Snapchat is now Snap Inc., a telling “picture” of the company’s plans for diversification. What started as a fun way to send silly messages to friends has grown into a social media giant and now a camera company valued at $18 billion by investors in 2016.
The first outside-the-app offering by Snap Inc. comes by way of an innovation called Spectacles—WiFi sunglasses that record up to 10 seconds of video on a wide angle lens, which can then be uploaded to Snapchat. A limited supply will be sold this fall for $129.99 per pair in a choice of three colors.
The expansion from social app to camera company makes sense—offering Snap Inc. a way to capitalize on photography, the very thing that drives its brand. Although the company has yet to reveal other products just yet, the Spectacles give us a good idea of where the brand is headed.
“We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate,” reads the new Snap Inc. website. “Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together.” Snap Inc. has yet to define how they will “reinvent” the camera itself, but the statement implies innovation.
Spectacles, for example, allows users to capture and share memories while remaining hands-free. Lights on the glasses turn on to let others know when owners are recording. It is otherwise less bulky (and more fashionable) than a Go Pro camera strapped to one’s forehead, while remaining a low-cost alternative to Google Glasses. Memories are a major selling point for the new product, utilizing frontline marketing and nostalgia to create an emotional attachment to the brand.
Snapchat is largely becoming a hub for brands to reach users on an emotional or entertaining level, and the app now offers three new targeted ad offerings. Time will tell how these new cameras will benefit outside marketers, although they sure would be easy to use for a Snapchat scavenger hunt.