Sephora Wants To Provide Safe Spaces For The Trans Community With New Program

While beauty brands like Fenty have made significant inroads in inclusivity for people of color and other marginalized groups, the industry has not given the same attention to transgender and nonbinary makeup users. With its “Bold Beauty for the Transgender Community” addition to its Classes for Confidence program, Sephora hopes to reverse this, providing safe spaces and support for non-cisgender (those whose gender identity corresponds to their birth sex) people.

“We encourage bold choices in beauty and in life, and Bold Beauty for the Transgender Community is a wonderful example of our purpose coming to life,” Corrie Conrad, head of social impact and sustainability for Sephora, told AListDaily. “We saw a real opportunity, with our Classes for Confidence program, to demonstrate our stance as an ally of all people, and to help inspire confidence in those facing major life transitions.”

Consisting of free ninety-minute seminars taught by Sephora store instructors, “some of whom have their own personal gender journey,” the Classes for Confidence promise safe community spaces and practical skincare and makeup application tips for all attendees.

“We conducted interviews with [LGBTQA] group leaders and engaged their members in focus groups to determine what they wanted in the class content,” Conrad added. “Plus, we asked both our employees and community partners what we need to include in terms of sensitivity training to best serve this audience.”

In addition to in-store tutorials, Sephora promises to post a series video how-tos by transgender beauty advisors on its YouTube channel for those who either cannot or choose not to attend in-person seminars.

Previous entries into the Classes for Confidence series include makeup tips for women re-entering the workforce, either after bouts of joblessness or even homelessness. According to the company, the program has hosted over 850 classes, reaching more than 8000 people, of whom 78 percent reported an increase in confidence afterward.

“Our goal is to reach 100,000 people by 2020,” Conrad declared.

Additionally, the Sephora Stands project will partner with transgender and non-binary community organizations to host pride parades and other LGBTQA events, though it did not specify exactly what these partnerships would consist of.

“We believe that beauty is yours to define and ours to celebrate,” Conrad said. “The transgender & non-binary community is absolutely a beloved part of our client base.”

Brands Get Dark And Broody For Global Goth Day

It’s World Goth Day, so brands pulled out the old black lipstick, dusted off those boots and took to social media to engage with audiences.

Founded in the UK by two DJs, World Goth Day began in 2009 with an annual gathering and celebration of the Goth subculture. Now the event spans across multiple countries, with several events raising money for charity.

The BBC Archive paid tribute to its dark followers with a clip from a 1987 TV program that explains the subculture’s punk origins.

The Smithsonian Library added another bit of education to the holiday.

Brands often take to Twitter to join trending conversations and World Goth Day is no exception. Rather than claim to be “real” Goths on this comfortably dark day, most brands took a playful, self-deprecating approach, laughing at how little they fit into the subculture.

Totino’s mascot, Pet Zaroll, shared a cheerful post against a gothic background.

Energy drink brand G Fuel made one of their black cups to look like a member of the goth subculture, complete with hairstyle and dragon earring.

Progressive gave Flo a darker look just for the occasion:

Other brands used the opportunity to call attention to Goth-themed entertainment.

Naturally, Comedy Central gave a shout out to its infamous South Park Goth episode.

DC Comics paid tribute to its character, Raven and her dark origins.

Discovery Family pointed to one of Fluttershy’s more despondent moments from My Little Pony.

Will Farrell’s Baron Nocturna sends his blackest regards.

Ironically, Hot Topic did not join in the dark festivities. We would say that brands celebrated World Goth Day, but that’s not very Goth. They have, however, taken part in other social media holidays like Dinosaur Day and Caramel Day.

Volkswagen Makes An Instagram Museum-Style Pop-Up With Jetta Haus

Tapping into both the zeitgeist of experiential marketing and the lasting influences of the Bauhaus, German car manufacturer Volkswagen is attempting to inject some life into the test drive and is promoting the 2019 Jetta with “Jetta Haus,” a series of pop-ups across America.

