Community Futures Meridian

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What's with Emojis?

  • July 3, 2017
  • Written by Meridian Admin

They even have their own day! World emoji day is July 17th – are you ready for it?

  • There are about 1,900 emojis (including all sequences) in circulation.
  • 92% of the online population use emojis
  • 60% of women report using emojis frequently as opposed to 41% of men

Professor Vyvyan Evans, Professor of Linguistics, states, “Today, emoji is incontrovertibly the world's first truly global form of communication.” If this is true, and it’s widely held to be so, the impact Emojis will have on the way we communicate and market to consumers will be staggering.

It seems only recently that everyone was using emoticons such as, :-) or :-o and LOL – today, emoticons and shorthand are going out of fashion quicker than Gwen Stefani’s dresses. Emojis are taking their place; these mostly cute pictograms are spreading across social media mediums, advertisements and promotional campaigns like crab grass in a vegetable garden.

Originating in Japan they were first created by telecom worker Shigetaka Kurita in the late 90’s. They didn’t become popular elsewhere until 2011, when Apple made the emoji keyboard available internationally. By mid 2013, Android operating systems also featured the keyboard and so these little characters took off like wildfire.

Why Are Emojis So Popular?

People have incredibly short attention spans, only eight seconds according to a Canadian Microsoft study, so immediate gratification is the name of today’s marketing game. We used to wait several minutes for photographs to slowly load on a webpage in the days of dial-up. Today, we expect everything to be immediate. If a web page is slow, or making a purchase takes more than a click or two, we move to another site.

Emojis allow us to send messages that carry more emotion and can be a better fit for what we want to say than words. In a commercial environment, customers can quickly identify what they want to purchase, or what action they want to take. Boston based InMoji has taken this one step further and developed clickable brand icons; these InMojis reside in a message and can connect people to a company’s offer via their brand icon without the user leaving the messaging app they are using. Brand messages become part of consumers’ text conversations.

Emojis - Cute or Corporate?

If you’re shaking your head and thinking emojis are just a cutesy way of saying you’re sad, or in love in a text message or email and have no relevance to the real world of marketing your business, think again.

Dominos Pizza now allows registered ‘Easy Order’ customers to order pizzas by simply clicking and texting or tweeting a pizza icon. The lesson here is consumers want things easier and quicker. The days of filling out long forms and entering credit card numbers is old school. Click It - Buy It, is fast becoming the new online purchasing mantra.

Seriously? Emojis?

Without doubt, emojis, and inMojis (branded emojis) are a valid new form of communication, one that transcends languages, cultures, and generations. Put aside any negative feelings you might have about the pile of poo emoji, or the levitating man in a business suit for a moment and consider: 92 per cent of all people online are using emojis. The Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year in 2015 was the Face with Tears of Joy emoji – NOT even an actual word! It’s the first time a pictogram has ever been chosen. Facebook created five new emoji ‘reactions’ to help users emote more accurately when commenting on someone’s post.

Emojis are steadily moving beyond the basics and allowing people to relay far more meaningful sentiments without having to fiddle with the tiny keyboard on their cell phones.

Billions of emojis are transmitted daily, and in marketing terms they are not age specific although it should be noted that more women use them than men.

Emojis, the U.S. Election and More

The U.S. election saw candidate emojis, Sony is working on an emoji feature film, and many global brand names have developed their own inMojis. In the U.K. an online banking app already uses emojis in place of PIN numbers; apparently, they are more secure – not to mention easier for people to remember.

Using emojis, or inMojis in marketing is not without its challenges, especially as some have hidden, or slang meanings, but don’t let that stop you checking out these emotive icons as they are infiltrating advertising and marketing campaigns everywhere.

No matter the size of your business, developing an appreciation for this new communication tool would be a wise thing to do; they are going to be an integral part of the marketing mix for the foreseeable future.