Snapchat: 10 seconds to convert teenagers into consumers

I was asked by Harvard Business Review France to contribute with an article on the latest trends in digital marketing. So, I wrote for them my thoughts on Snapchat and why it should be used by brands. Here is the English translation of the original article

The phenomenon

Launched in 2011, Snapchat has the highest penetration rate among teenagers and young adults, according to Statista’s latest figures. It has already clearly asserted its strength in certain regions like North America, and is now in full expansion in Europe.

Snapchat has now become the holy grail of media companies and advertisers are flocking this new platform. The reason for this craze is simple: Snapchat is one of the only media that truly allows capturing and maintaining the attention of the younger generation, thanks to two of its core characteristics: transience and authenticity.

Snapchat in figures

Snapchat’s target market is the 13 to 34 year-old segment, with a core target of 13 to 24 year-olds. In the United-States, 60% of this segment that owns a smartphone is a Snapchat user. With an expected revenue of $300 million for 2016, valuation at $20 billion and 150 million active daily users worldwide, Snapchat has nothing to be ashamed of, even in the face of the other big social networks which have existed for much longer. It even had the luxury to turn down the 3 billion acquisition offer of Facebook in 2014. More than just a fun network for teens, Snapchat offers real opportunities for marketers to engage with a highly captive audience and convert young users into consumers.

Marketing applications

Snapchat offers various opportunities to brands. First, brands can pay to have their ads displayed in the Discover Channels. On these channels, media companies such as CNN, National Geographic or Vogue publish informational and entertaining content, in a digital magazine type of format. On these feeds, brands can display their ads, like they would on TV. Video format is the most popular, with more than 10 billion daily views.

Live Stories are published by users, often in relation with a particular event, and can be linked or sponsored by a brand. Coachella festival in California, for instance, saw its popularity peak with this technique, as they virtuality gave access to the festival to over 40 million young users worldwide. Practically, a Snapchat user attending the Coachella festival could make a video of his experience and submit it for review to Snapchat, which would then broadcast it on the Coachella Live Story, making it visible to all. Brands can also sponsor geographic filters, which are stickers with creative designs that can be pasted onto content posted by users. These filters use geofence and are thus only accessible in a designated geographic area.


Snapchat naturally monetises all these marketing actions, as none of them is free for brands. A brand can also naturally have its own Snapchat account and post content for free through this account. However, in this way, the content is only visible to users who are actively following the brand.

Two keys to success

Attention. Content disappears after 24 hours on the platform, and it can only be seen for a maximum of 10 seconds. For a manager, it can seem absurd to invest in content that is not made to last, however this transient aspect is precisely what makes the platform so attractive : content is instantaneous and rare. The reason for the success of transient content can be explained by the “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO), which is typical of generation Z. For them, happiness can never be reached because they cannot experience everything : modern day teenagers are thus constantly dissatisfied. This fear of missing out is so strong and deep for that generation that they try and consume as much content as possible to live as many experiences they can and stay « in ».

Thus, this functionality of a disarming simplicity is in fact the reason for Snapchat’s success : by making content ephemeral, they increase its rarity. Because of this, users are 100% attentive to what they watch, since they only have 10 seconds of their precious time to sacrifice to see it.

Intimacy. Since content is transient and because it disappear, shared content can be much more personal. In the same way in which it is consumed, content is produced rapidly, without fuss and with the emotions of the moment.

For these two reasons, brand have the ability to interact with an extremely engaged and receptive audience. By launching campaigns on Snapchat, brands can increase their visibility, reputation and relevance for young adults and propose innovative forms of content. WWF, for instance, launched a campaign called #Lastselfie, where they surfed on the selfie trend and aimed to raise awareness of endangered species. The campaign was one of the first international campaigns on Snapchat and it raised unexpected levels of attention and awareness, with over 5000 tweets seen by 6 million users in the first 8 hours following its launch. Their visibility objective was thus achieved and they won a Webby Award for the campaign.


Tips for businesses

  1. Creativity

The first crucial element of communication on Snapchat is creativity. The tool has developed a wide array of functionalities to increase creativity : emojis can be placed over pictures and videos to express emotions, as well as coloured text or filters. Young people look for entertaining content: using a light and humorous tone is thus key. In order to know and get to grips with what makes young people laugh nowadays, the easiest way is to recrute one of them internally. Many businesses now have Gen Z consultants in order to improve their Snapchat strategy. Companies such as GoSpooky in the Netherlands are flourishing: they were created by teenagers in order to provide strategic insight to business and manage their Snapchat campaigns.