“The Jetta Haus events allow drivers to experience the progression of Jetta in a way that captures the vehicle’s vibrancy and timeless fun-to-drive appeal,” said Derrick Hatami, Volkswagen North America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, in a press release. “We are excited to connect with guests across the cities at our open-house party.”

Featuring live music performances by artists local to its locations in Chicago, Miami, New York and Los Angeles, Volkswagen treats the launch of its new car as “an interactive art car experience.” For interested car buyers, the company offered the chance to get behind the wheel of the car before distribution to car dealerships.


Volkswagen, however, doesn’t intend to limit the experience exclusively for those interested in purchasing the new Jetta model. Partnering with SiriusXM and Beats by Dr. Dre for music, as well as Red Bull for beverages, Volkswagen is treating Jetta Haus as more of an Instagram museum than a product showcase.

“It’s a stunning backdrop for you to win the weekend’s social updates,” the company urged to the public, pushing for social spread.

Besides the car itself, Volkswagen highlights the “Betta Lab” as the centerpiece of the experience. Treating the Jetta as the theme to the art experience, the two-room space promises “light, sound and motion, inspired by the Jetta’s turbocharged power, its available 10-color ambient lighting and available premium BeatsAudio sound.” Also featured in all four pop-up locations is an arcade with “hit retro games.”

“Every generation of Jetta, since its introduction in 1979, was built pragmatically to meet the needs of drivers of the time,” the company stated.

Caught in the Sunday Scaries @vw #jettahaus

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To infinity and beyond #jettahaus @vw

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Mediacorp Names Debra Soon First CMO, And Other Hires

This week: Mediacorp and Mavenir bring on new CMOs, Dunkin’ Donuts expands branding team to ensure quality messaging and FOX News promotes a new CEO.

Debra Soon Becomes Mediacorp As CMO

Singapore-based media conglomerate Mediacorp is reorganizing to integrate its marketing capacity, creating the role of chief marketing officer and appointing Debra Soon to fill the slot.

“The new integrated marketing organization will unify branding efforts across the company, strengthen our brand identity and communicate consistent messages as part of our efforts to create better, on-brand experiences for those we serve,” said Tham Loke Kheng, Mediacorp’s CEO. “Debra’s wealth of industry experience, deep understanding of our consumers and passion for the business make her the natural choice for this much needed role.”

Soon has been with the company for more than 20 years, beginning as a broadcast journalist and rising to chief customer officer.

Mavenir Appoints Stefano Cantarelli CMO

Global 5G software provider Mavenir has named Stefano Cantarelli executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

“Stefano is a proven industry veteran and visionary technology leader that brings expertise and strategic insight into mobile and convergent communications,” said Pardeep Kohli, CEO of Mavenir. “His proven experience and reputation will further Mavenir’s position as a global leader in the wireless industry through our mission of transforming mobile network economics.”

Cantarelli most recently worked at O2 UK, leading its network and IT strategy, and has been in the telecom industry for nearly thirty years.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, May 18. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Dunkin’ Donuts Hires Drayton Martin As Vice President Of Brand Stewardship

Set to ensure consistent application of brand messaging across advertising, packaging and digital channels, Drayton Martin joins Dunkin’ Donuts as vice president of brand stewardship.

“Drayton has a long and successful track record in creating compelling creative work and leading strong teams that have helped transform leading global consumer companies,” said Tony Weisman, Dunkin’ Donuts CMO. “Her extensive experience makes her well-positioned to lead and advance our creative vision and long-term strategic plans to drive engagement and excitement for the Dunkin’ Donuts brand.”

Martin previously spent 14 years at MullenLowe, most recently as executive director.

FOX News Appoints Suzanne Scott CEO

Suzanne Scott has been promoted to the position of chief executive officer of FOX News and the FOX Business Network.

“Suzanne has been instrumental in the success of FOX News and she has now made history as its first female CEO,” stated Lachlan Murdoch, 21st Century Fox chairman. “Her vision and innovation have helped create some of the most popular and lucrative primetime programs on cable and as we embark on the era of the proposed New Fox, I am confident that Suzanne’s leadership will ensure the dominance of both FOX News & FBN for years to come.”

