“Determine what behaviors and beliefs you value as a company, and have everyone live true to them. These behaviors and beliefs should be so essential to your core, that you don’t even think of it as culture.” – Brittany Forsyth, VP of Human Relations, Shopify
As an organization (and individual), it’s vital to continuously evolve. To evolve means to develop or change in some way; such as evolve in your work processes, team, or skills. At Ruben Digital, we are constantly trying new software to become more efficient, growing our team, and learning new skills. As our company evolves, we keep in mind: Is this evolution aligned with our core values and beliefs as an organization?
Recently, RD has chosen to say goodbye to a popular social media platform. Snapchat made a choice to promote an ad that clearly supported domestic violence – and to top it off, when this poor decision was made known to the public, Snapchat made no effort to apologize to those they had harmed. This was the last straw for us as we already had reasons for frustration with the platform. Ruben Digital’s values as an organization (and values of individuals on our team) are not in agreement with the Snapchat brand – thus it is time for us to evolve and say goodbye to the platform. Nate gives excellent insight to our decision making process…
Personally – from Nate’s Perspective
The latest “snap scandal” involving the “Slap Rihanna or Punch Chris Brown” ad made me sick. I hate using celebrity pain for clicks and found this particular brand of shock value to be disgusting. I immediately questioned my confidence in a platform that would allow such an ad, and brought the debate up to my team.
I have always found Snapchat to be a distraction. I was not into the idea of turning everyone into 24-hour broadcasters, and I think 90% of what I see is unnecessary. I have been guilty of posting nonsense myself. I took two years off from 2015-2017, but jumped back on last summer because it was gaining so much momentum, and I did not want our company ignoring a large audience. Over the past 3 months, I have used the app considerably less. I do not think it makes the quality of my life any better, nor does it help me achieve any personal or professional goals. I will miss the quick interactions I have with about 20 people, but I can move all of that activity to Instagram.
Professionally – from Ruben Digital’s perspective
Ruben Digital does not support violence being used to drive ad revenue. We believe that domestic violence is not something to laugh off, and it is especially harmful to deploy these messages on a largely youth audience. Further, the targets (Rihanna and Chris Brown), were practically children themselves when they went through their domestic violence dispute. It is irresponsible for adults to use their past for profit, especially when it is something these individuals have both worked hard to move on and grow from.
Assessing the merits of Snapchat further, Ruben Digital does not support the sexualization of young women. The content found in the public snap stories from major outlets is nothing less than 21st century tabloid content, and much of it crosses the line in its portrayal of young women (example: Kylie Jenner featured in tight dresses and bikinis.)
As a company, we felt this is a perfect opportunity to put our beliefs and values into action.
We have spent much time this quarter thinking about who we are, and this was a time for us to lead through action. This is not without loss to our brand. On a daily and weekly basis, we receive feedback from friends and clients how much they enjoy our Snapchat stories. However, we are hoping that our audience will follow us over to Instagram stories, as well as follow us on LinkedIn! We are committed to producing more short and medium form video content with the hopes of delivering a meaningful experience to connect with our audience.
Professionally – from a small business owner’s perspective
Snapchat does have benefits for business owners. Primarily, small businesses can use Snapchat for effective guerrilla marketing. As it pertains to Ruben Digital, we have had posts go viral locally, amassing more than 300 views on a Snap story. However, our target customers are not on Snapchat looking for us, and we have never gotten any business as a result of Snapchat. Where there is value for us is in the referral power of our friends on Snapchat. It is possible when people see us on Snapchat it reminds them what we do, and then when they see someone is looking for someone who does what Ruben Digital does, they will send them our way.
Snapchat still has great opportunity for B2C (Business to Consumer) companies. Many e-commerce purchases are a result of effect marketing and impulse buys are very easy with the swipe-up link feature on Snapchat. Ruben Digital may still consult around strategies via this platform for our clients but without having to implement them ourselves.
How we view YOU…
Ruben Digital does not judge you for choosing to continue using Snapchat. We are simply taking the chance to stand for something in alignment with our values. The world is a diverse place filled with a variety of people, and one of our beliefs around diversity includes diversity of thought.