An emoji is worth a thousand words.

As children, we have always favoured pictures over words. So, it’s no surprise the rise of the emoji is more popular than ever. Take a look at the Emoji Tracker which gives us some indication on how obsessed we’ve become for using love hearts, the flexed bicep, the aubergine, the pile of poo, and many more on Twitter. The emoji library is endless and ever-growing.   

Scrolling through our social feeds, the emoji has the ability to express thoughts and feelings at first glance. The eye is naturally drawn to the colourful icon, brightening up a rather dull lump of text. Sometimes no words are needed, just a quick sending of an emoji will be enough to satisfy the receiver. From facial expressions to everyday objects, welcome to the global language of millennials.

Our busy timelines are constantly buzzing with activity, craving for attention to ‘buy now’, ‘learn more’ or ‘discover here’, but it is the emoji which establishes its creative, youthful quirkiness. Keeping things light and providing a sense of comic relief, the emoji establishes the brand’s voice: friendly, young, and fun. It can also have the superpower to soften the blow of bad news. Gauging the tone can often be difficult whilst reading, but the emoji reflects a sense of light heartiness and silliness.

To use an emoji or not use an emoji, that is the question.

Knowing your tone of voice and target audience is key, it determines how relevant using emojis can be for the brand. For all things luxury, the emoji tends to be off limits. The “face with tears of joy” won’t have enough pulling power to convince a customer to part with hundreds or thousands of pounds. Whereas if the brand’s target audience is to capture the imagination of a younger, more engaging market, the emoji may be the best communicative tool for a chatty conversation between customer and brand.

Existing in a very competitive world, personality is everything. If you can master professional yet friendly content, it is the first step towards credibility. The emoji can certainly help break through the fourth wall, creating an informal and playful interaction via social media. Like chatting with a friend, the customer has an opportunity to bond with the brand. As great emotional cues, the emoji can help put multiple smiley faces to a name, as a result humanising the seriousness of business.    

However, it is very easy to overuse the emoji, which can create a messy layout and cringe-worthy response to being “down with the kids”. It is best to be selective, think about which emoji represent the products or services you offer. Once you’ve established a few, those emojis become ingrained into the brand’s social identity. The trick is not to dominate but to simply crown your posts with a couple of iconic markers.

Love or hate them? The emoji is here to stay. Like a theatre mask, they provide visual drama to any digital text. They can make you laugh, cry or roll eyes. It is the ping-pong of these expressive characters on a very social playing field which makes communication more enjoyable.

We hope you have an emoji-filled day! 😀👍🍆

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