Scott has been with FOX News since its inception 22 years ago, most recently as president of programming.

Phunware Names Barbary Brunner Chief Marketing Officer

Mobile technology firm Phunware has appointed Barbary Brunner to the position of CMO.

“With our announced intent to merge with NASDAQ company Stellar Acquisition III, Inc, and upcoming launch of PhunCoin, we are at a pivotal moment in Phunware’s history and in the larger landscapes of mobile application software, media and data,” said Alan Knitowski, Phunware’s cofounder and CEO. “Taking advantage of this moment requires a marketing leader with vision and expertise. Barbary possesses these and more, and we are thrilled to welcome her to Phunware’s executive leadership team.”

Brunner joins the company from the Austin Technology Council, where she served as CEO.

Nirmal Parikh Joins Dynasil As Vice President Of Marketing

Optics manufacturer Dynasil has appointed Nirmal Parikh vice president of marketing.

“We are very excited to welcome Nirmal to the Dynasil team,” said Peter Sulick, president and CEO of Dynasil. “With nearly twenty years of experience in digital marketing focused on the delivery of cutting-edge technology solutions, Nirmal brings valuable know how to Dynasil’s marketing team in an effort to strengthen Dynasil’s online presence.”

Parikh most recently served as chief marketing and technology officer for Digital Wavefront.

Condé Nast Appoints Vikki Chowney Director Of Brand Partnerships

Vikki Chowney has joined the century-old publishing conglomerate Condé Nast’s British division as its director of brand partnerships. In the role, Chowney will head the company’s creative studio, producing branded content for Condé Nast’s numerous media properties.

“I work within the Condé Nast Creative Studio to lead its brand-owned offer, harnessing over 100 years of the company’s editorial expertise to create content for Clients’ own channels,” Chowney wrote on LinkedIn, announcing the new position.

Previously, Chowney served as chief content strategist at Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

Miguel Ángel Oliva Joins Dopamine As Chief Marketing Officer

Audiovisual branded content startup Dopamine has hired Miguel Ángel Oliva as CMO, in an effort to expand the firm’s presence in the US, Europe and Latin America.

“Multi-platforms, original series and new audiences are calling for unique promotional strategies, along with a very particular type of storytelling that is both creative and enticing. Miguel Angel brings that experience and the necessary dopamine to provide our partners and clients services and solutions that are optimal to face those challenges,” said Dopamine CEO Fidela Navarro. “He is an entrepreneurial professional, modern and passionate.”

Oliva previously served as vice president of public relations and corporate communications for HBO Latin America.

Snow Names Sanjay Castelino CMO

Software asset and cloud spend management software provider Snow has hired Sanjay Castelino as its chief marketing officer.

“This is a pivotal appointment for Snow’s growth and Sanjay’s strategic vision and global experience will add strength to the team,” Alex Kling, Snow’s CEO stated. “The customer experience is changing and his leadership and creativity will ensure we drive innovative solutions and propositions to the market.”

Castelino joins the company from Spiceworks, an IT-focused professional network.

Telenor Myanmar Appoints Amaresh Kumar CMO

Succeeding Joslin Myrthong, Amaresh Kumar has been moved to Telenor Myanmar from Telenor India, where he served as chief product officer. His new role will be chief marketing officer.

Meredith Appoints Patrick McCreery President Of Local Media Group

Media and marketing giant Meredith Corporation has promoted Patrick McCreery to president of its Local Media Group, succeeding retiring Paul Karpowicz.

“Patrick has led our news operations to leading positions in most of our markets, and worked diligently to expand our digital offerings,” said Karpowicz. “He has also led the integration of MNI Targeted Media into Meredith. I am confident that Patrick is the right person to move the Local Media Group into the future.”

McCreery most recently served as executive vice president of news and marketing.

