Emojis are undoubtedly one of the most popular ways to communicate these days. Showing our feelings with small smiley faces, animals and most things under the sun has become the norm to many, who use them in text messages and across social media. Incidentally, we’re delighted that the avocado is soon to be unleashed! Emojis have been embraced all across the digital landscape. There here have been rumours of Facebook offering users the opportunity to create their own emoji, featuring their own images using the platform’s proprietary technology. Meanwhile, Google and Instagram both now allow you to search using emoji characters. Is this a passing fad or is emoji marketing on the rise? Big brands have adopted emojis as a way of making their marketing more colourful, fun and visual but also to speak directly to their customers in their own language. Using emojis in the right way is efficient in building emotional engagement with customers. But does the stratospheric rise of the emoji mean that every business and brand should adopt them into their lexicon? Whilst tempting to ramp up your marketing content with emojis – it’s vital to consider whether they really are the right choice for your business.

Which brands are getting it right? And why?

Domino’s Pizza really pioneered emoji marketing last year. A feat that did not go unnoticed by the industry. The pizza giants won a Titanium Grand Prix Cannes Lions 2015 prize for its Emoji Ordering campaign. The campaign worked so well because it was a carefully considered strategy. It kept close to the Domino’s core brand identity, added to it in a meaningful way and delighted customers. Crucially, Domino’s use of emojis was functional too. Being able to order a pizza using just an emoji is both entertaining and makes life easier. Global environmental charity WWF harnessed emojis brilliantly for its #EndangeredEmoji campaign. This was launched specifically to engage and drive donations from a younger audience. Cleverly blending a serious cause with a current, solid trend worked to WWF’s favour. The campaign generated huge levels of engagement and showed that taking a considered, lighthearted approach worked wonders. The charity’s digital innovation manager Adrian Cockle summed it up perfectly: “You can’t launch a campaign called Endangered Emoji and take yourself too seriously” adding that “Changing how we talk to them [target audience] rather than trying to hit them over the head with how we would normally engage on our conservation topics and fundraising [was a key lesson]”. This really is a great early example of how emoji marketing can work well!

Should you use emojies for your brand?

First and foremost, we’d recommend getting really clear on whether your target audience is using emojis. Whilst it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon, it’s ill advised to blindly replicate the success of major consumer brands. If you’re a B2B audience looking to engage senior corporate decision-makers, rainbow heart emojis are not going to be appropriate. Essentially, emojis are not going to work for everybody and are generally most suited to a younger, mobile-centric audience. If you have decided that emojis are going to resonate with your audience – then take the time to research what emojis are going to best fit your brand. Don’t just rush in to use them for the sake of it. And if you do use them, do so with pride! We love the way East London-based business Vicky’s Doughnuts (@vickysdoughnuts) is embracing doughnut and banana emojis in their Instagram posts. Emojis can be brilliant for brands looking to be a little more fun, light-hearted and playful. It’s not so much for B2B brands who are looking to target older audiences and position themselves as thought leaders. A well-researched and considered approach is key to successfully integrating emojis into your social media strategy.   We’d love to know about how you’re adopting emojis into your marketing strategy. Please share your thoughts with us at the Avocado Social Hub Facebook Group or contact us.