Upon reading the news headlines this morning, I was astounded to see this story detailing that one tweet from Kylie Jenner, a reality TV star, had knocked $1.3bn off Snapchat's stock market value. It begs the questions why did this happen and what could Snapchat have done to avoid it?
Snapchat have recently made a controversial update to their interface that has divided opinion amongst its users. We see this with operating systems all the time in the work place too; be it with Windows, IOS, Microsoft Office etc, integrating updates and ‘improvements’ to existing solutions that people understand, is never without issue. When these updates occur, you usually get three general groups of people: those that are for it, those that are set against it and the largest group; the uncommitted to what side of the fence they fall into.
When introducing anything new in business, one of its measures of success may be determined on how many people adapt to it and so winning the support of the uncommitted is virtually essential for commercial companies like Snapchat. If we examine Cialdini’s weapons of influence Kylie Jenner has so much influence over vast swathes of their target audience because, amongst other things, she is liked and is seen as an authority by her followers. When people are unsure about what decision to make, they are much more susceptible to these weapons of influence and so when she wrote her tweet, she was able to turn public opinion against the update which subsequently resulted in the stock price plummeting.
So what could have Snapchat done to have avoided this? Interestingly a little over ten minutes later Jenner countered her previous tweet by writing something positive about Snapchat, but the damage had already been done. It would not surprise me if someone from Snapchat’s PR department quickly got in contact with her and asked to help put a plaster on an extremely open and distressing wound.
Firstly, mapping out who could have sway over the success of the update would have identified that Jenner, along with undoubtedly dozens more celebrity users, had an enormous level of impact to affect the attitudes of the uncommitted. This realisation informs your influence strategy and is one of the ways in which we help our clients when they are attempting to have an impact and affect change. If an influence strategy had been put in place to pre-frame Jenner, show her how the update is of benefit to her and got her on board as an advocate, then rather than Snapchat losing £1bn in value, they could have gone somewhere down the line to win the support of the oh so important uncommitted.
The next time your business is about to roll out something new, either internally or externally, just take time to consider who are likely to be the uncommitted and who has the influence over them. It might not only make the transition of change a success, but also save you billions as well.
Reality TV star Kylie Jenner wiped $1.3bn (£1bn) off Snap's stock market value after tweeting that she no longer used its Snapchat messaging app.