Sears CMO, Marketing Personnel Depart

Retail giant Sears is shedding several members of its marketing department, AdAge reports. Among those who have left include CMO Kelly Cook and chief content officer Paul Graham Hayward.

VTS Hires Amy Millard As Chief Marketing Officer

Leasing and asset management platform VTS has appointed Amy Millard to the role of its first-ever CMO.

“As our growth has accelerated, we felt the time was right to expand our leadership team, hiring Amy Millard as CMO,” stated Nick Romito, VTS CEO and cofounder. “She brings tremendous SaaS marketing and leadership experience with her, along with a passion for growing and mentoring high-performing teams.”

Millard previously served as CMO for Spigit, an ideation management software provider.

Liberty Health Sciences Appoints Stephanie Kubacki Vice President Of Marketing

Stephanie Kubacki has joined Liberty Health Sciences as vice president of marketing, to assist the cannabis startup’s growth push.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome Stephanie to the leadership team where she will play an important role in pursuing our aggressive growth strategy” said George Scorsis, director and CEO of Liberty. “She has an impressive background and wealth of experience in developing and advancing some of the world’s most recognizable brands. She’s a tremendous talent and adds important depth to our team.”

Kubacki joins the company from the alcoholic beverage industry, serving in marketing roles for Bacardi, Diageo and Palm Bay International.

Michael DiBella Joins IVCi As Vice President Of Marketing

Consulting firm IVCi is expanding its executive leadership team, bringing on Michael DiBella as vice president of marketing to revitalize the company’s global messaging and brand management.

“What drew us to Michael was his unique background that combines broad technology experiences within organizations like Canon and Crestron with a focus on revenue generating initiatives. He’s the kind of proven leader who can solve business challenges with innovative, results driven strategies,” says Tim Hennen, IVCi’s president of sales and engineering.

DiBella most recently served as director of product and channel marketing at Kramer Electronics.

IDFA Names A. Bailey Wood Jr. Vice President Of Communications, PR And Marketing

The International Dairy Foods Association has tapped A. Bailey Wood, Junior, for the role of vice president of communications, public relations and marketing.

“Bailey brings a rare and valuable blend of communications and advocacy expertise from his work on Capitol Hill as well as in other associations,” said Michael Dykes, CEO of IDFA. “We know he’ll be a dynamic and creative addition to our strategic planning, membership marketing and media relations efforts.”

Wood previously served at the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, where he served as vice president of communications since 2014.

Facebook Creates Three New Divisions, Moves Executive Roles Internally

Family Of Apps

Chief product officer Chris Cox is now the head of Facebook’s newly created “Family of Apps” division. In his new role, Cox will oversee Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Will Cathcart, vice president of product management, will take over all of product for Facebook’s core app.

New Platforms And Infra

David Marcus, previously in charge of Facebook’s Messenger app, is now heading up a new blockchain division called “New Platforms and Infra.”

His small team will include Instagram’s VP of engineering James Everingham and Instagram’s VP of product Kevin Weil, sources told RecodeMessenger will now be overseen by head of produce Stan Chudnovsky.

Weil’s role at Instagram will be assumed by Adam Mosseri, who currently runs Facebook’s News Feed.

Central Product Services

Javier Olivan will now oversee a third division called “Central Product Services” that includes shared features across Facebook’s offerings, to include ads, security and growth.

Intel Shifts Chief Marketing Officer Steve Fund To Handle “Special Projects”

Steve Fund has been shifted from his chief marketing officer role to handle unspecified “special projects,” the company told employees in an internal memo last week.

Michelle Johnston Holthaus, general manager of the company’s sales and marketing organization will handle marketing and communication while Intel seeks a replacement.

Cologix Appoints Lisa Guillaume Chief Marketing Officer

Lisa Guillaume has joined Cologix as chief marketing officer.  In this role, she will lead the global product and marketing strategy for the network neutral interconnection and data center company.

