Emojis, those lovely yellow Unicode fellas, have evolved from being the perfect complement for our text or Whatsapp message, to becoming the hottest tool to catch the eyes of Millennials and Generation Z everywhere. It’s simple to see why: they’re simple, universally understood and can replace words and feelings with a single tap (or many repetitive taps, if get too excited).
Since 2014, over 110 billion emojis have been tweeted worldwide, so it’s safe to say they’re not going anywhere. Brands are taking action, integrating emojis into their digital communication, sometimes even making them the stars; with the creation of their own shareable keyboards. Such is the case of brands like Dove, Burger King and Pepsi, who partnered with Snaps last year with impressive results.
Now Twitter has announced that brands will be able to target their customers, according to the type of emoji they use on their tweets. That means that if you use a lot of , you will definitely catch the eye of @BurgerKing, whereas if ⚰ dominate your conversation… You may get surprised by an ad for a funeral home… Or for Halloween costumes.
An easy for marketing success? Not so simple.
Just as any communication channel or tool, pasting random icons simply because of popularity amongst our audience is not enough. It’s crucial to know the cultural meaning given by users, in order to avoid an offensive gaffe worthy of the Emoji’s Hall of Infamy… And this is not limited to an innocent use of the eggplant emoji.
Last month, American rapper Mally Mall lost his beloved exotic cat in a fire at his Las Vegas home. The Clark County Twitter account (jurisdiction that attended the emergency) posted a really inappropriate condolence message that, not only included a graphic picture of the dead pet, but added the emoji.
2015’s Word of the Year, according to Oxford Dictionary, conveyed the exact opposite meaning than the one intended to express by law enforcement. The tweet was taken down and the county apologized to Mall.
Like everything, better come from simplicity
Now, what can you do so it doesn’t look like your two-year-old nephew took over the Social Media Strategy? Emojis are just another keyboard in our phone, so the rules we apply to writing fit them as well.
Less is more: Domino’s Pizza disrupted the emoji game with a brilliant, Cannes winning strategy, where users could order food just by typing the emoji. Their teasing campaign before the release was comprised of pizzas. What a great way to open customers’ appetites and engagement by simplifying the ordering process “down to a five-second exchange”, as Domino’s CEO, Patric Doyle, told USA Today.
Connect with a purpose: Continuing with fast food and great practices, Taco Bell rallied their followers to get the taco emoji approved by Unicode for its 8.0 release, last year. Using a Change.org petition and the enthusiasm of thousands of fans, their effort was rewarded last October when iOS and Android finally integrated the taco emoji. From there, Taco Bell continued the conversation with customized messages triggered by the icon.
Don’t encrypt, this is not Morse code: Chevrolet made waves last year, when they announced the release of their Cruze model with a statement written in emojis. It was unique and quite unexpected, but in our fast-paced communications world, few have time to decode our modern time hieroglyphs.
Have genuine fun: The best way to succeed in any communication strategy is to remain authentic, and using emojis isn’t the exception to this rule. Bud Light tapped into the American spirit for the 4th of July, with a patriotic message that used the three staples of this holiday: and .
The Emo of Emojis stands for emotions, and in marketing communications, that is precisely the element that gives us marketers a job and keeps business going. Using and measuring them properly will provide us an opportunity to strengthen connections and create content that matters.