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Emojis Are Emerging as Key to Brand Strategy

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We've come a long way from using :) or :s when trying to use
visual language in social media communication. Emoticons were adopted across
pretty much all the leading communication platforms and have evolved into what
we now know as emoji.
Emojis have evolved rapidly and now provide the opportunity
to let brands use custom emoji as a way to connect with consumers. They even
provide an opportunity to create huge PR buzz as was shown by Microsoft who
announced their new 'flipping the bird' emoji that will please grumpy people
across the world. The lewd gesture will come in all skin tones that will
appease those calling for diverse emojis and also is quite literally putting the
middle finger up at competitors, most notably Apple.
Emoji such as the new middle finger emoji show the shift
that has occurred that lets users replace words with visual language. Instagram
have tracked the massive increase in usage of the past few years and noticed
that certain slang terms are not used as much due to corresponding emoji being
adopted more regularly. The emotive implications and language that are implied
through emoji cross traditional language barriers and appear to be globally
understood. Understanding subtle nuances such as sarcasm in written language
can be tricky; visual language seems the natural answer to that problem. There
are such a wide range of emoji available that people can use simply only emoji
to create whole phrases or sentences such as shown below. Understand any of
them?
About six billion emojis are sent every day and are becoming
a powerful tool for gathering insights for brands. They represent every day
behavior and can reveal trends. Brands can track the language and emoji used in
relation to their products or industry in order to get a direct view of their consumer's
opinions. Tracking emoji can capture people's emotional connections and behavior
to give brands insights into their customers. This allows the brand to feel
more in contact with their customers.
Tracking emojis on platforms such as Instagram can give
incredibly up to date information on consumer opinions which can be used for
future consumer targeting. Emoji then could be another step forward in the
future of market research and consumer insights. However this still could be
aided by further development of emoji. There may be many already but a further
maturing could help to give more detailed insights. The range of expressions
can be expanded and a consistency of meaning is vital in the future of this
innovative idea. The tracking across multiple platforms will need to be updated
with technological advancements in order to get a broader understanding of
emoji usage.
The end result could mean a new way to follow the exchange
of ideas and feelings, that ultimately will bring brands closer to the people
they want to reach. 

About the Author:
Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the
industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent
graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as
a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World
Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com

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