Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. Book clubs for the purists

“Silent” book clubs are popping up all over the world. Why should you care? When designing or redesigning anything, stripping down the associations and assumptions with a brand or product is a great place to start. While book clubs may have seemed inherently designed for introverts, apparently many were still looking for something else. The founders of the “Silent Book Club” took all of the things associated with book clubs that they hated (assigned reading, cleaning the house, Pinterest-perfect snacks), tossed them out and started over with just the parts they liked: reading and being with other people. Now their clubs all over the world encourage people to read whatever they want, in silence together at a bar, library, etc. and then share with the group…or not. [NPR]

2. Rose-scented train stations

Hendrick’s Gin has wrapped one of the tunnels at King’s Cross Station with rose- and cucumber-scented advertisements. Why should you care? Scent creates strong associations and memories, making this a smart way to grab commuters’ attention and keep it. With alcohol, brands should be careful with smell (for obvious reasons), but overall, brands are smart to use scent to build positive associations with their product. [Matador Network]

3. Take your tweets outside

A team of researchers at the University of Vermont found that when people were outside, their tweets were “happier.” Why should you care? There are many different things to take away from this. If brands want happy Twitter engagement at their events, they could consider having outdoor Twitter gardens. Brands could offer deals or incentives for people to tweet about them while outside. If nothing else, if they want happier tweets written by their own brand managers, consider outside breaks or spaces to work. [MIT Technology Review]

4. Moody reading

Through “MoodFeed,” Buzzfeed readers can now indicate their mood and receive appropriate content to match. Why should you care? Mood-matching is definitely in right now and Buzzfeed isn’t the only media company trying to use it to deliver content. We mentioned a few weeks ago that the New York Times has found success with this approach. We also know that companies like Walmart are looking at mood to make store adjustments, improve customer service and possibly product recommendations in the future. As we learn more about the importance of emotion in decision-making, emotion or mood-based marketing is only likely to increase. [TechCrunch]

5. Podcasts for PR

Companies are releasing podcasts to subtly build their brand. Why should you care? These podcasts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are overtly branded like “Inside Trader Joe’s” while others, like “The Sauce” by McDonald’s are using satire and story-telling as part of a broad communications strategy. According to the New York Times, “These are not advertisements, exactly, but subtle brand-building efforts intended to entertain as well as persuade.” For “The Sauce,” McDonald’s mimicked the “true crime drama” inspired by infamous podcasts like “Serial” to “investigate” why they ran out of a fan-favorite sauce (as a subtle and extended apology to fans). For brands who know their audience and can find the right balance between marketing and storytelling, this can be a great way to have and hold consumers’ attentions for extended periods of time. [The New York Times]

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