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Convosphere | Monthly Digest | November 2019

  1. Any UK-based mum or dad who’s turned to the web for parenting advice is likely to have ended up on Mumsnet. The site, a discussion forum focused on parenting and family issues, is the go-to for “support on everything from conception to childbirth, from babies to teenagers” for mums. What the site has also become known for is its language made up of slang, sounds and acronyms. Bewildering first-time visitors, threads are guaranteed to include cryptic abbreviations helping forum posters get their points across (‘YABOS’ anyone?) and promote discussion. Anyone eager to learn more about Mumsnetters’ slang and its impact on English vocabulary will be happy to hear there’s now a book on the topic. We’d love to hear your POV!
  2. Whether true or not, German customers are said to be notoriously hard to please. And it seems that German brands are missing a trick when it comes to customer service. A new study has found that many companies in Germany are opting out of the latest client communication technology, favouring fax(!) over chatbots and social media. How different is that from other markets? This report details customer service preferences among US consumers, making for an interesting compare & contrast.
  3. Our hearts melted when our Korean team introduced us to the latest craze in their country, a penguin puppet called Pengsoo. But internet sensation Pengsoo is more than just a cute face. In the videos on his YouTube channel, each scoring millions of views, he speaks his mind and mocks public figures, from politicians to celebrities. What’s not to love – a penguin antihero? Considering Pengsoo’s cross-generational popularity in South Korea, it’s no wonder brands are fighting to have him endorse their brands. Move over BabyShark!
  4. The most important event in the Chinese calendar for November was, of course, Alibaba’s Singles Day. The shopping festival, also known as 11.11, sees China’s online shoppers go on a 24-hour spending binge as they hunt down the best bargains. Topping last year’s record by 25%, the final tally of the 2019 edition landed at a staggering $38.4 billion. Unsurprisingly, the retail bonanza dominated social media channels as shoppers shared their finds alongside related hashtags. On Sina Weibo, the topic generated billions of views and mentions, with #双11来了 (# Double11HasCome) among the most popular hashtags.
  5. The world’s most lovable hedgehog has proved the importance of listening to the people. In April, a trailer for the long-awaited live-action take on Sonic the Hedgehog was released. But rather than drumming up excitement for the new film, it did the opposite. The reason? Sonic’s new ‘realistic’ design. Fans were not thrilled with the updated look and took to social media to express their opinions, dubbing the redesign ‘disturbing‘. Due to the backlash, Paramount delayed the launch of the film and went back to the drawing board. The revised trailer was released on 12th November and the new Sonic received a much warmer response, saving the filmmakers from further embarrassment. An unprecedented and costly decision but seemingly essential to avoid a box office flop from a rumoured $90 million budget movie. Not every industry has the ability to react so quickly, but all brands can garner insight from listening to their customers on social media.

Wishing all our US-based readers a Happy Thanksgiving!

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