Snap’s approach is different to other companies. When Facebook went public, for example, some employees were allowed to sell before many other shareholders. Square went public with a 180-day lockup covering pre-IPO shareholders and employees. Twitter, meanwhile, allowed some employees to sell their shares before everyone else, in order to pay off taxes on their stock awards. There had been some speculation that Snap could lift its lockup for employees so they could sell shares to cover the tax bills on their stock awards. Instead the company will pay a tax bill of around $187 million on behalf of employees and withhold the equivalent number of shares, the IPO filing disclosed. - The Information
Did a colleague forward this email to you? Thank them and subscribe here.
ECOMMERCE: Alongside J.Crew’s legendary CEO Mr Mickey Drexler, Mr Snyder helped to turn around dismissive public perception of J.Crew as just a preppy catalogue brand and make it relevant again – largely through smart partnerships with the right third party brands such as New Balance, Red Wing Shoes, Alden and Timex. He introduced the hugely successful Ludlow suit, which brought good, slim-fit, affordable-ish tailoring to the man on the street.
MEDIA: New stats from customer acquisition firm Fluent show that 69 percent of the 3,327 American adults surveyed online skip ads on Snapchat “always” or “often,” and that number goes up to 80 percent among 18- to 24-year-olds, a target group that many marketers want to reach. Although Fluent doesn’t have ad abandonment rate for other social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, its CMO Jordan Cohen thinks that 69 percent is a “big number for ad-supported companies.”
DATA: Sprite Cherry and Sprite Cherry Zero are the first Freestyle products to make it to Coca-Cola’s permanent lineup (there are other limited-time products like Sprite Cranberry), and are also the first new Sprite flavor since Sprite Zero was launched more than a decade ago. Coca-Cola announced Sprite Cherry in late 2016. Whether Sprite Cherry fans will find the bottled version as satisfying as the fountain soda remains to be seen.
BRAND: Or brands can partner with agencies and consultants that can keep their unique perspective by maintaining a reasonable distance from any brand’s flavor. But if your brand has an in-house creative department/agency, there is a good chance that it is full of Kool-Aid. In-house agencies trade expertise and perspective for the comfort of the known and for the feeling of being understood and hopefully, efficiencies of time and cost.
ECOMMERCE: The 2017 Grocery eCommerce Forecast, a joint report by Unata and Brick Meets Click, showed that more consumers are expected to buy groceries online in the year ahead. Grocery retailers that want to be successful in the ecommerce space should follow the lead of Wal-Mart, ShopRite, Kroger and H-E-B, and innovate in their offerings. Convenience to the consumer is key.
RETAIL BLOODBATH: To keep his zombie retailer going in spite of the deep losses, Lampert will continue to suck dry its assets, in what has turned into a decades-long garage sale. Sears needs to raise at least $2 billion in liquidity in 2017 to fund ongoing operations, ratings agency Fitch estimates. As long as Lampert can find the cash, Sears will keep feasting on carnage and staggering forward.
OPINION / BRAND: Reebok, owned by the Adidas Group, just put up for pre-sale a women's athletic t-shirt with a newly political message. The steely gray shirt is rather basic, with a red Reebok logo on the sleeve. But across the chest it says "Nevertheless she persisted." There's plenty of room for Reebok or Adidas to claim that the message isn't political—that it's simply a message perfect for athletics, where inspiration and persistence are always needed.
ECOMMERCE: Loyalty programs work on the basis of additional benefits to the customer relationship beyond the cost of doing business that are later realized. To counter, you might say, “But, I'm saving a $99/year going with Walmart." That's an expected outcome for the trade-off of not using Prime services. This is where the folks at Walmart are making a fundamental mistake assessing Amazon Prime’s value proposition around customer loyalty.
MEDIA: Starting Monday, it’s turning off Google’s first-click free feature that let people skirt the Journal’s paywall by cutting and pasting the headline of a story into Google. The Journal tested turning off the feature with 40 percent of its audience last year. But the eye-popping moment was when the Journal turned it for off four sections for two weeks, resulting in a dramatic 86 percent jump in subscriptions. The Journal said the full turnoff is a test, but didn’t say how long it would last.
DATA: Innovation has always been a cornerstone of the sports industry. Even in the distressed sweatshirt category, innovative and more technical products sold well this holiday and posted big increases. We must find ways to keep innovation strong. This will help fend off the athleisure bubble as well. The sports industry has always been about premium and exclusive products. We must emphasize the premium nature of our business and avoid trying to grow by the lowest prices.
BRAND: Nike says it is supporting the campaign from Wieden + Kennedy with a social-media mix that includes filters and avatars as well as billboards and posters throughout the United States and Canada. And in addition to its new Mentor and PeacePlayers International, it says it is ponying up another $5 million to charities promoting equality in the U.S.
MEDIA: Snap in its IPO is planning to seek a target valuation of between $20 billion and $25 billion, The Wall Street Journal has reported, which at the high end would make it the largest U.S.-listed tech offering since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. priced its IPO in 2014, according to Dealogic.
Last Word: Will Snap Succeed? Ben Thompson addresses:
Snap’s bet is that Facebook, with all of the baggage of putting your best self forward, will never be truly able to step into this brave new future. No, capturing that future won’t be as simple as re-making the connections you already have — new users will need to be won, feature by feature and innovation by innovation — but that is exactly what Snap insists it does better than anyone else.
So will Snap succeed?
The trouble for the company is that some of the conditions necessary for its success are out of its hands: on a macro level, the timing of The Great Unbundling, an important aspect of advertising moving away from TV, is as uncertain as ever. On a competitive level I suspect Snap is more surprised than anyone at how effectively Facebook has leveraged Instagram to foreclose Snapchat’s growth.
I do, though, have faith in Snap itself: Spiegel and team are the most innovative in tech, brilliantly laddering up to new opportunities, and creating new markets. The products will be great; we’ve known for 30 years, though, that that is not always enough.