Colleen DeCourcy on rewriting Snap’s brand story

The Wieden + Kennedy veteran, now Snap’s chief creative officer, is on a mission to shift perceptions of social media’s best known, least understood brand

Colleen DeCourcy has spent the majority of her career at the intersection of the tech and brand worlds. She took on the role of global chief digital officer at TBWA in 2007, at a time when people were still trying to work out whether burgeoning social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were going to become core to mass communications. She then founded her own social-focused agency Socialistic in 2011, before joining Wieden + Kennedy two years later, working with everyone from Airbnb to Facebook’s parent company Meta during her time as the agency’s co-president and chief creative officer.

“As the world got more complicated, and these platforms started showing both their benefits and their negatives … I felt an increasing responsibility to try and contribute positively to that space, because I’ve come up through it in my career,” DeCourcy tells CR. In 2021, she announced that she would be retiring from advertising after almost a decade at W+K, but her plan proved to be short-lived after she was approached by Snap co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, to become its new CCO.

Founded in 2011, the tech company is best known for its flagship social app Snapchat, where users can chat and share photos and videos with each other which, unlike other platforms, will delete automatically afterwards. “Snap is a company that has creative founders, so there has always been some element of a creative department,” says DeCourcy. While the business’ product design and AR studios were already well-established, the journey to formalising its “brand makers studio”, as she describes it, began when it hired Kenny Mitchell as its first CMO.

Vogue X Snapchat, photo by Mark Cocksedge