For start-ups or any business for that matter, one of the best ways to grow is to avoid competition. Yes, you’ve heard it, “competition is good”, but if that were true there would be no need for patents or anti-competitive laws. The best companies try to avoid competition and create monopolies. The Facebook and SnapChat war isn’t a board game, however, disguised as Instagram, Facebook is out to dominate social. And with SnapChats rising popularity, the objective is to kill any momentum.
Why Avoiding Competition is Good
Disruption has been a hot buzzword for start-ups. Uber disrupted the transportation industry and AirBnB disrupted lodging. But disruption shouldn’t be a strategy, it should be a result of great companies being innovative.
Napster disrupted the music industry and was crushed by the RIAA. On the contrary, Apple found a way to work with music executives and iTunes thrived for many years because of it. Now streaming services like Prime and Spotify are on the rise, and this was done by avoiding competition, not picking fights.
For years SnapChat has been in a league of its own, growing exponentially using innovative ideas only found in China. In 2013 Facebook attempted to buy SnapChat for $3 billion, but after being rejected, Mark Zuckerburg launched a similar app called Poke. It flopped, however, but that didn’t stop Mark and the Facebook team from taking shots at the young company. With Instagrams latest release of “Stories”, Facebook mimics SnapChats interface and functionality. CEO of Instagram Kevin Systrom, recently announced the introduction of events, a move some are calling a full-blown SnapChat blitz. Many Instagrammers are excited about the new features since they are comfortable using the platform, and wanted to avoid the cost of taking on another social network.
Image Source: Instagram
War is Costly
The reason why finding a niche is so rewarding is because you get to focus on growth and avoid distraction. War is costly. Don’t believe me? Ask Blockbuster and Hollywood Video (who no longer exist)… While they were busy warring with one another, Redbox and Netflix were finding new ways to serve their industry.
So what does this mean for SnapChat? I personally think SnapChat has done a great job at being creative and keeping to themselves. They have attempted to stay off the grid while focusing on growth. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prohibit larger corporations from competing against them. And who can blame Facebook? They don’t want another company to do to them what they did to Myspace. So the mission is to buy or destroy. And right now Facebook is in destruction mode.
Will SnapChat be able to survive this offensive? Who knows. The founders have proven to be savvy and strategic, constantly innovating and resisting competition. Nevertheless, Facebook has deep pockets and the best talent. This may be the reason they fell behind in the first place. Buy and absorb has been the MO of many market leaders in regard to small competitors. And when you can’t buy, #attack.
In the end, who will win, Grams or Snaps? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Larry C Lewis is an Internet behavior scientist best known for his work in social media and video marketing. He is the head of marketing at Digital Exponents and the founder of Marketinglikeapro.net. For more information, Larry can be reached on Twitter @larryclewis.