  1. Relevance

On Snapchat, there is no complex algorithm that pushes specific content on people’s feeds: from the moment that someone is following your account, they have 24 hours to view what you have posted. Thus, contrary to platforms like Facebook where you have to publish regularly in order to be well positioned in people’s feed, Snapchat does not have that problem. As soon as there is content posted on your account, your followers can see it and decide to visualise it or not. This way, it is only relevant to post something if you really have something to share – otherwise, it would just be noise. For instance, if a music festival is happening during the summer, its Snapchat can burst with content during the event, but have much more spaced out posts during the rest of the year. Activity can then resume when pre-sales are opening, for instance, and this would not be a problem.

  1. Verticality

Posting on Snapchat means entering a logic of verticality, a little bit similar to magazine content, given that smartphone are most often held vertically. This means that creative content creation needs to be adapted to this new format. If Snapchat users have to turn their phone in landscape to be able to enjoy the content, it creates frictions and disengagement.

  1. Exclusivity

Snapchat, is a platform where content is not embellished. Like its target audience, Snapchat is raw, authentic. Therefore, a way to engage Snapchat audiences is to make them perceive the real and authentic aspect of a brand; to invite them to see behind the scenes. This makes exclusive content particularly appreciated on Snapchat: the most popular celebrities on Snapchat are those that let their fans enter their every day lives, posting selfies without make-up, with their real friends or families, such as Kylie Jenner or Macklemore. This genuine aspect sets Snapchat aside. In this line of thinking, brands can decide to launch a Takeover, whereby they give control of their account to a chosen influencer. Using consumers insight and (quite literally) their lens is a fantastic way to signal that your brand is authentic and bare.

These methods can help brand willing to engage the 13-24 year-olds on a relevant medium with high engagement potential. By telling a fun, authentic and relevant story, opportunities to differentiate on markets that are not yet « Snapchat mature », like France, should be grasped.

This article was initially published in French on the website of  Harvard Business Review France on this page. You can reach HBR France on LinkedIn.

Autoethnography, or when your hobby is your work

You might know that I enjoy sports and in particular Crossfit; I wrote about it in a post in 2014 where I explained what it was I why I liked it. This was during my PhD and I was up to my eyeballs with my research. At the time Crossfit was really just for fun.

Recently, I put on my marketing goggles and started thinking about Crossfit as a consumer. I also thought about the brand and what it represents – trying to debunk the massive craze around it, which has now also spread to France, thank you very much.

So here I am now, annoying every body at my Crossfit gym (which by the way is amazing, check it out if you live in or visit Bordeaux). I’m interviewing the owners, coaches and members, taking pictures and hanging around with my computer, taking notes…basically pretending to work out between two interviews (or maybe the other way around).

Another great aspect of mixing work with fun is to be able to use yourself as a case for investigation. Indeed, I am discovering how to do an auto-ethnography (analysing my own practice as a Crossfit consumer) and it is really fun…and confusing! I guess as an every-day life consumer and researcher I kind of always analyse my own consumption patterns, but doing it consciously and with a purpose is different.

I do not have yet firm results to present but I will share them here when I do. In the meantime, I’m already thanking all my masochistic participants and great colleagues who are with me on this journey. I welcome all feedback and questions on the topic, especially if you know about extreme sports or auto-ethnographies😉

And to finish off, a true statement by my favourite vilain #thejokerisalwayright



August is for personal branding

Preparing for the start of the year in academia is a new thing for me and I am excited to be working on a lot of new courses, all mainly in the area of digital marketing. One topic in particular is getting me super motivated at the moment: digital personal branding.

To learn more in this area, I have bought the Udemy course “Building a personal brand by Gary Vaynerchuck”. Gary V is a very polarizing character, and some aspects of his full-on, “in-your-face” type of personality do slightly irritate me, but I find him really inspiring here.

