Snap CMO Kenny Mitchell on Storytelling With Discipline and Soul

Headshot of Nadine Dietz

After moving from Chicago to L.A. last year and taking the helm of the Snap Inc. brand, Kenny has been flexing his innovative storytelling master-skills for both users and partners in the Snap community. The Snap generation, as he calls them, continues to evolve and is no longer just for 12- to 24-year-olds. In fact, the size of Snap’s userbase aged 25 or older is surprisingly larger than the entire Twitter community in the U.S. and redefining content consumption on a daily basis.

Kenny’s background in innovation is vast with past leadership roles at Gatorade and McDonald’s before Snap. He became a Snap user in 2013, two years before the tech company began enrolling partners to begin experimenting with the Snap Community. When he got the call at the end of 2018 asking him to consider becoming the CMO of Snap, he wasn’t entirely sure about it, but after meeting with the co-founders and the executive team, and hearing their vision, he was convinced to take the job.

“I really found a kinship with that group of people that had really similar values. Just a low-ego team—really smart, highly energized, really hardworking. I already was a big believer in the platform and to hear a little bit about the vision and the future for Snap I realized that marketing had a really good opportunity.”

Join us in this exciting exploration of Snap and all the cool things Kenny and his team have been up to from growing users in target markets to driving awareness of all the features (AR, games, maps), to developing new capabilities like minis (mini utilities) and action bars. Find out how this social media platform’s “pain in the ass” requirement to develop vertical content early on paid off as truly optimized for today’s mobile user and how Snap has evolved into a content platform, participating in the New Fronts for the first time this year.

Also, don’t miss all of Kenny’s great career advice. See his five key takeaways below.

Kenny’s Tips for Success

Put in the Work

“A gentleman named Matt Knott, who I worked for at PepsiCo said, ‘my single piece of advice for you is to kick ass at your current job. You want to create a pull strategy because you have done such a remarkable job that people want to work with you. You’ve been someone that can solve problems, who treats people well and someone who is unafraid to do the work.’ That has been foundational guidance and direction for me … It helped me calm down and hunker down to really focus on doing the work.”

Position Your Team for Success

“I was a point guard and I often tell people that because the point guard is responsible for being like the coach on the court, making sure the team knows the game plan and putting people in a position to succeed based on their respective skills. And you learn to interact with people from all walks of life. [You’re] rarely the person who scores the most points or gets the most rebounds, but you help to lead and drive the team and make sure that everyone is well-positioned for success.”

Find Your Brand Truth

“Part of the magic of marketing in my mind is uncovering the truth of the brand, peeling back to find out what truth is really unique to it, and then telling that story with a tremendous amount of discipline and a tremendous amount of soul. Dolly Parton has said famously ‘figure out who you are and be that on purpose.’ And that, to me, is a lot of what marketing is. It’s figuring out what that brand is all about and then living that on purpose.” Nadine Dietz is chief community officer at Adweek and host of the CMO Moves podcast.