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. The delay is in the details

United Airlines is adding extended commentary on why passengers are experiencing delays. Why should you care? For delays over 60 minutes, United’s “storytellers” manually write explanations. This is a smart way for United to build trust and transparency in one of the most frustrating parts of flying. Brands should consider which pain points in their interactions with customers, especially those beyond the control of the brand, could benefit from additional light context when they occur. [The Points Guy]

2. Opting out of housekeeping

Marriott and Disney have launched programs where patrons are rewarded for foregoing housekeeping while staying at their properties. Why should you care? Both organizations are claiming these moves are to make their resorts more sustainable, but that’s been met with mixed responses. While it may aid in sustainability, consumers are arguing that this is instead green-washed cost savings. Sustainability initiatives are increasingly important to consumers. However, initiatives that appear to be disingenuous will not only leave customers unimpressed, but also undermine the authenticity of the brand. Brands should be careful not to overstate their sustainability issues and should provide more information, as well as greater transparency, to make their case to critics. [The Washington Post]

3. TikTok on the campaign trail

A 26-year-old candidate is using TikTok as a primary medium on his campaign to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Why should you care? Forget for a moment that this is about an election and instead think about the channel. TikTok continues to grow and be used by brands in many creative and effective ways. This is just another example of how its power is being deployed to communicate with new audiences in new ways. Brands should start thinking now about how TikTok could become part of their connection strategies. [Insider]

4. New emojis for 2020

117 new emojis have been approved for 2020. Why should you care? Emojis are an interesting reflection of cultural priorities. So what does this batch say about 2020? More inclusive identities, anatomically correct heart and lungs, extinct animals, Swiss fondue, bubble tea and the “Italian Hand Gesture”…uh, I guess we’ll just have to see how 2020 plays out. [Matador Network]

5. Fresh fashion police in France

France is now exerting significant oversight into the sustainability and environmental impact of the fashion industry. Why should you care? This is a reflection of changing expectations from citizens/consumers. Until now, we’ve mostly seen consumers responding to the direct actions of brands either through support for innovative product releases and/or boycotts of egregious products. However, adding government oversight will create an additional audience for brands to tell their sustainability stories. Throughout 2020, brands will need to continue to preach their sustainability prowess while also preparing for an emerging public affairs audience. [Fast Company]

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