The ONE learning from this course is to be self-aware, to reflect on who you are. Too few of us really activelly practice self-awareness. I’m doing the exercise: it is worth it, and boils down to the following:

  • Ask yourself what you love (your passion);
  • what you are good at (your strengths);
  • and what you suck at (your weaknesses).

In the process, be true to yourself.


What you love is what you’ll be able to do every day for the rest of your life. Then come your strengths and weaknesses. The advice is to go all in on the former, and try and delegate the latter. Easier said than done, I agree. Or maybe it seems easy and you already have the answers. In any case, I recommend taking a moment to do it. You may even ask your friends what they think.

What better time than August to reflect on yourself, you career, your goals and aspirations for the year to come? Holidays are ending and it’s back to work, or back to school: be a little more self-aware!


Photo credits: Tom Hussey.


Meet the brand that shakes fashion: Made & More

First of all, greetings from the UK! I hope you enjoyed my series of guest blogs on customer experiences. Teaching is ow almost over and I’m entering the conferences season, with a first stop in Bradford, UK, at the Global Brand Conference. The topic of the conference being “brands that do good”, I want to showcase one of my favourite ethical brand.

I’m not a die-hard ethical consumer. I try to be better, I pay attention to the origin of what I buy, and try to do good. It’s not always easy, but some brands are stiring us in the right direction, like Made & More, in the fashion industry.

This industry has a global yearly revenue of over $600 billion. (that’s about the GDP of Saudi Arabia, if you are wondering). A florishing industry indeed, that inevitably uses a growing flow of natural resources to produce ‘Fast Fashion’ goods.

Fed up with the way clothes are produced and consumed, The Slow Fashion movement is promoting a more conscious and respectful fashion industry, which is conscious of the way garment is produced and consumed, and respectful of all stakeholders involved.made&more6

Made & More is an e-commerce that lives and breathes slow fashion. Here is why I love them and why I think they set an example of good marketing practice:

  • Educating consumers: because slow fashion is not commonplace for most and there still needs to be an awakening of consciouness, Made & More helps their clients to “get there”. There are tons of resources on the website and social media to learn more about slow fashion and why it matters. That’s, to me, the key of a great content strategy.
  • Sourcing the right products: Made & More does not compromise on the quality and transparency of the garment they sell on their e-shop. Every brand is carefully selected, producers are true craftmen, and the goods have a story. Small videos presenting the creators in their workshops are often posted, and they really transport the consumers there.made&more5
  • Having a real brand mission and positioning: Made & More has a clear, zero fuss positioning: to provide sustainable fashion and transparency on who made your garment and how. This transpires from every pore of their shop: from the detailed product information on site, to the way they ship and stock the goods in the background.

For these reasons, I think Made & More (and they are not the only ones in this business) are doing a great job. My only concern with slow fashion is that it remains more expensive that what we are now drilled to consider “normal” price for clothes.

However, it’s all about consuming less and better, so if instead of purchasing 3 cheap t-shirts made in Vietnam you only buy one made in the UK, it works. What do you think about slow fashion and Made & More?

Guest blogger series (4) – Personal stories

After 3 successful batches of posts by my students, here is already the last one of them! This time, the students have decided to share personal customer experiences and cast a critical eye on these, from a marketing point of view.

  • Anaïs tells her story with Blablacar
  • Leila talks about Philz, a coffee shop in the US,
  • Adame shares her disappointing experience with an e-retail, and
  • M’Boh gives his take on experiences at Zappos.

Once more, feel free to share your views on the posts. Your comments and questions help us improve and reflect on our writing!

Happy week-end,


Blablacar: The dark side of a collaborative marketing website

A post by Anaïs KAJJAJ, MSc student in Digital Marketing @KEDGE Business School.

As a traditional customer I am lazy when it comes to purchasing online. I don’t want to spend hours on a website; everything must be quick and easy to use, straight to the point. Blablacar clearly understands it, but according to me has some issues concerning trust in the customer experience.

It is easier than ever to travel with their service. I, as a Blablacar user, feel pleased when going on the website or the application. Everything is made to make you feel comfortable. It is all about flat design, just indicating where you are, where you want to go and when… then a list of nice people just shows up in front of you! The price, the reviews, the number of available seats is clearly indicated; you even have a picture of the driver to help you feel more confident. The purchasing process is also very intuitive with a single step, you can even create your account by logging in with your Facebook account. Then, you have access to the phone number of the driver, and you can organize the trip with him through your mobile. It’s hard to make it simpler.

