16 Handles

Inside the 16 Handles Snapchat Strategy: An Interview with Adam Britten

“You always hear ‘go where your customers are,’ so we did.”
 Adam Britten, a community manager at popular New York City-based frozen yogurt shop 16 Handles, shared these words of wisdom when describing his company’s new promotion. It takes social media marketing to a new level, using a popular new application known as Snapchat
Adam Britten
Adam Britten
Even though Snapchat is normally used solely to send private pictures to friends, 16 Handles is taking a different approach and is the first brand to use the service for marketing purposes. In its campaign, “Snappy New Year,” users are able to snap a picture of themselves (or a friend) tasting a flavor of 16 Handles yogurt to the company account in exchange for a discount on their order.
Adam, an alumnus of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University and Hult International Business School in London, spends most of his time overseeing the social media marketing across all the brand’s channels. 
Words from the Creator
I had the opportunity to ask Adam a few questions about this unique idea. 
How did you come up with the idea to integrate Snapchat into your marketing program?

Adam Britten: I was initially working on a similar campaign that would have run on Twitter, but I was running into some roadblocks. Then I started noticing a lot of our customers listing their Snapchat usernames on Twitter, or including Snapchat-related hashtags on Instagram, so I knew that we had to be on there.  Snapchat’s functionality fit this promotion better, and our core customer is a Snapchat user, so it was a natural fit.

How successful do you think this idea has been thus far?

AB: One of our goals for this was exposure, so we are happy with the coverage this promo has received (in publications such as Ad Age and Mashable). As far as actual numbers go from the campaign, it’s harder to say, since this period is serving as a litmus test for us, only running at six of our stores. 

Are you surprised by all the press coverage that you have received?

AB: Yes. Although we are a popular brand in New York, our total reach isn’t as large as some of our competitors (ie: Red Mango, Pinkberry). It’s nice to see a smaller brand like us being featured in these worldwide publications.

Do you see your company continuing to use Snapchat as a marketing medium?

AB: Yes. As I said, this was a test for us. We wanted to get a feel for the platform, since we are the first brand to use it. Our intention is to clean things up, work out the kinks, and then roll the promotion out system-wide (to all of our stores) at a later date.

Do you think other companies will follow in your footsteps?

AB: It’s hard to say. Not all businesses will benefit from disappearing coupons, so I wouldn’t expect brands across all industries to jump onto Snapchat. That being said, we were the first to do this, but I would be surprised if we were the last. Snapchat’s user base is growing, and eventually, other brands will want to tap into its potential.

The Importance of Being the First

Everyone knows that in the world of marketing, being the first is extremely valuable. 16 Handles is the only company so far to take advantage of Snapchat for marketing purposes, and while people can argue if they think this decision is beneficial or not, nobody can argue that the company was the first to take the leap into using this new app.16-handles-brings-back-pumpkin-flavored-fro-yo

We can think back to the early days of another popular application, Instagram, and note which companies were brave enough to branch out into the seemingly unknown world of this service. Companies that made the list, such as Starbucks and Red Bull, now have access to a user base of over 50 million people. Based on these results, it seems only logical that taking a risk on a popular new app could present massive returns. 

Now that you have heard what Adam has to say, let’s hear your thoughts! Do you think 16 Handles is on the brink of a new trend for advertisements?  Do you see a future for disappearing ads? Let me know in the comments below!

Lindsey Silverman

Lindsey is currently a student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. She loves all things social media, so connect with her on Twitter: @Lindzsilver

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