7 Ways for Brands to Use Emojis in Marketing Campaigns

Do you know how to speak emoji? 🙂 With the increase of the emoji’s popularity, many brands have become well-versed in it recently.

It makes sense. These brands are just speaking the emerging language of its audience. Almost all (92%) of the online population uses those cartoon-like images in texts and social media, according to a September 2015 study from Emogi, a real-time emotional marketing platform. People of all age groups—not just teens and young adults—use emojis, with women using them more than men.

Emoji fans say the pictographs (1) help them better express themselves and understand others, (2) create a more personal connection with others, (3) replace wordy texts or overused shortcuts like “LOL” and (4) simply communicate with others who often use them.

Knowing this, here are some instances when your brand should consider including emojis to better connect with your audience.

To Stand Out

Domino’s broke out of the pack when it offered the opportunity to place orders with a pizza emoji on Twitter or via text. Emoji-ordering. Who knew?! The effort capitalized on the emoji’s popularity in a novel way and connected with its text-loving, Twitter-happy consumers. The campaign earned Domino’s the Cannes Titanium Grand Prix for top breakthrough idea of the year.

Domino’s also created mock PSAs and flashcards to spread emoji literacy, especially for baby boomers who get lost in translation. It connects with the younger generation in a new way, while poking fun at the nanas and papas of the world who are emoji-clueless. Several entities have created proprietary emoji sets to promote their products, commemorate special occasions or cash in on trending topics. For example, Burger King created a Chicken Fries emoji keyboard and the The Washington Post released Postmoji—a political emoji set for the White House Correspondents Dinner and election season. Offering these sets are a smart ploy to keep their brand in the public eye. 

To Be Concise

When challenged with using 140 characters or less, emojis cut the fluff. In this case, General Electric’s tweet shortened the Popular Mechanics story with precision. Who needs extra words when the images say it all?

To Provide Instant Understanding

Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. In this example, Taco Bell could have gone on and on about how they adore The Mowgli’s, but the emoji relays the message. Emojis often and easily replace facial expressions we’d use in in-person conversations.

Sometimes words alone can’t convey meaning, making emojis very useful. That’s one reason why Facebook is testing six new emojis in addition to the “like” icon in Ireland and Spain to express emotional nuances ranging from surprise to anger. Women in the Emogi report said emojis help them more accurately express their thoughts and make it easier for others to understand them. Moreover, brands can pick the right emojis to better express themselves and interact with consumers in real time.

To Mobilize Supporters

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) created a set of 17 emojis of endangered animals. The WWF encouraged people to donate 10 cents for every emoji they tweeted. The #EndangeredEmoji Twitter campaign brought attention to the animals’ plight every time one of their cartoon versions popped up online and, perhaps, brought the WWF closer to saving them from extinction.

To Elicit Joyful Emotion or Make People Laugh

Studies show that simply looking at a smiley face online is akin to looking at a happy face in real life. Other research shows that people who read corporate communication with emoticons like “:-)” saw the message as favorable and the sender as credible. Brands can trade smiley faces for real smiles all day long.

To Tell Stories

General Electric, a master of social media, uses the pictographs to bring science to the masses. The #EmojiScience campaign prompted people to send emojis to receive short video lessons. In return, Bill Nye the Science Guy explained hard concepts with emoji-filled videos. Research shows that the presence of emoticons in online communication can help the people reading or viewing it remember the content better than messages without emoticons. We learn better with visuals. We just needed emojis to pass AP chemistry. Good to know.

To Break Up Text

Which of these Baskin-Robbins tweets stand out? Probably those with the emojis. Just like on magazine pages, blogs and social media feeds, visuals break up the monotony of black-and-white text.




Keep in mind that emojis aren’t a panacea for all marketing ills. Make sure they can connect with your audience, are actually useful and convey the right meaning. If this post helped you, then give us the thumbs up in the comment section!

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