Why Snapchat rebranding to Snap will take some of the pressure off

Does Snapchat rebranding to Snap show fear? Or should we be applauding it for innovating? Marketing Week reporter Rachel Gee weighs up the decision.

Snapchat looks like it is distancing itself from the social media space by removing the ‘chat’ from its name and rebranding to just Snap Inc.

On the surface, the move was made because the company plans to expand its image to be more than just a messaging app. In fact, it will soon be tapping into the wearables trend with the consumer product ‘Snapchat Spectacles’ – glasses that can record 30 second videos and look very much like the younger, trendier sibling of Google Glass.

The bright colours and music of the first ad for ‘Snapchat Spectacles’ looks to be targeting the fashion-conscious millennials that largely populate the social media app, while the clever price point of £100 makes them cheaper than a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. The fact that Snapchat is now offering a physical product also leaves the gates wide open for potential fashion brand collaborations as well.

In a blog post last week, Snapchat, sorry Snap, CEO Evan Spiegel said: “When we were just getting started it made sense to name our company Snapchat Inc., because Snapchat was our only product.

“Now that we are developing other products, like Spectacles, we need a name that goes beyond just one product—but doesn’t lose the familiarity and fun of our team and brand.”

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The Snapchat Spectacles in all their glory

However, it must be considered that the move was not necessarily an organic one. In fact, it looks like a necessity in the wake of the launch of Instagram Stories, which many critics believe was a direct copy of Snapchat’s memories function. The launch pitted Snapchat, which has 100 million users, in direct competition with a much bigger opponent (Instagram has 500 million), which openly admitted to copying its rival.

In rebranding, the move takes some pressure away from Snapchat. With it no longer operating purely in the social media space, spats with Instagram look like a single entry on a long list of priorities. And if Snapchat’s user growth is to slow, it can always fall back on its new ‘camera-tech creator’ identity.

However, don’t be surprised if Instagram is making notes and readying a rival for the Snapchat Spectacles as we speak.