×
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

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

  • Snapchat logos

    Porn Studio Starts Building X-Rated Snapchat Lenses, Encourages Users to Do the Same

    Adult entertainment company Naughty America wants to use augmented reality to get the word out about its paid services. The company has begun to make Snapchat lenses featuring some of its models, and is teaching its audience to do the same. Naughty America shared three such lenses on its website (link not safe for work) [...]

  • New, Likely Cheaper Galaxy Home Speaker

    Samsung Is Getting Ready to Introduce Second Smart Speaker

    Samsung still isn’t selling its Galaxy Home smart speaker, but the company may be getting ready to introduce a second model soon: An FCC filing for an “AI speaker” suggests that the new model, like the original Galaxy Home, will be dual-branded, featuring both Samsung’s own brand name as well as that of its audio [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • VidCon-Now-Stacey-Kelly

    VidCon Launches First Original Series to Promote Creators Year-Round

    VidCon brings together thousands of fervent fans at its annual conventions, who flock to the events to see their favorite YouTubers and other digital celebs in the flesh. Now the Viacom-owned division is trying to keep the excitement burning during the VidCon off-season, too. This week VidCon is launching its first foray into original content [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content