“As we continue to focus on driving more growth and expansion throughout our business, there is not a more qualified leader than Lisa to lead product strategy and elevate our brand, and I am thrilled that she has joined our team,” said Grant van Rooyen, chairman and CEO of Cologix.  “Her impressive track record of building high-impact products coupled with her passion for the customer experience will play a critical role in our next step of innovation and growth.”

Previously, Guillaume served as chief product officer for Relay Network, and held key leadership roles in product and marketing at Digital Globe and Level 3 Communications (now Century Link).

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, May 18. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Head of Partner Marketing, UK  Netflix London, United Kingdom
Director, Global Partner Marketing Google San Francisco, CA
VP, Product Marketing Turner New York, NY
Director, Global Business Product Marketing Twitter San Francisco, CA
VP, Partner Marketing Pandora Oakland, CA
Global Director, Product Marketing (Monetization) Spotify New York, NY

Make sure to check back for updates on our jobs page.

All Commerce Is E-Commerce: CMO Council Report

With digital retailers continually proving to be an existential threat to the success of brick and mortar retailers, consumer product brands have faced a simple choice: join or die. But, according to a report by the CMO Council released on Monday, seeing which way the wind is blowing in the dawn of the digital retail age is just one of a number of hurdles marketers have to face.

Fifty-six percent of respondents in the CMO Council’s report titled “Ingenuity in the Global eCommerce Community” said that eCommerce is revolutionizing and reinventing the global retail marketplace and 43 percent say it challenges brands to evolve across all channels and markets. While views on eCommerce were positive overall, 14 percent said that it complicates relationships with traditional retail partners.

“When [marketers] realized that retail was reinventing itself, it was already too late,” said Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing for the CMO Council, to AListDaily. “They couldn’t keep up with the pace of change that the Amazons and the Alibabas and the eBays of the world were precipitating. When you’re a day late to the party, it’s a little hard to catch up, and the only thing you can do is try to reinvent yourself on the fly or close.”

For many companies, the latter was the only option. Over 7,000 retail stores shuttered in 2017, and according to the report, 2018 is on track to beat that number.

“Any time CNN isn’t running a story about something happening in the White House, there’s a headline about a retailer shuttering stores,” Miller added.

However, according to Miller, the media doomsaying is largely overblown. Retail sales have grown 4.2 percent year over year, which, though not massive, is still positive growth. Though e-commerce giants are growing, they only make up 10 percent of total retail spending.

“Is every store going to close tomorrow?” Miller asked. “No! ECommerce is ten percent of the global shopping revenue base. But it used to be six. It’s growing at a much faster pace than anyone anticipated.”

According to Miller, the real sweeping change isn’t so much in the bottom line for retail brands, but in the minds of the consumer.

“These massive e-commerce communities are actively changing the baseline expectations of our consumers. And they’re forcing marketers and brands to reassess how they go to market, and the content that they’re using to engage their customers,” Miller stated. “How do we look at what these massive communities […] are doing that is successful, and how do we as brands, not just tap into that—it’s not about an ad spot—but transform to be able to engage with our customers across these communities in a way that fits their expectations?”

According to their findings, marketers have had to scrap the idea of a linear path-to-purchase model and reassess not only what content they put out, but fundamentally how they make strategic decisions. Brands no longer just have to provide products to choose from, but help guide consumers through the discovery process.

Survey participants were asked to choose the top three ways they plan to differentiate their brands in the digital retail marketplace. The most popular response, at 42 percent, was to produce richer, more visually engaging content. Only nine percent named chatbots or other AI technology as their go-to solution.

“What’s happening with these e-commerce communities is that every customer, every user, every member of the community is not being invited to shop, they’re being invited to explore. When you’re invited to explore, the brand responsibility is to be there with things that meet that need to explore.”

But brands shouldn’t lose track of the silver lining to the e-commerce clouds. According to the CMO Council, the new strategies brands have adopted to survive have given them access to swathes of new consumers whom they may never have reached before. For these new consumers, the shopping experience is an efficient one.

