DiscoveRY | December edition

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Hot topic

Hot topic

What’s the news?

Fake news and hoax news has been an ongoing phenomena in the digital world since its beginnings. For over two decades now, seemingly convincing fake stories and articles have circulated the internet, fooling us time and time again. In fact, fake news has existed since before the age of the internet; one notable rumour was the infamous “Paul is Dead” hoax, which circulated in 1966 and speculated that Paul McCartney had died and had been replaced by a lookalike.

Today, the incredibly fast and easy access to news has lead to a plethora of fake news circulation. According to Buzzfeed, more fake news than real news stories were shared on Facebook during past US presidential election, during which two Macedonian teenagers became known for pumping out hundreds of right-leaning stories catering to a conservative mindset. It is important to note, however, that fake news comes in several shapes and forms. Ranging from blatant hoaxes of Justin Bieber’s death, to articles that discreetly and conveniently leave out key details in order to validate their opinion, fake stories can be found in even the most convincing articles.

What does it mean for us?

1. Major media outlets aren't always right:
As previously mentioned, some of the biggest news outlets have been guilty of forwarding fake news. While this doesn’t happen often, we can’t rely and count on these outlets to always tell the true story, or the full one.

2. Check the sources:
Quotes and sources makes a story more legitimate and accurate, right? Wrong. Many fake stories will use unreliable, fake, or non-existent sources. In tabloid pieces, for example, reading that “a source told us” makes the story seemingly more reliable. Without giving any name or identification, however, there is absolutely no way to know who this source is, or if it even exists. Even when a name is given, check to see who they are, and whether you can verify what they said.

3. Be aware of loaded language:
Some articles will exaggerate, twist or make up stories to serve their own interests or opinions. If an article seems suspiciously subjective, be sure to fact check., and are useful resources to make this easier.

4. Always be skeptical:
While this may sound pessimistic, the prevalence of fake news is surprisingly high, meaning that any article you see could have faulty facts or be a hoax. It is therefore important to approach news critically, and to be equipped to identity suspicious content that might need double-checking.

Interesting stuff

What’s the news?

In 2013, Errol Morris, writer and filmmaker, created an online quiz to assess which font style would be considered the most likeable and trustworthy. According to his online test, which accumulated a total of 45,000 responses, Baskerville was considered the most trustworthy font type, while comic sans and Helvetica were considered to be the least agreeable font type.

This type of study was repeated again in October 2016 by Allesio Laiso and Rick Sobiesak, who both found the same results as Errol Morris. They found that, not only does typography make a real difference to the way users experience the products people design for them, but also influences each product differently.

Mickael Cho (co-founder of IT company, ‘Ooomf,’ and ‘Ooomf’ blogger) found that our preference to certain typefaces was due to something called a Scan Path (the natural pattern by which our eyes scan information). This is where we break sentences into scans (saccades) and pauses (fixations). Any font style and spacing between letters that allow our eyes to read in this pattern make it easier for individuals to read content. Any font style or spacing that does not follow this pattern makes it painful for us to read and so makes us less likely to read the content available. Cornell psychologist, David Dunning, also found that our preference for certain types of font styles was due to a typeface’s ability to convey either optimism or pessimism.

What does it mean for us?

How our clients communicate to their consumer audience is very important. Attaining audience trust is not just about what is being said in the brand message, but also about how the message is presented. Subconsciously, audiences may have already decided how they feel about a brand, just from how they’ve chosen to format their message, which may impact on how an audience will attend to the message.

It is important for companies to look at how their audience processes a message in order to increase trust and believability. Fake news has become increasingly believable due to the way fake news articles are formatted to appear like quick searches on a search engine. People will believe fake news more as it allows people to engage short cuts or heuristics in cognitive searches to find information quickly and easily. Fake news also manipulates cognitive dissonance whereby people will be more likely believe a message that confirms their own pre-existing beliefs and values. Therefore, formatting a message in a way that allows people to process it easily will increase the trust and believability of a brand message.

Client case

Can we change the world of digital security we are living in?

What’s the news?

We recently had the opportunity to work with our client Kaspersky in the creation of the #AndOwningIt campaign. This was a chance to engage with the rising number of young people struggling with anxiety due to insecurities caused by false realities constructed on social media, and our constant connection to this digital world.

The aim of the campaign is to allow people to literally wear their insecurities with pride to build confidence. Kaspersky Lab works to turn insecurity into security online, so we decided to take that purpose one step further and make it a reality. #AndOwningIt is a first-of-its-kind social justice campaign designed to help end the stigma around mental health by inspiring young people to reclaim the labels that make them feel anxious, as embracing your insecurities is the first step to taking away their power.

Capitalising on the ironic t-shirt trend, we worked with a sustainable t-shirt supplier to create a custom online t-shirt store that sells slogan shirts based on the things that make young people feel anxious. Working with our brilliant media friends at Altair, we brought the campaign to life with an integrated paid, earned and owned social strategy including some really compelling influencer posts.

What does it mean for us?

On a human level this client case study is wonderfully empowering to all and is a huge credit to all those who worked on creating the campaign. However, beyond that, it also highlights some instrumental issues for our business both now and in the future. For example, it demonstrates that purpose for a company does not have to be confined to a specificity, it can be an idea or a concept. Kaspersky’s purpose is to provide security, which in this case not only has a literal meaning of security in the digital world, protecting data and information, but also ensuring people feel secure in themselves. This is also another relevant example of the need for companies to have a social impact and benefit in order to develop successfully and sustainably. Additionally, the idea of digital insecurity leads into our own business and the quality of service we can provide clients. If we don’t have a high level of digital security within RY, we cannot begin to offer a great personal relationship with clients as we won’t have the ability to retain and protect data.

False personalities constructed online on social media do have an impact on today’s youth, so much so that the consequences have to be tackled by campaigns such as this in reality. This would evidently highlight the similarity between this and fake news. News published online does influence audience beliefs and perceptions, much like social media, and does have to be challenged in reality too with the impacts reversed.

Purchase a t-shirt and read more about the campaign here.