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: “YouTube is an ocean of entertainment. No other app can provide as much entertainment as YouTube.” –Male, 18, NY

As Millennials’ spending power begins to outpace Boomers’, what are they buying more than any other generation? The answers might surprise you. A list of ten things that young consumers are buying more often include gas station food and snakes (?!). But the rest of the list is less shocking: they’re also buying more craft beer, piercings and tattoos, same day delivery, and, of course, hot sauce. (Time)

Facebook has been upping their video game as the online content wars have heated up, and it seems to be paying off.  The social network’s recent earnings report shows a significant increase, brought on by their video growth. The report says that “billions” of videos are watched on the platform each day, and that 75% of those are on mobile. Facebook Pages (for celebrities, businesses, etc.) have reportedly been sharing 40% more video since the beginning of this year alone. (Streamdaily)

In a recent New York Times article examining campus suicide, Cornell’s director of counseling cited the pressure to look perfect on social media as an amplifier of the problem, “since students feel compelled to post smiling selfies even when they’re struggling." One female student tells New York Magazine, “When I posted [this photo], I subconsciously hoped that if I could convince others I was happy, then maybe I could believe it myself.” (NYMag)

We know Millennial men want to be hands-on dads, but some might be finding fatherhood a more difficult balance than they had planned. Researchers say that their struggles could be because workplace policies have “not caught up to changing expectations at home,” and Millennials’ more egalitarian views on parenthood. One survey found that 24% of Millennial men who had not had children expected to shoulder most of the child care responsibilities, while only 8% of those with children actually did. (NYTimes)

Though young consumers are certainly shopping from their phones, our list of their top ten favorite apps did not include any from the retail category—hinting at an opportunity for retailers to step up their mobile game. Online-only store Everlane has created an app to “cater to their biggest fans” with suggestions on what to wear based on the daily weather, and early exclusive access to items on the app only. (TechCrunch)

Quote of the Day: “Pandora is my favorite app because I LOVE music and creating stations that introduce me to new songs I didn't know about.” –Female, 31, GA

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