Emoji's. Here's a very timely and helpful post on the little blighters ;-)
Some of you may use these friendly little icons in your messages, some of you may hate them with a passion…but as Sony announces they’re making a movie about them I decided I had to blog/acknowledge their overwhelming existence.
Whatever you think about emoji they’re growing in popularity at a rapid pace and more marketers are using them to communicate with customers and team members alike.
Millions of emoji, meaning ‘picture letter’ in Japanese, are sent every day. There are over 722 emoji characters available to use and according to a recent study by Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University, it’s the fastest growing language in the UK and it’s evolving faster than hieroglyphics. When I read this I started to think…oh this is serious. It’s a new language and I need to be fluent. Don’t I?
Who uses them?
Loads of people.
My mum included, although I’m not sure she has the full understanding of them yet as I have experienced some ‘emoji confusion’. For example, instead of sending a sad, crying emoji to express her sadness about something she sent a crying with laughter emoji. She was left a little red-faced (there’s an emoji for that too).
Companies have also started to jump on the emoji band-wagon too. Some have created their own. Ikea have created their own versions including the famous Swedish meatballs and Billy the Bookcase.
I also recently came across this bizarre guide to emoji’s from Domino’s pizza that you can download and use as cue cards to translate emoji chat. Domino’s Pizza has also started to introduce a new way to order pizza by simply tweeting the pizza emoji.
Why do people use them?
In a survey by TalkTalk Mobile, 72% of 18 to 25-year-olds said they found it easier to put their feelings across in emoji icons than in text. More than half of the group said emoji helped them to interact with others.
Interestingly, when I was researching the art of emoji I came across the Oxford English Dictionary definition, “A small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communications.”
Tennis star Andy Murray used emoji’s to tell the entire story of his wedding day. I wonder if this was his way of expressing his emotions?
What about us?
The big question in all of this is should we be using them to communicate with our team members or our customers? I use them to get my point across in a text or tweet so why aren’t I using them at work? Would we get a better emotional connection with our audiences?
We’ve had some great successes with recent text message campaigns, but could we do better and add an emoji or two? Would we get a better response for email if we added an emoji in the headline? Or could we get more retweets if we used emoji’s in our tweets?
Personally, I think they’re great. They add an extra little something to your messages online and make things a bit more personal. However, I’m up against some pretty strong opposition. Rightly so, I have been challenged about if ‘emoji confusion’ is real, you could argue that actually emoji’s are not really offering clear and consistent communication.
I’d love to hear whether you think they are simply a fad or a new language for us comms folk to learn?
Lou Invine-Rawlins is Communications Project Manager at Futures Housing Group