×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Snap’s VP of Marketing Steve LaBella Leaving as Company Looks to Tweak Messaging

Snap’s vice president of marketing and brand identity Steve LaBella is leaving, the company confirmed Friday. A Snap spokesperson told Variety that LaBella is resigning for personal reasons, adding in a statement:

“Steve has been a valuable member of our team, building our consumer marketing department and continually finding new ways to surprise and inspire the Snapchat community. We are grateful for all of his hard work and many contributions and wish him the very best.”

News of the departure, which was first reported by Cheddar Friday morning, comes just one day after CEO Evan Spiegel demanded better marketing and communications in a company-wide memo.

LaBella will stay on until the end of November; there is no word yet on a potential replacement. He had joined Snap in spring of 2016. Before that, LaBella worked for about a decade for Mattel and Fisher Price, most recently as SVP of global marketing for the toy maker.

His departure comes at the end of a challenging year for the company, which struggled after a botched redesign roll-out earlier this year. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel acknowledged some of those struggles in a memo sent to employees this week, which was first published by Cheddar Thursday.

We rushed our redesign, solving one problem but creating many others,” Spiegel wrote in the memo. He admitted that the company underestimated the frustration the new design would cause with users, and said that it lost its way by focusing on the wrong things. “The biggest mistake we made with our redesign was compromising our core product value of being the fastest way to communicate.”

Going forward, Spiegel argued, the company would have to once again establish itself as something that is first and foremost a communications tool. This would not only help retain existing users and get them to use the product more, but actually also help to win over new users.

“Many older users today see Snapchat as frivolous or a waste of time because they think Snapchat is social media rather than a faster way to communicate,” Spiegel wrote. “Changing the design language of our product and improving our marketing and communications around Snapchat will help users understand our value.”

In the past, Spiegel had argued that the app was too complicated for new users, with an unclear value proposition. In this new memo, Spiegel seemed to argue that the solution to this problem is not an evolution of Snapchat, but a return to its roots and its core purpose of communication between close-knit groups of friends. In fact, the memo uses the word “communicate” over 40 times.

The notion that a solution to Snapchat’s woes has been part of the product since its very beginning is also a clear challenge to the company’s messaging, with LaBella being one of the key people to blame. In Spiegel’s words: “It is imperative that we deliver our core product value and do a better job differentiating Snapchat by communicating that value to new users.”

The memo, as well as LaBella’s departure, seemed to instill little confidence in Snap investors. After briefly sending the company’s share price to a record low of $7.62 following Thursday’s publication of the memo, the stock continued to trade in negative territory Friday, down 1.7% from the day’s opening price.

Update: 1:05pm: This post was updated with a statement from Snap.

More Digital

  • Outlander Season 4

    Starz Available for $5 a Month for Three Months Through the Holidays

    Starz is having an online holiday sale: The premium cable network is selling three months of its online streaming service for $5 per month, down from the regular price of $8.99 per month. The offer is available to new users who sign up until the end of December. Subscribers also get a 7-day free trial, [...]

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg Strictly

    Listen: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman Go Long on Short-Form Entertainment

    One is a legend in the media business, the other in the tech world. But together Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman are intent on bringing the best of both worlds together for their ambitious new venture: Quibi. On the latest episode of the Variety podcast Strictly Business, the dynamic duo shared their battle plan to [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron, Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de

    Alfonso Cuaron Says 'Roma' Is Better in Theaters

    Director Alfonso Cuaron opted to work with Netflix for his latest film “Roma,” but the decorated filmmaker isn’t discounting the importance of a big-screen viewing. “The complete experience of ‘Roma’ is unquestionably in a movie theater,” Cuaron said Monday night at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles for the premiere of “Roma.”  The streaming giant did [...]

  • virtual reality

    How VR Is Being Used to Help Children With Learning Disabilities, Autism

    The United States Department of Education is betting on virtual reality to help students with high-functioning autism and learning disabilities in schools across the country. This month the Office of Special Education and Programs announced its investment of $2.5 million toward a new program that will use VR to nurture social skills in students with [...]

  • Acorn TV

    AMC’s Best-of-British Streamer Acorn TV Launches in 30 New Territories

    Acorn TV launched in 30 new markets Tuesday, the biggest wave of international launches to date for the AMC-owned streaming service, which focuses on British and English-language drama. The platform is now live in Australia and New Zealand, India, Spain, the Nordics, the Benelux countries and South Africa. The international rollout started in June, when Acorn [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content