“It’s brands who advertise at really large malls who know that people are there, but they don’t necessarily know that they’re there to shop,” Miller stated. “People who go onto Amazon, people who go onto eBay, they’re there to shop. They’re there to find something new that they want to buy.”

For the CMO Council, reaching these consumers as they’re shopping is only small potatoes—getting them to consider a brand beforehand, or even seek it out, is the future of doing business. But for some marketers, fears over online sales eating into brick-and-mortar profits is keeping them from fully adapting.

“What could hold marketers back from success is they’re still super worried about cross-channel cannibalization. But the reality is, these communities are going to continue to grow,” Miller stated. “That expectation of diversity of product will spill over to a shopper’s expectation in a traditional retail environment. If we can’t see that the expectation of the shopper is being set by folks like the eBays, the Amazons, the Alibabas of the world, we’re in for a really bumpy reinvention ride.”

To assemble its report, the CMO Council surveyed over 200 marketers primarily in the areas of consumer packaged goods and durables as well as retail financial services, of whom 35 percent characterized themselves as either “chief marketing officer” or “head of marketing.” Of the companies the survey respondents represented, 31 percent reported revenues of over $1 billion last year.

“People are going to shop online,” Miller summed up. “We can all stop worrying about if it’s going to happen.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with details from the report that were not available before publishing time.

A Skylight Company Is Behind A Cautionary Viral Video About Modern Life

Daylight is a necessity, not a luxury—that’s the message behind skylight brand Velux’s new campaign, “The Indoor Generation.”

The cautionary video warns of the adverse effects of depriving our bodies of natural light. Narrated by a young girl, she tells a tale of humankind turning their homes into places they’d never want to leave but in shutting themselves out from the sun, they created problems ranging from depression to allergies.

Velux claims that 90 percent of our time is spent indoors and that 84 million Americans currently live in damp and moldy conditions. The brand did not cite the source of this information.

“The Indoor Generation” video has gained traction across social media, especially on Facebook, where it currently sits at over 7.1 million views.

To measure user engagement with Velux’s campaign, we calculated the earned media value from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter from May 14 to 17.

“Earned media” is the value of engagements a brand receives across channels as a result of their marketing efforts. To help quantify what the value of those engagements is worth, Ayzenberg Group established the Ayzenberg Earned Media Value Index (a.emvi) and assigned a quantifiable dollar amount for marketing gains a brand receives from a campaign or individual engagement that includes social media networks and similar digital properties.

(Editor’s note: AListDaily is the publishing arm of Ayzenberg Group. To read the updated a.emvi report reflecting the rapid changes in social, click here.)

Based on the latest a.emvi rates for social media interactions, Velux’s “Indoor Generation” ad earned a total of $830,387.28 in earned media value. This figure was based on values assigned to views, likes, comments and retweets.

“The Indoor Generation” generated the most earned media value on Facebook with $761,673.37. YouTube also proved effective in reaching audiences, with over 2.4 million video views to date. In its first four days, the ad earned $68,618.41. Instagram and Twitter delivered modest results—less than $100 of earned media combined.

The Velux website offers tips for integrating sunlight and fresh air into a daily routine. Although the brand does not cite the sources of its grim statistics, the ad appears to have had a strong impact on audiences, especially on Facebook who shared the PSA over 600 times.

Instagram Unleashes An Emoji Slider And Twitter Tackles Trolls

This week in social media news, Instagram thrives in Japan, Twitter battles trolls and Facebook lets users reminisce over old Stories.

Instagram: Sushi, Sharing And Surveys

Japanese Instagram users cited feeling a growing “sense of belonging” in the community, according to study findings released on Thursday. A 2017 Kantar study commissioned by Facebook IQ found that a majority of respondents check Instagram right before bed. The most popular topics are Fashion and Photography, both at 27 percent.

Users in the region are open to advertising on the platform, Kantar found, stating that some of the interviewed respondents don’t regard an ad as an ad. In addition, 33 percent said Instagram is a suitable advertising medium for any brand and not just those in high-end categories.

