August Trends Report

As summer gradually turns to fall, Proof Strategies would like to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s trending in the communications and marketing industry. This month, we discuss Instagram updates, yet another Facebook scandal and the integral role a company’s mascot plays in marketing. 

Misinformation on Instagram 

Instagram has announced a new feature allowing users to report content as “misinformation.” This move reflects a deliberate attempt by its parent company, Facebook, to offset rising concerns about the social media giant not policing its content better. 

Instagram stated:“From the end of August, people will be able to let us know about content that people believe may be misinformation and help improve our ability to proactively catch misinformation. When we find misinformation on Instagram, we filter it from places where people discover new content – Explore and hashtag pages.” 

This is an important move towards establishing a platform where content meets a threshold of credibility. It is also notable that Instagram and Facebook are publicly acknowledging the role they play in the spread of news, both real and fake. Social media sites are no longer just for personal use and are often used as a source for actual news content. However, this may affect third party groups that are paid to boost views on Instagram Stories in the hopes of drawing in followers, as they could now be flagged as misinformation. Managing misinformation will continue to be a necessity on these platforms as threats contaminate the success of other, more candid content.   Agencies, too, will need to be more diligent and more thoughtful in their approach moving ahead. 

Content Marketing: Mascots

If we told you that mascots are still an integral part of content marketing today, would you believe me? 

America’s most recognizable product mascot is arguably Starbucks’ green, two-tailed mermaid, according to a study by Crestline Custom Promotional Products. The study reported that 95.6 percent of respondents to the survey of more than 1,600 U.S. consumers identified the coffee brand’s mascot correctly. Last year the coffee brand’s revenue was a whopping $24.71 billion. Wonder why?

From a marketing perspective, mascots give brands warmth and personality and often serve as touchstones that we recognize, like and trust. For example, you’ll find buying insurance is less stressful when a green GEICO gecko is walking you through the process. 

From a business perspective, most companies favor illustrated ambassadors because they don’t age,  ensuring your ability to pitch the same product for a century or more. Cartoons are also less likely to get caught up in scandals that might tarnish a company’s image.

In the end, making a lasting impression on the American public can still be a hit-or-miss, so it is important to develop a marketing strategy specifically for your mascot. 

Visit GBSB Global for Proof approved strategies for implementing a mascot into your brand’s strategy.

Microtargeting on Facebook

In yet another data sharing scandal from Facebook, the tech giant has revealed that they used human readers to scan group message conversations for personal data. While many platforms use bots to scan messages for information, the use of human analyzers has often been criticized for privacy reasons. While Facebook’s microtargeted advertising plan is effective in many ways due to the wealth of data available, it has consistently overstepped boundaries regarding people’s privacy. And now it is encroaching on how people actually communicate. If people are not free to talk on one of the most widely used social platforms in the world for fear of a watchdog, what does that mean for the future of communication? As many people continue to delete this app due to privacy  concerns, it raises questions about the standards that will need to be defined around how companies gather data for microtargeting purposes. 

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That’s a wrap for this month! Don’t forget to check-in next month for another update on all things PR and communications. Also, make sure to sign up for DC Communicators to stay up to date on our upcoming events! 



Shykeia Spinks

Fellow
Shykeia’s curiosity and adventurous mindset has crafted her into diligent communications professional. She recently graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in Communications, with a concentration in Public Relations. In her spare time, you can catch her re-watching her favorite television series.

Sonia Del Rivo

Fellow
Sonia is a California native who earned her B.S. in Decision Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Her love for communications is rooted in bridging the gap behind the hard data of human decision making and marketing. When not in the office, she loves scoping out new products at Trader Joes, going to concerts, and taking Instagram photos. 



About Proof Strategies

With 275+ awards for client work and industry leadership, the independently owned Proof family of companies (Proof Strategies, Inc., Proof, Inc., Proof Experiences, Inc.) has over 165 staff members in offices in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Washington, D.C., and annual fee income of $30 million. As a brand steward to some of North America’s most respected and well-known companies, the firm’s strategic approach is guided by data-driven research, deep subject expertise, smart creative and meticulous measurement. A corporate leader in the age of climate change, Proof Strategies, Inc. has been carbon neutral since 2008.



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