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DGC Roundtable: SnapChat & Hot Apps

The DGC Roundtable is moderated by our Fall Intern, Jamie Kurke.

The early buzz around the DGC bullpen this week stemmed from Yahoo’s investment in SnapChat. With the latest app to be acquired/invested by a big brand, our question this week was:

What’s the next big app / your favorite app that everyone should use?

Peyton McCarthy, Account Coordinator:

Timehop – I don’t think it’s new to everyone, but it is to me and it’s fantastic. It keeps an archive of your social network posts/statuses and allows you to see exactly what you were up to in years past on that exact date. It’s almost like an effortless diary or time capsule. Definitely would recommend to anyone who is an avid user of social media – sometimes things I don’t remember pop up and they happened just a year ago. Sometimes they are from a bit farther down memory lane and can be a bit embarrassing, but always great material for a #TBT

Kathy Sampey, Vice President

I don’t know about the ‘hottest’ app, but my favorite one is Best Parking, which helps me find parking garages near my Manhattan destinations for the best price.

Jamie Kurke, Intern

As someone who is attached to her phone at the hip, I try out new apps on a pretty regular basis (mainly puzzle games, to be honest, but I’m pretty sure no one else will be captivated by those.)

My latest and greatest find is Snap, by Groupon. It’s amazing for anyone looking to save a few bucks on groceries without having to wait in that mind-numbing Trader Joes line. All you have to do is browse the app for products on promo, buy them at ANY store, send in a picture with proof of purchase, and after you’ve saved $20, you get a check. Where has this been all of my life?

Another great one for New Yorkers is the Transit App, which gives real-time updates on the nearest public transportation. It’s a really great time-management tool– especially when it comes to those pesky trains (ahem, NQR) that don’t post their departure times in the station.

Patrick Wentling, Account Executive:

It’s by no means a “new” app, but the one that’s really changed the way my friends interact is Venmo. Simply put, it serves as virtual cash from your bank account to transfer money to your friends. While most banks play nice with each other within the same network, Venmo is bank agnostic. Gone are the days of “I have no cash” or massive headaches over splitting a restaurant bill. Venmo allows you to pay up (or charge up) right away so everybody endures the same damage.

The other app that is useful for New Yorkers is an app our President Howie Schacter referred to me called Exit Strategy, which gives a map of subway stations and where each staircase will take you above ground, and what subway car you need to take to be close to it. It’s a “premium app” but very worth it to save time while in the underbelly of NYC.

Jules Smith, HR Director

GreenHopping is one of my favorite new health apps…

It makes being healthy in the city and when you travel so much easier!

This app helps the green consumer seek out and access  healthy eateries by placing all vegan, raw, gluten-free and vegetarian restaurants, as well as green juice bars, cold-pressed juice bars, green smoothie bars and health food stores on an electronic map locate via a GPS mobile application. I love it for me because I am obsessed with juicing and love it for my kids so they can eat out with healthy delicious options!

Gemma Pollard, Vice President

Noted: an app that​ helps you remember bars/restaurants/places you want to go, saving new searches on Yelp everytime someone says “Where should we go tonight for dinner?”

Pocket: couldn’t love Pocket (formerly Read It Later) more. I have to consume a lot of content each day and Pocket lets me delay reading of non-urgent stories/articles until I have time (even if I don’t have wifi)

Evernote is a no-brainer for lists, but I love that I can access all of my notes seamlessly across devices, or through any web browser

Sara Ajemian, Account Director

Gemma introduced me to Noted – it’s an excellent app that lets you save best places you’ve been to or those that friends have recommended. So when you’re on the go and unsure of where to eat/say/drink, you can pull up a map of wherever you are give yourself a digital memory jog.

Kelsey Merkel, Senior Account Executive

I do find the Venmo app to be extremely useful and secure. With Venmo you can make and share payments instantly. Since not all banks allow seamless bank-to-bank transfers, Venmo makes it easy to deposit money directly from your chosen bank account into the bank account of the person of your choice.

Normally I would be skeptical on this type of app in terms of security, but with all of the talks about Apple’s new Apple Pay with the iPhone and Google Wallet, mobile payments are sure to be something that will continue to gain attention and consumer use in the coming months, proving that security is really a non-issue.

Ten Seconds Or Less

SnapChat is like The Little Engine That Could. Its rivals pulled out all of the stops to buy it, duplicate it, replace it and eradicate it – yet the network is still popular.

What’s interesting about SnapChat is its perception, which, for lack of a better term, snaps back and forth in terms of good and bad press.  The early days of SnapChat led many to believe it’s purely an app for all kids to “sext.” And every few weeks, there’s some sort of SnapChat privacy story – various articles on how safe those snaps are (or aren’t,) an actual data breach, or how legal the content of snaps may be.  In a post-Snowden world, these types of privacy breaches would be a kiss of death. Yet the network continues to persevere for its users.

Last week, SnapChat’s founders were on the cover of Forbes’ 30 under 30 – among other things, sharing how Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg essentially bullied the founders to sell to him or face extinction through Facebook’s version of the app Poke. As we now know, Poke fizzled and SnapChat thrives.

Now the startup, like many other networks in the space, is looking to monetize through advertising.  Yet the network needs to find a genuine way to make these ads happen, with content that people actually want to see.  HBO, always one of the boundary pushers in new avenues for social advertising, launched a SnapChat account tied to its popular show “Girls.” The extension is perfect for the show, as one can easily imagine the characters attempting to decipher what their potential suitors are implying by snapping emojis of pandas and guns.

While many critics, professional and amateur, are quick to remind everyone that SnapChat’s founders each passed on more than $750 million in Zuckerberg’s buyout offer, the network’s popularity among users is as great as it’s even been.  It goes to show that a brand can overcome bad press and a potentially bad reputation by sticking to the company’s brand and messaging. Yet so far, SnapChat may need to work on its sincerity when accepting its flaws, and there have been more than a few instances recently.  One could chalk up this up to the brashness of Silicon Valley hotheads – call it growing pains. Finding your voice and credibility is not easily done in today’s hyper reactive world – particularly when there can be so much on the line – and minor stories can explode into “national scandals.” That’s not to say every brand can survive bad press; it requires buzz, a dedicated following and a little bit of luck – but it is indeed possible.

We’re looking forward to following SnapChat’s business evolution in the coming weeks and months.

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