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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Quote of the Day: “Whether I want to draw, paint, read, study, or dance, influences the kind of music I listen to.”—Female, 25, GA

Brands  are increasingly using emojis within their messaging—and for good reason. A new survey from mobile app engagement provider Appboy found that 39% of U.K. and U.S. mobile phone users 14 and up view brands that use emojis as fun, and 13% found them more relatable. Only 12% of respondents refer to emojis as childish, and 11% as inappropriate, and younger mobile users were even more likely to see emoji use as a positive than older users. Between June 2015 and June 2016, the number of messages brands sent that contained emojis increased by 461%. (eMarketer)

Musical.ly has attracted 70 million users of mostly teen, tweens, and kids within two years—so what makes the app that allows users to record 15-second music videos so successful? For starters, it’s a gateway to social media. Young “musers” who aren’t old enough for Facebook and Instagram are getting the opportunity to showcase their talents, and accumulate likes and followers within a platform that encourages viewers to “say something nice” in comments. (Kidscreen

Food Network is giving YouTube sensation Hannah Hart a show to cook up more young viewers. Hart’s YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen, gives a comic take on cooking, and earned her 2.5 million subscribers with whom she has “tremendous rapport and engagement.” On her Food Network show, she’ll be travelling the U.S. learning about the local foods, and dining out on a budget “determined by the city’s average dining price.” The series will also include digital content of behind-the-scenes footage and vlogs. Millennials have shown “they love digital content and they love food,” and have helped “the food vertical [reach] explosive heights online.” (StreamDaily

Giant food manufacturer Mondelēz International recently teamed up with Fox Networks Group to strategize ads that will be more appealing to the ad-skipping generation. According to the brand, “We don’t deserve consumers’ attention. We have to earn it,” so they plan to decrease “consumer time with commercials, and [increase] the impact.” As young consumers have become “less tolerant of traditional ads,” brands have begun experimenting with digital marketing that lets viewers choose what ads to watch, and Fox is working to serve up ads that are more customized to individuals watching based on what brands they already know about. (Variety

The new generation of employees are seeking out side hustles. A report from FlexJobs revealed that one third of Millennials would like to have part time work along with freelancing on the side. The number one reason: necessity. According to Student Loan Hero, a 2016 graduate has an average of $37,172 in student debt, so it’s not surprising that Millennials are looking for additional income outside of their 9-to-5 jobs. Need for income has also limited them in terms of pursuing their true passions and finding their purpose, which can be fulfilled by an outside role or project. (ForbesCNBC)  

Quote of the Day: “Political correctness is voicing your beliefs but not at the expense of other's identities.”—Female, 15, NY

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