If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how many is an emoji worth? Apparently a lot. Aside from everyday text messages and Snapchat stories, many big name brands, including Pepsi, Dove, Domino’s, and Facebook have put a lot of stock in the tiny icons by integrating custom emojis into their campaigns.
For those who are unfamiliar, emojis are small simple images that can be downloaded onto phones in the form of a keyboard. Emojis are used to supplement text messages or as messages in themselves. Like any respectable language, emojis have been combined to form (almost) complete sentences, developed double entendres (you know which ones we’re talking about), and been recognized as having their own set of associated meanings for specific situations.
Anyone with a smartphone will appreciate the emoji emotional intonations that can’t be reached with just 26 letters; it’s like adding facial cues to your texts.
Texting “haha” or “lol” can only say so much, but the varying degrees of laughing emojis allow for a fuller range of expression. Sending an angry versus a blushing face can be the difference between a fight and joke.
Earlier this year, Facebook integrated an emoji feature into their “like” system called “Reactions.” It gives users the ability to react to a post with an emoji instead of simply liking it. The “reaction” options are: like, love, haha, wow, sad and angry, and each is associated with its own distinct emoji. This feature was added to let users express “empathy” according to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. For example, before reactions, if a person posted that their dog died, it was hard to express support or sadness without commenting. Reactions allow for a quick easy way to express a reaction to a post. This is a great example of how emojis give messages a greater and more accurate emotional range.
Marketers are using the expressive power of emojis to capture and engage their audiences.
Last year Domino’s released an emoji-centric campaign that offered consumers the option of ordering their pizza by sending the standard pizza emoji to a Domino’s number. The campaign won the 2015 Cannes Titanium Grand Prix for the most breakthrough idea of the year. In one day, more than 500 pizzas were ordered using this system; although Domino’s was unsure if consumers would have otherwise ordered the pizza online. In any case, the campaign received a lot of media coverage and created a revitalized brand awareness for Domino’s. They are making a name for themselves among the younger generations, who frequent social media channels, as an innovative brand that wants to make the barrier between the consumer and pizza as low as possible.
Other brands have also got in on the action. Dove used emojis to represent women with curly hair using the “Love Your Curls” emojis (all of the women on the standard keyboard have straight hair). Eggo wanted its love for waffles to be expressed, and they gave their consumers Eggojis. Even VisitPhilly.com, Philadelphia’s premiere tourism resource, recently created a set of emojis for the entire city, which includes cheesesteaks, the Love sign, and other iconic Philly landmarks. It looks like brands are really tapping into the power of the emoji to connect with their audiences, especially younger generations.
We’ve all heard the familiar panic associated with “We’re reverting to hieroglyphs!” But emojis aren’t replacing our alphabetic written language; they are just another way of communicating. Emojis have complex and expansive relationships that let people express emotions in a way that a simple text can’t. There is no substitute for a few carefully chosen emojis when you want the conversation to end or to let someone know just how cute that puppy was. How do you feel about the way brands are using emojis to connect with their audiences? Are you excited or are you over it? Respond with an emoji!