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. Gratitude Emoji  

Twitter revealed usage of the praying hand emoji has gone up by 50% during the pandemic. Why should you care? As we covered in an earlier Navigating COVID-19 Coverage post, despite overall negative sentiments, the feeling that has dominated online conversation is one of “thanks.” Jumping on that, Twitter created a new version of the praying hand emoji that is automatically populated whenever users tweet hashtags such as #thanks, #gratitude and other variations of gratefulness, to help people show their gratitude during these tough times. [People]

2. Facebook & Small Biz

Facebook showcased several new features aimed at enabling small and midsized businesses to easily sell their goods online. Why should you care? Small, mom-and-pop owned businesses have been some of the hardest hit during COVID-19. Facebook Shops is hoping to alleviate some of that stress by giving small businesses the ability to set up single online store access via Facebook/Instagram where shoppers can purchase their items directly. [Adweek]

3. Instagram Guides Feature

Instagram has rolled out a Guides feature that focuses on wellness and mental health. Why should you care? As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, mental health and wellbeing is key. With that in mind, Guides will enable users to easily discover mental health-related recommendations, tips and other content from their favorite creators, public figures and/or organizations. [Adweek]

4. Animal Crossing

Fashion has found a surprising new platform – Animal Crossing, Nintendo’s real-time life simulation game. Why should you care? In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve seen industries having to pivot and find a new way to reach their audiences – and the fashion industry is no different. Iconic fashion labels like Marc Jacobs, Valentino and Sandy Liang are just a few of the designers that have hopped on the Animal Crossing bandwagon to virtually showcase their collections in the form of downloadable outfits – free of charge and with zero waste. [Vogue]

5. Product Comebacks

Millennials have been accused of many things, but one of the most notorious has been their reputation for “killing products.” However, amidst the pandemic, we’re seeing a resurgence of some of these “killed off” products such as American cheese, napkins, golf, cereal and beer. Why should you care? There have been few generations as picky as millennials, but coronavirus has altered consumer behavior and in direct correlation – purchasing decisions – leading to a resurgence in these once forsaken categories. These changes are fueled by many factors including price, availability and durability – but in short, we just don’t have the luxury to be extra particular anymore and are now choosing convenience and safety over product preference. [AdAge]

For more insights on communication and brand strategy, industry trends and more, subscribe today to the Weekly Buzz here.