dark social” networks, and content that shifts closer to an exclusively first-person perspective. Some of this is about privacy, and for millennials and Gen Z, who mostly grew up publicly online, they understand the way digital platforms work and are eager to engage where advertisers and brands can’t track or react to their every move. But it’s also about using platforms to forge more personal connections, where they can be themselves — creative, playful, weird and real — without judgement.

Snapchat is about being in the moment, and sharing the moment, and has always attempted to capture, if only for a moment, real life. In Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel’s vision for the company, noted in a recent WSJ piece, he doesn’t perceive Snapchat as a social network — he views it as the next step in the evolution of camera companies. Spectacles set the stage for Snap Inc.’s evolution — as a company that pushes the boundaries of what it means to experience and relive one’s memories (bringing to mind the now classic “Mad Men” Carousel episode), giving users the opportunity to capture moments with an output virtually identical to the way they experienced them.

Snapchat has long been on the cutting edge of social trends, and there are a few things brands can learn from the company’s evolution to Snap Inc. and the rollout of Spectacles:

  1. Be where your consumers are, and behave like they do. Brands need to show up naturally in their consumers’ social feeds. Tailor content for not only the creative specs of the channel, but for how users engage on those channels. Be authentic.
  2. Be future-facing. Though Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social apps in history, Snap Inc. realized that it must constantly look ahead to meet its users’ wants and needs — and that by constantly innovating, not only its product but its company, it can get there before users even know they want and need it. We see the launch of Spectacles putting pressure on companies like GoPro, while at the same time opening up the door for third-party accessories.
  3. Embrace the dark side. As millennials and Gen Z move toward less public, and less easily trackable, methods of social sharing, brands that integrate themselves into these private moments and one-on-one conversations will have an opportunity to gain market share and long-term customer loyalty.

Because of its limited production run, we won’t be seeing Spectacles on the eyes of every trendy millennial tomorrow, but it’s not about that. Spectacles raise the bar for companies rolling out platforms, product and content in the hopes of engaging and keeping the lucrative millennial and Gen Z markets.

Ready to evolve your own conversation? Discover more how WE can help you stay ahead of the trends. Contact WESocial&Digital@we-worldwide.com.