ICYMI: Twitter Adds Stickers, Blender Brands Battle, & Tidal Waves Goodbye (Maybe)

Happy Friday! Wait, hold on — let me set the mood first.

Happy Friday! It’s officially July, meaning that Independence Day is just a couple of days away. Before you go get your #Murica on for the long weekend, take a few minutes to catch up on all of the top digital and branding news from the past few days in this week’s ICYMI.

Facebook Puts Friends & Family First

Facebook (our client!) made a big splash this week by announcing a major change to its News Feed algorithm, designed to make sure users never miss content from their close family and friends. According to Adam Mosseri, the VP of Product Management for the News Feed, the update solidifies the News Feed as a “subjective, personal, and unique” space for people to easily access “the stories that matter to them most.” For any brands concerned about how this switch will affect their Page traffic, the company also included in its announcement a list of best practices that publishers can review to ensure that they can continue to consistently & effectively reach their audiences. For more on the update, read the full announcement here.

Another Week, Another Twitter Update

Nearly a week has gone by this year without Twitter unveiling some sort of update or major announcement. In just the past month, the social giant has made a major investment in SoundCloud, implemented 360-degree videos, and revamped their 140-character tweet limit. Now, Twitter is closing the second quarter of 2016 by introducing yet another new feature: stickers. At its core, this addition is straightforward — when users share photos on the platform, they will now be given the option to add emoji-esque stickers to the image before tweeting it. Everyone will have access to a standard set of stickers, and Twitter plans to introduce unique ones for major events as well. Perhaps the coolest part of the new feature is that the stickers essentially operate like visual hashtags; when users tap on onto a photo, they’ll automatically jump to a timeline of other people’s photos which also use that sticker. For more about Twitter stickers, check out the company’s full announcement here.

The Battle of the Blender Brands

Although Twitter is in a constant state of flux these days, one thing about the platform has remained consistent: its impeccable ability to solicit and broadcast competition amongst brands. On Tuesday, model Chrissy Teigen randomly announced her intention to send a blender to one of her followers. Her tweet caught the attention of Vitamix, who quickly followed her on Twitter & prompted the following response:

While Vitamix quickly tried to clear the air — “Blender Gods, here! Not spying, we just love blending.” — the social media team at NutriBullet, sensing an opportunity to garner some viral attention of their own, quickly jumped into the conversation.

And things only got more interesting from there as Blendtec soon threw itself into the fray as well…

And, like many conversations on Twitter, the discussion eventually ended up on Beyoncé.

Ultimately, one has to applaud the social teams from NutriBullet and BlendTec for answering the door when opportunity knocked — and thank Chrissy Teigen for the hilarious commentary throughout the conversation. For more on the #BlenderWars, head here.

Google & Bose Launch New Educational Offerings

Education in today’s digital world is remarkable. With technology becoming more and more engrained in our everyday lives, kids these days are being taught important tech-related skills at younger and younger ages. This week, two brands announced new offerings designed around education. On Monday, Google revealed plans for Project Bloks, an initiative which uses building blocks to help children learn how to code. A few days later, Bose demonstrated its own innovative approach to education by unveiling new DIY Bluetooth speakers that are designed to be assembled by kids to teach them how sound works. Although these are only tangentially related, they represent the ways that major tech brands are branching out to help shape the future — and to diversify their own offerings. Head here for more on Google’s Project Bloks, and click here for additional information on Bose’s new easy-to-assemble speakers.

He’s not a businessman. He’s a business, man.

It’s been a busy week for Jay-Z. Just a few days after celebrating the 20th anniversary of his classic debut album Reasonable Doubt, the hip-hop mogul is reportedly in talks to have his music streaming service Tidal acquired by Apple. Although the talks are still ongoing and may not result in a deal, the partnership makes quite a bit of sense. Although Tidal has thus far failed to amass an audience akin to Spotify or Apple Music, the platform has succeeded in become a treasure trove of exclusive content; from brand new songs, videos, and albums to discounted concert tickets to the entire discography of the legendary Prince, Tidal’s collection is full of material that can’t be accessed through any other services. Plus, how great would it be for both Jay-Z and Dr. Dre to be on the Apple board? Add in the fact that Kanye West and Adidas just announced “the most significant partnership ever created between an athletic brand and a non-athlete” and it’s clear that the power of branding within hip-hop is as strong as it’s ever been. Ball so hard, indeed. To read more about the Apple-Tidal talks, click here.

Have a fantastic long weekend!

— Aazim

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