Instagram announced the ability to share feed posts inside a Story—even if that post originated from someone else. The new option allows users to insert another Instagram post like a sticker and will automatically credit the original poster. Users can opt out of having their posts shared by others in the settings and the option is only available for public accounts. Feed post sharing is now available for Android devices and will roll out for iOS in the coming days.

Instagram introduced the Emoji Slider, a new way to interact with users by creating polls inside Stories. Users can pose a question to their followers such as “How much do you love pizza?” Users can type any question they like and choose an emoji, which appears on an interactive slider. The emoji animates as users slide it left or right on the scale.

“By choosing an emoji for your question, you also add a layer of emotional context that helps those answering understand your tone and answer accordingly,” Instagram said in the announcement.

Twitter: Don’t Feed The Trolls

On Wednesday, Twitter announced its “new approach” to battle abuse on the platform, integrating new behavioral signals into its algorithm update. The idea is that accounts exhibiting suspicious behavior or those which have been reported multiple times for abuse will show up less often in Twitter’s timeline.

“Less than one percent of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse, but a lot of what’s reported does not violate our rules,” wrote Twitter’s director of product management and health David Gasca. “While still a small overall number, these accounts have a disproportionately large—and negative—impact on people’s experience on Twitter.”

Since not all “trolls” or negative comments technically violate Twitter’s rules, the algorithm update targets accounts that do not contribute to the “healthy conversation.” Gasca did not provide examples of what they constitute as healthy.

Early tests saw a four percent drop in abuse reports from Twitter search results and eight percent fewer reports from conversations.

In other news, Twitter has announced that its legacy API services will retire on August 16. Its new Account Activity API is now available to developers.

Facebook: Stories And Soundbytes

Like Instagram—and Snapchat from whence the feature originated—Facebook Stories disappear after 24 hours, but users in India can now archive them for viewing and posting later. Indian users are the first to try the platform’s new Stories update that rolled out on Wednesday. Facebook will let users privately save their clips from the Facebook Camera directly to the social network instead of their phone in case they don’t have enough space.

For a country like India, with 22 official languages, not having a custom keyboard can make posting a challenge. Facebook Stories will now offer audio recordings that play against a custom background. The feature could also be useful for those who are known for their voice, such as podcasters and voice actors.

Brands React To The Infamous ‘Yanny Or Laurel’ Debate

Brands were quick to capitalize on the viral “yanny or laurel” debate this week by stubbornly choosing a side, remaining neutral or inviting conversation on social media.

The debate started last week when high school student Katie Hetzel was working on a school project that recorded a computerized pronunciation of the word “laurel” from their computer speakers. Other students in the room discovered that they heard different things so Hetzel posed the question to their Instagram followers. Soon after, fellow student Roland Szabo, posting as RolandCamry, posed the question to Reddit. Other students posted the clip as well across social media and the debate has gained considerable traction ever since.

So what’s the correct answer? While the recording originated from “laurel,” examining Hetzel’s low-quality recording reveals that both words can be heard at different frequencies—”laurel” at low frequencies” and “yanny” at high.

People are responding to the debate in the thousands—let’s examine how brands have joined the conversation.

Team Laurel

Brands that heard “laurel” created memes to express their frustration about how anyone could interpret the clip any other way.

Warby Parker was a bit more subtle, promoting its Laurel model of glasses but calling it Yanny.

Taking a STANCE #laurel #yanny #itslaurelokay

A post shared by Smosh Games (@smoshgames) on

Team Yanny

Others, hearing the higher tones of “yanny,” defended their position on the matter with equal ferocity.

Embracing Both Sides

Not wanting to alienate any customers, most brands decided to show support for both “yanny” and “laurel” listeners. Some asked users to respond with the word they heard more clearly.

Staying Out Of It Altogether

Some brands merely commented on the debate rather than choose a side.

Hearing What You Want

It has been suggested that what listeners hear on the recording can also be influenced by previous experiences and preconceived notions. Some brands dodged the debate by “hearing what they wanted,” inserting different audio into the clip.


