Emojis and advertising: It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

By Gina Nasuti of Think Shift

Gone are the days of 🙂 and 😦

Emojis emerged in Japan in the late 1990s by a mobile phone company that wanted to further simplify communication by expressing emotion via text. The word “emoji” came from the combination of the Japanese words for “picture,” “writing,” and “character.”

Fast forward to today, where Emoji is a second language and millennials line every text, tweet, status update – and on some occasions even university papers with little yellow faces of varying temperaments.

In 2015, the Oxford Dictionary named (Face With Tears of Joy) its word of the year. That’s not even a word!
Emojis are all the rage– which also makes them one of this year’s biggest opportunities for brands looking to connect with their audience in an entirely new way.

With nearly 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, brands with mobile initiatives are wasting no time on jumping on this non-verbal form of communication.

In 2015, Starbucks, Bud Light, McDonald’s, Dove, Coca-Cola and even the Star Wars franchise were among the first to develop their own custom emojis.

But like all trends, the shelf life and overall success of emojis in advertising is hard to predict. We’re creatures of habit and introducing a new form of communication can trigger a reaction – be it positive or negative. So what should you know before you use emojis within your organization?

There are really only two things that matter here, and in the world of advertising, they’re universal.

1. Know your audience
Like all initiatives, you need to be able to define whom it’s for to determine whether it will work. Just because you use emojis doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to resonate.
If you’re selling to the younger demographic, who has a sense of humor able to absorb a non-traditional form of communication, than emojis are a no-brainer.

2. Know how they source information
When they want to know something, how do they find it? Chances are if they are picking up a phonebook, emojis may be lost in translation.

It’s safe to say that emojis work best if your audience is youthful, mobile-comfortable, socially active and connected with pop culture trends. In other words, they’re alert and absorbing information out there in the active space.

Added bonus: In the world of 140-characters, emojis can help you say a little more with a little less.

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