As a graphic designer, I’ve always had a soft spot for Emoji. These fun and bright little characters translate across languages and have taken the world by storm or should I say:
Originating in Japan, Emoji have transformed our text-based conversations. Why say “tree” when you can say it in one character with an Emoji? You never have to get confused about tone of voice again, there’s a range of Emojis to help. It’s not surprising that happy and sad faces rank amongst the most used Emoji on Twitter. Check out the emojitracker for a real-time usage visualisation, but beware it comes with an epilepsy warning!
It is little wonder that a range of brands have taken note of this shift in communication. Just last week, Twitter launched the very first paid ‘hashflag’ (an Emoji that appears after a #hashtag) for Coca-Cola. #ShareaCoke generated a lot of buzz in the Twitter sphere, breaking a world record with 170,500 mentions. Other brands have already expressed interest in getting their own hashflags going forward.
This raises the question about other Emoji opportunities for companies. If Coca-Cola can infiltrate Twitter with their own custom creation, could brands perhaps buy into the official Emoji keyboard itself? Yes, there are branded Emoji keyboards out there with the likes of IKEA already on the App Store but how many consumers really use them for longer than a day or two? And don’t get me started on the compatibility issues across different devices.
It could be quite interesting to see brands like McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s bidding for the burger Emoji spot on the official keyboard. Or even Toyota and Volkswagen vying for the small red car Emoji space. The possibilities are endless! In moderation this concept could work well but if brands were to take over the whole keyboard, consumers may grow tired of their beloved Emoji changing face, so to speak.