Long gone are the days of the written word. Whether you love or loathe them, emojis have been a part of our daily communication for many years and are here for the long haul.
We can already hear you asking “where did emojis even come from?”, so let’s start from the very beginning. The first emoji was created by Japanese designer, Shigetaka Kurita, in the late 1990s, to provide a quick and easy way for users to communicate.
Originating from the word ‘pictograph’, the name emoji derives from the Japanese ‘e’ meaning picture, and ‘moji’, meaning character. The similarity to the English words ‘emoticon’ and ‘emotion’ is simply a great coincidence.
Over the years, the use of emojis has boomed and we now have characters to represent facial expressions, places, food, activities, and so much more. Going swimming? There’s an emoji for that. Eating pizza? There’s an emoji for that. Looking for an oil drum? You guessed it, there’s an emoji for that. No really, there’s an emoji for pretty much everything.
With over 92 per cent of the online population and six in ten of the 500 most followed brands online using emojis, it seems obvious that brands should consider embracing the trend and when appropriate, use them to its advantage. So, let’s delve a little deeper into the use of emojis and see where they fit into the PR world.
If like us, you’re a big animal lover, you may remember WWF’s #EndangeredEmoji campaign. Launched in 2015, the campaign encouraged supporters to donate to the organisation by tweeting animal emojis, which represented 17 of the world’s endangered animals. Aimed at increasing the brand awareness of WWF, the campaign tapped into a global phenomenon and brought the attention of endangered animals to a younger audience through the use of something they use every day, very clever!
Emojis are a quick and easy way to promote a brand’s message in an upbeat and fun manner, and have been reported to greatly increase levels of engagement. As emojis are universally understood, a brand can reach a wider audience and break down language barriers, which, without emojis, would be a much greater challenge.
We all know the heartbreak of writing a killer tweet, to realise that it is way over the word count. Thankfully emojis are on hand to end our despair. Using emojis can help in significantly reducing a character count, whilst still putting your intended message across. That’s music to a PR’s ears.
Whilst emojis can be a great benefit to brands, it is worth considering the implications they can cause. Unfortunately, not every device can view emojis in the intended way. If your audience does not have the latest smartphone devices, be prepared for some of your emoji written promotions to be lost on a percentage of your target audience.
Often a brand needs to portray a serious tone, in such instances, emojis are not an appropriate use of language. If a customer service rep responded to a customer’s complaint with a string of emojis, we can only imagine the negative reaction that would cause .
It is extremely important to keep in mind your target audience when thinking of using emojis in your brand’s content. Whilst a young teen may revel in the use of emojis, our grandparents are much less likely to appreciate decoding an emoji message.
So let’s recap –
When to use emojis:
When not to use emojis:
Some say dogs are a man’s best friend, others say emojis. Well, they don’t, but we think they should.
(If you’re not fluent in emoji, that’s thanks for reading and see you next time!)