But even if I’m glad to have such an easy access to the service, I don’t feel really at ease when going through the website. Indeed, even if you have an access to good reviews in the front page, when looking for a driver, sometimes it kind of looks like a jungle.


Really bad reviews, driver letting people down 2 minutes before the meeting, rude driver and passenger… These kinds of information can have a really bad impact when trying to purchase online. It’s like there is no real moderation or control, anyone can subscribe, and you actually are the one moderating and controlling the driver, by having a bad experience with them and then writing a bad review.  You just have to trust the person and pray that he/she is as nice as he/she looks on their profile picture, because Blablacar takes no part in it. And be prepared when paying, because even if the price is fair most of the time, you still have to pay compensation to Blablacar… And you don’t even know why.

In my opinion, trust is the basis of the creation of a relationship with a brand, even more so if there is a risk for your own security. It is the difficulty companies like Blablacar have to deal with in collaborative economy. I as a customer already lived a bad experience with a Blablacar driver, and I feel sad about it because the service itself is practical and very innovative. I would love to have your opinion about it and share our own experiences!


The one and only café experience – Philz

A post by Leila FAN, MSc student in Digital Marketing @KEDGE Business School.

The other day one of my friends posted this on we chat “God please bring Philz to China; I swear to you guys once you’ve tasted Philz’s coffee you would never step in Starbucks again”.

I stared at my screen and asked myself “Well, it’s a coffee shop, what’s the fuss about it?”

After that, I started to dig in, I found that this coffee shop is indeed one of a kind. Coffee shops are just like mushrooms in the rainforests: they rise and fall in big cities and you can easily find a bunch of them in any neighborhood. But there are some things that made Philz stand out. Well, by “standing out” I meant Philz was the coffee provider of Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding.

When you walk into Philz, it gives you mixed feelings: you can see a variety of people hanging out in there: hipster, Silicon Valley elites, mums and maybe some constructions workers. Somehow, this cafe brings everyone together. So what exactly does Philz do to make itself one of a kind?

  • The devastating menu and their hand filtered cafe. Anyway, a cafe is a cafe, the product itself plays an essential role in the game. According to Philz’s founder, Phil Jaber, he has spent 7 bloody years in researching the best coffee. From choosing the beans, working the baking process and designing those fancy coffee favors. For example, one of my buddy’s favorites, “the Greater Alarm”, there are Nuts berry and pineapple in it— seriously ? !


The greatest stuff. Well they’re not going to call your name when the coffee is ready like they do in Starbucks. Philz’s stuff are genius in a different way: they will make your very own special coffee according to your preference and they’ll casually talk to you while they pull the 96 degree hot water into the filter. Your personal coffee is made in front of your eyes. And this exchange between the coffee maker and the client really makes the experience more intimate and personal.


  • Casual ambiance & decorations. When you first walk into the Philz in San Francisco, you will probably feel like walking in somebody’s home. You can find pictures of the owners’ families on the wall, casual coffee makers who are not even wearing uniforms, smiling and small talks between them and the customers… Everything feels so intimate. This particular ambiance almost makes it feel like a communist community… remember we talked about plumbers and techies just talking like there’s no big deal?

However some might say that, all these elements are not really “unique” among cafes, but success is chemical instead of physical, don’t you guys think?

Leila FAN

A lot of shoes, low prices, free shipping, what is the trap?

A post by Adam TALL, MSc student in Digital Marketing @KEDGE Business School.

Which girl would not dream of this? A closet full of bags, purses, heels, boots, sandals, ballet shoes. What would be perfect would be to have all this at a low price. Right, ladies?

Some people would argue that it is a dream that will never come true. Well, you are mistaken, JUSTFAB made your dream come true, girls. Maybe it will be nightmare after, but at the beginning, it’s a dream. JUSTFAB includes:

  • Pair of shoes for all type of occasionsTALL 1
  • Lower prices
  • Free deliveries
  • Easy access to services
  • Easy registrations

You’ve got to admit they set up the bar high for us ladies.

All this can only make us dream, right?

