Smiley faces. Thumbs-ups. Tacos. Even a smiling pile of … well, you can use your imagination for that one. Seemingly every smartphone user these days is using emojis – and brands like Ikea, Taco Bell, Foot Locker, Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola are doing so as well.

Emoji, meaning “picture letter” in Japanese, is defined as a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. Emojis have been widely accessible in the United States since 2011, when Apple incorporated them into iOS 5, but now their level of popularity is at an all-time high. Brands are using emojis for an added twist to press releases, headlines and social media, and some are even going so far as to create their own branded emoji keyboards for fans to download and add to their repertoires.

So why do consumers love and use emojis so much? Simply put, emojis humanize the message that is being sent. Mobile messages sometimes can be seen as impersonal and expressionless, and at times they can be difficult to decipher without the benefit of human expression. Emojis help change that. Think about how important body language and facial expressions are in communication. A smiley emoji at the end of a text or tweet helps provide context and added emotion. It can make the reader feel like he or she is looking at a real grin!  

Emojis represent the growing cultural shift toward a more visual form of communication. They’re an integral part of the way emerging demographics communicate these days. So not only can emojis present brands with an opportunity to convey their messages even more creatively, but they provide an “in” with younger generations to help break through the clutter.

Still need convincing? We put together our top five reasons why emojis should be part of your marketing:

Six billion emojis are sent every day via mobile messaging apps worldwide. And with 250 new emojis recently released with the latest iOS update (not to mention the dozens of new emoji apps popping up each month), it’s clear that the growing popularity of emojis is not just a passing fad.

Emojis can transcend language barriers. Most emojis, like a smiley face or heart, mean the same thing in other languages, which makes it easier for people – and brands – to communicate across different languages and cultures.

Emojis can convey emotion faster and in less characters than words. One emoji can completely transform a statement. In some cases, words aren’t even necessary!

Emojis leave a lot of room for creativity. Domino’s lets customers order a pizza simply by tweeting the pizza slice emoji. Chevrolet wrote an entire press release using emojis. Burger King even created its own downloadable emoji keyboard to promote the comeback of the beloved chicken fries. The possibilities are endless, and these brands, among many others – like Mountain Dew, Bud Light and GE – have taken full advantage of the creative freedom that emojis provide.

Emojis add context and enable wordplay. Shorten sentences, make puns, answer questions, deliver punchlines … emojis can help do it all. It’s easy for people to take written content out of context when there are no facial cues or tone of voice to go by. Whether it’s a joke or a criticism, emojis can help by adding context or taking the edge off a message. 

The marketing potential that emojis hold is both powerful and exciting, but keep in mind that emojis may not be suited for every brand and industry. Contact SKAR if you’re interested in learning more about how you can leverage this quirky new communication tool to help give your business a fun and effective new communication tool.

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