In Brief: Earthquake Emojis; 5-Star Reviews

August 1, 2018


How an Earthquake Emoji Could Save Lives

During hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Twitter took on a vital communications role, providing up-to-date weather information and helping individuals without power stay connected to emergency services and loved ones.   

Facing their own natural disaster threat — earthquakes — the state of Washington is tasking its citizens with creating an emoji they can use on social media during a ground-shaking crisis, reports The Seattle Times. The best entry will be determined by a Twitter vote. 

It won’t be an easy task for designers. Unlike tornadoes and volcanoes, earthquakes are visually ambiguous. “You can’t just slap up an emoji and call it a day,” says Sara McBride of the U.S. Geological Survey.

But, the project could save lives. Emojis are effective because they transcend the language barrier and are summoned with the click of one button, says McBride. In other words, they can be a ubiquitous communication tool when time is of the essence — like in a major seismic event.

“We need an emoji so we can communicate quickly with much larger groups of people,” says McBride. “People can process pictures faster than words.”

Study: Consumers Expect Brands to Improve Social Media

A 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report found that consumers want brands to use their power and influence to improve the ethics of social media companies. 

In a survey of 9,000 people spread across nine countries (including the United States, France and England), Edelman found that a clear majority of consumers expect brands to pressure platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to more effectively safeguard personal data (71 percent) and police offensive content (68 percent).

If brands don’t push for these improvements, then they run the risk of being viewed as complicit. Forty-eight percent say it’s a brand’s own fault if its advertising appears next to hate speech, for instance.

“Consumers are holding brands accountable, just like they do the platforms,” said Kevin King, global chair of Edelman Digital. “But the price a marketer pays for a mistake can be far costlier, as it’s easier for consumers to stop buying a brand of toothpaste or laundry detergent than it is to quit a favorite social media platform.”

Why a 5-Star Review Doesn’t Really Matter

Common logic suggests that a rousing, five-star review for a company’s product or service is the most persuasive form of consumer feedback. However, recent Harvard Business Reviewresearch shows that moderately positive reviews may be more effective than unanimously positive ones in bringing in new customers.

This revelation, according to the study, is partially a commentary on the trustworthiness of the reviewer. Though five stars from a customer may seem better than four, a person that gives a four-star rating is often considered a more discerning consumer.

In addition, four-star reviews usually feature more detailed, extensive thoughts on what there is to like about a product or service.
“For consumers making recommendations, our advice is to give a review that is long, and to avoid extreme ratings unless they are truly deserved,” writes Harvard Business Review’s Daniella Kupor and Zakary L. Tormala.

Fox Networks Has a Strategy to Revitalize the TV Ad Break

According to Variety, Fox Networks Group is implementing a new ad strategy for its TV outlets.

Starting this fall, Fox Broadcasting, FX, Nat Geo and their digital counterparts, with the help of ad agency TBWA/Worldwide, will begin using commercial break time to run inspirational videos that tell stories about everyday people who have overcome adversities like cancer and sports injuries. They then plan to work with high-profile sponsors, such as pharmaceutical companies and insurance marketers, to sponsor these vignettes, which they’re calling “Unbreakables.”

This experiment is an attempt to deter channel-surfing during ad breaks, which has only become more prominent thanks to commercial-free platforms such as Netflix; Nielsen recently reported that 67 percent of TV viewers switch to another channel when a commercial comes on.

“The ad break as we know it is in serious trouble,” says Brian Sheehan, a professor of advertising at Syracuse University’s SI Newhouse School of Public Communications. “Millennials absolutely hate it and will avoid it. That has become a real issue.”


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