The thing is you need to be careful about what you see. Having a “face full of make-up” is a must nowadays. You need to seek for what is hidden behind these layers. Many people saw the true colors of JUSTFAB, and I can confirm that it is not pleasant to discover that a same face when cleaned up could be totally different from the one with tons of make-up.

When you log in for the first time on the JUSTFAB website and you make your first order, everything seems so simple, I would even say a little bit too simple. Your order is confirmed and delivered on time, your shoes look like the one you chose online and life is beautiful.

However, when signing in, were you told that you were subscribing to JUSTFAB? Did you pay attention to that clause mentioning that your bank account will be debited 39, 95€ every month?

Your dream could become a nightmare:

Every month JUSTFAB will be taking 39, 95€ from your bank account. From their point of view, you have to buy a shoes every month. Right it’s nice, but what if we do not want it? If we cannot afford to pay 39, 95€ every month for one reason or another?

On the website they mentioned that you are able to cancel this option at any time. You have to login every month and cancel it before the fifth of every month. If you forget they will debit 39, 95 euro from your bank account, and unfortunately they will never return this money.

Some girls have tried to unsubscribe the offer but then they met a way less pleasant customer service.

The question to be asked is: Where is the community manager of Justfab?

Most of the customers that have sent an email to the customer service received as answer that they could unfortunately not return the money due to reasons that they do not state in their mails.

How could a customer service be so unscrupulous? Where is the customer value? How could JUSTFAB keep his customer’s loyalty and trust with the way they treat them?

This is a very unpleasant customer experience and of course, as the customers share their experiences, JUSTFAB often loses a large number of customers.


Some of the customers are badly reacting on JUSTFAB’s social media and the notoriety of JUSTFAB is rapidly decreasing due to the not so good customer’s experiences. We are not here to judge them but to create instead an awareness among the customers.

If you think that those practices are acceptable, nobody will judge you but, do you think it is fair to be credited 39, 95 euro every month without your approval? Do you think that it is fair to be forced to buy shoes every month in the same shop?

Think about it, and don’t forget to leave a comment to let me know your point of view.


Great customer experience at Zappos

A post by M’Boh ASSOUMA, MSc student in Digital Marketing @KEDGE Business School.


This story is about Channel. Channel has been a Zappos customer for a long time. She like them, she trust them and she love the fact that she can order something, and if she doesn’t like it she doesn’t have to jump through a gazillion hoops in order to return it. This is especially helpful if you have a slight shoe addiction.

On Monday, she lost her favorite sunglasses. She was at the beach and needed sunglasses. She could have hunted all over the island for someplace that sold them, but that would’ve cut into her happy time. Priorities, people.

Instead, she logged onto Zappos at 4pm the day of her unfortunate wave diving incident, and ordered a replacement pair. As soon as she hit “buy” she realized she hadn’t selected expedited delivery (which was an extra $15-25) and thought that was a stupid move on her part. She can’t swim without wearing contacts, and if she is wearing contacts, she really needs sunglasses. Surely that’s worth an extra $25, right? She immediately called Zappos’ customer service number to modify her purchase. The nice rep  she got took just a minute to look up her account and said, “Well, Channel, even though you didn’t order expedited delivery, you’re a VIP customer. We upgraded you as soon as we got the order, free of charge.” Free. Expedited. Delivery. Without asking for it. Without paying for it.

She asked when it would ship and he said that it would ship on Tuesday (since the order was received late in the day) and that it would arrive on Wednesday. Perfect.

The next morning – one day later — she got up and went out for a bike ride and breakfast. When she got back to the house at a little before Noon, there was a Zappos box on the front step.

That’s not only expedited delivery, it’s how did they make this happen so fast, ridiculously awesome delivery.

Based on Channel experienc,e we have two characteristics to make great customers experience.

1-Confidence: Based on her history the company made the delivery without getting delivery cost.

2-Right moment: They deliver the product a the right moment as the know what were happened to the customer.

Then to make a good customer experience company should be able to anticipate the right moment to provide a great experience for the customer. 


Guest blogger series (3) – Business Practice

It’s already time for the third batch of guest posts! The students in the spotlight today have decided to focus on specific business practices in the field of customer experience, and to critically analyse them. They are discussing specific concepts or media used in digital customer experience strategies.

More specifically, the topics covered today are:

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I did and, as usual, we are looking forward to your reactions.

Happy Monday, everyone!