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Brands speaking the emoji language

Emojis, invented in Japan for sending pictographs between phones, were extremely popular in the nation for a number of years. It gradually spread across the globe and became a socially acceptable way to communicate. This is a testimony to the thought that ‘pictures speak louder than words’ but now the gradual trend is witnessing the shift to ’emojis speak louder than text messages’. The youth are increasingly using just emoticons as a way of communicating and expressing themselves. Content and text messages are slowly and gradually being replaced by emojis in terms of regular and advertising communication.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp are the popular platforms where emojis are widely used to relate better with the consumers. Instagram has recently joined the emoji phenomenon and taken it to the next level by allowing users to hashtag emojis, making them highly searchable. This has given rise to brands evaluating how to reach out to their consumers and acquire their attention through emojis further.

Research understands that emojis are a sign of expression that detects posture, gestures and facial expressions of individuals or brands for communication. Brands are cleverly utilising emojis to convey complex messages to the audience through simple messaging. Content tends to be forgotten quickly but images, stickers and emojis create a visual recall, which means consumers recollect the brand emoticons even a certain time lapse.

There are nearly two billion smartphone users around the world who share approximately 41.5 billion messages and six billion emojis every day on a plethora of mobile messaging apps. Seeking a vast canvas of opportunity, we’ve applied emojis as a unique strategy to engage audiences through our latest out-of-the-box campaign for Za Beauty India, #TrueBeauty, a cross platform contest that urged users to tell us what beauty means to them, using only emojis. The campaign witnessed enormous response in the social media as the overall reach of Twitter was 1,268,702 and Instagram was 76,950. The campaign earned 2,500 Twitter and Instagram interactions.

Brands are creatively using emojis in two ways to interact with their target audience – first is by licensing their emojis for users to pay to use, hence it generates revenue while letting users engage with the brand.

Another way to use emojis is through content marketing when a brand pays for their emojis to be featured in an app and the users can use it for free. Emojis are on the top of the latest communications trends as it conveys messages in an elegant manner. Utilising emojis are the unique strategy of the brands and delivers extraordinary user experiences. Movie studios, sports teams and brands in the entertainment sector are making their own emojis available to lucrative young demographics which are addicted to text on their phones through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Swyft Media claims that active users of mobile applications send an average of 96 emojis or stickers each day.

Critics believe that emojis are killing languages; however supporters perceive it as an enhanced medium of communication. They believe that it tends to make an individual lazy. It hinders an individual’s attention to read and persuades them to focus on visual communication, rather than relying on words. However, in today’s generation when people are connecting to multiple platforms in a fraction of a second, emojis have become an important tool to express exact reactions, feelings and thoughts, quickly replacing the traditional manner of conveying a message with the help of words. It has brought the world a vibrant and visual form of communication that will not only stay but become a leading form of rapid communication.

Zafar Rais

Zafar Rais has a well-heeled experience of 15 years in areas of Marketing, Branding, Business Development, Operations, Research and Product Innovation. Under Mr Rais's leadership, MindShift Interactive runs three different business verticals, namely, MindShift Digital (Digital Marketing & Influencer Relations), MindShift Metrics (Digital Research Consulting) and MindShift Activate (Events & Promotions) with each working towards achieving a unified goal of providing brands with the ideal outreach backed by ideal insights.