Study: Marketer Confidence In Driving Revenue Unchanged In 10 Years

After a decade, marketers still have a difficult time funneling customer engagement into revenue, the CMO Council and Sendwithus reported Tuesday.

In 2008, the CMO Council asked brands if they were fully realizing the revenue potential of customers, to which 76 percent said no. The question was posed again in a March study but 77 percent of marketers still said no and 10 percent say they are not even sure.

The new report, Gaining Traction With Every Digital Interaction, found that marketers aren’t confident in using digital communication to drive revenue. In fact, only 47 percent feel they are only “doing okay” in their digital communication efforts.

Marketers are optimistic about the practice, overall, with 94 percent of the respondents believing individual digital communications will help them reach their customer experience goals. Despite faith in digital communications overall, only 13 percent said they are drawing the full possible revenue from their customers.

Part of this uncertainty may be tied to a lack of collaboration. According to 34 percent of marketers, transactional emails are not leveraged as a relationship and revenue driver because they are created outside of marketing, with little opportunity to collaborate or align across functional areas.

The CMO Council asserts that that collaboration around the channels of choice for the customer is critical to turning an automated touchpoint into a revenue-producing opportunity.

This lack of involvement with digital communication efforts might explain why just only 36 percent of respondents see transactional emails as an opportunity to reinforce consumer relationships. The survey found that 30 percent use them only to confirm choices such as a password reset or receipt—not to further engagement.

Marketers were asked to detail the state of collaboration across key stakeholders in customer experience. Just over a quarter of respondents said that that collaboration is left to team leaders who collect input and feedback as needed. Just under a third of marketers indicated that collaboration comes in the form of meetings to align on strategies and timelines.

Looking forward, marketers indicated plans to realize revenue by optimizing profitable consumer relationships. Sixty-four percent said they are personalizing communications across all touchpoints, and identifying new ways to improve up-sell/cross-sell opportunities with existing customers.

Survey: Toyota, Verizon, Walmart Among The Most Trusted Brands In America

In partnership with Ipsos Connect, Reader’s Digest has fielded its 2018 annual Trusted Brands survey, revealing both the most trusted brands in America and the state of brand trust generally.

“Trust has always been one of the most essential values we maintain at Reader’s Digest,” stated Lee Zellweger, the journal’s publisher. “This program enables us to understand how trust impacts consumer behavior and why it is critical that brands work diligently now more than ever to protect the trust they have built between themselves and their consumers.”

The survey, which polled 5,500 Reader’s Digest readers across America, found the brands people trusted the most in each of 40 different product categories, which are granted the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand seal of approval.

Toyota won big across the automomotive categories, taking home the prize of most trusted brand for SUVs and hybrid and standard cars—only losing out to Ford for the truck/van slot. In the hotly contested wireless provider category, Verizon won out over rivals Sprint and AT&T.

Walmart was crowned the champion of trusted mass-merchandiser retailers, small surprise given its ubiquity and Amazon’s effect on other brick-and-mortar retailers in the category. Beating out MasterCard and Amex, Visa earned its seal as most trusted credit card company.

“This year’s winners consist of brands and companies that have excelled at earning the respect and allegiance of consumers nationwide,” Zellweger continued.

You can see the full list below.

The journal emphasized the importance of building brand trust, citing several of the survey’s more general findings. Seventy-one percent of the survey’s respondents claimed they would pay more for a brand they trusted, and 82 percent said they make an effort to stick with brands they trust.

While consumers tend to be generous with brands they like, woe on those that betray that trust. According to Ipsos, 68 percent of respondents claimed that being let down by a brand even once will make it “hard” for them to use it again in the future.

Many marketers may find themselves in the “untrusted” category. Sixty-nine percent of respondents agreed that “brands need to do a better job of earning consumers’ trust.” Additionally, 48 percent claimed to trust brands less now than they have in the past.

Though Amazon did not appear on the Reader’s Digest list, it was recently voted the most liked brand in America, though how much consumers trust it was not determined.