Things You Should Know: Brandjacking

 

Welcome to Things You Should Know, our new ongoing series on Millennial-fueled trends, slang, and memes that will keep you up-to-date on everything happening in youth culture. 

Last week, media organizations began to report that online vigilante group Anonymous had hacked Westboro Baptist Church’s Facebook page after the church announced they would be picketing the funerals of the Boston Marathon bombing victims. But the truth soon came to light: Westboro had never had ownership over the page at all; Anonymous had started the fake page themselves months before. Westboro had been brandjacked.

The term brandjacking has been in use since around 2007, when it was used in an article in Businessweek describing the new problems that corporations were facing protecting their reputations online from “cybersquatters,” individuals using unauthorized trademarked name or phrase in a domain name. These days the practice of brandjacking has become much more complicated. Brands’ reputations online are as vulnerable as consumers’—perhaps more so because they are bigger more alluring targets with more public failings. And because brands don't have emotions or feelings, to Millennials don't see it as bullying. For this generation, trusting what they read online is already a dubious process, and with brandjacking becoming more common, the veracity of every brand message, profile, and campaign is up for questioning. In an era of catfishing and profile hacking, brands are not above having their identities stolen, and brandjacking is taking on many forms.

The Social Media Brandjack: Perhaps the most common form of brandjacking is a fake social media profile for a brand being set up in order to mess with that brand’s reputation. In the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill, a Twitter feed under the handle…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Snapchat, because it offers quick messaging with a time limit that ensures privacy while being highly entertaining.”—Female, 20, FL 

If you want to know what teens are doing online, don’t ask their parents. A survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60% of 13-17-year-olds have a secret online account they say their parents know nothing about, while only 27% of parents suspect their kids have one. This statistic will likely worry parents who are increasingly monitoring online behavior. About 67% of parents say they have a rule in place for kids to be open with them about any “sort of uncomfortable or scary incidents that occur online,” however only 32% of teens surveyed say that such a rule exists in their household. (CNET)

Millennials around the are not only passionate about global issues, but ready to take them on. A World Economic Forum survey found that seven in ten 18-35-year-olds see abundant opportunities for themselves and their peers to tackle global issues, and half believe they have decision making power in their home countries. When the WEF asked about the three most serious issues affecting the world today, Millennials had the same response as the year before: religious conflicts came in third with 33.8% of responses, large scale conflict and wars came in second with 38.5% of responses, and climate change and destruction of natural resources was the top response with 45.2% of respondents. (Business Insider)

Outlet malls are thriving, and it’s all thanks to men and thrifty Millennials. According to Cowen & Co.’s latest Consumer Tracker Survey, outlet visitation by 18-34-year-old men reached a new peak of 44% in July, most likely due to male preference for brand stores over department retailers. Overall Millennial visitation is also up: on average, 31% of 18-34-year-old women and 35% of 18-34-year-old men say they visited an outlet mall every month between December 2012 and July 2016. An analyst of NPD Group attributes the trend to frugal Millennials who would rather save their cash for experiences. (MarketWatch

Teenage girls with depression or anxiety “are less alone than ever.” The Department of Education has revealed that these mental illnesses are a slowly growing epidemic among teen girls in England: about one third report having depression or anxiety, a 10% increase over the last decade. Social media pressure, bullying, and unrealistic body expectations are all cited as factors, which have especially effected young girls all over the world. In America, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that teen girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their male counterparts. (Teen Vogue)

Instagram has made connecting with consumers even easier for brands. The platform’s new “contact” button allows users to call, text, or email brands through their profiles. According to a social media specialist, “social…is a brand’s first line of defense—both for reputation management and customer service,” and the new button eliminates the hassle of having to respond to each individual comment. Brands like Nordstrom, Delta, and Denny’s are already utilizing the new feature. (Digiday

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Pokémon Go, because it's kinda a big deal for those of us who've been dreaming about it for over a decade.”—Female, 21, NJ 

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