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Why You Should Probably Speak Emoji Too...





31.8.2015

During a casual message chat with a colleague, I was about to enter the word ‘LOL’, but then stopped myself. ‘LOL’ felt awkward. Out of date. It occurred to me, 99% of the time I’d ‘LOL’ed’ in the past it was a straight out lie. And I definitely did not ROFL or LMAO. Perhaps I‘m not alone. I’m seeing a lot less ‘LOL’ing’ going on, and I can’t say I am sad to see it go.

I ended up going for The Face With Tears Of Joy Emoji instead.
 
This sparked me to look into a bit of history around the Emoji and where it all began.

Emoji is the Japanese term for picture characters. The word Emoji broken down is (e ≅ picture) + (moji ≅ written character).
 
They’re different to Emoticons because the picture is created from actual code. Scott Fahlman, created the first emoticon on a computer way back in 1982 – it looked like this :-), then people started developing much more complex characters sets, like this guy \(^o^)/
 
However, Emoji gets a little more technical. Each Emoji represents a Unicode character. Here’s a smiling Emoji code for you - U+1F600 and here’s your famous tears of joy U+1F602 and of course, these are translated into images.
 
The very first Emoji for cell phones was created in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita. Here’s some of the first Emoji’s Kurita ever created.
 

 
 
 
Emoji has been adopted widely since becoming accessible via smartphones, and in some cases brands are using these to deliver their ads to their markets purely out of Emoji icons.
 
Take this one from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. This picture says ‘I want to fit in, but I don't want to smoke.’:
 

 
Marketers are finding this is a unique way to get their message across to a younger audience. Alyssa Fishman, junior art director at marketing agency Hill Holliday stated ‘For teens that are having trouble putting into words the issues they are going through, emojis are what they naturally tend to gravitate towards," she went to say ‘It's without a doubt the best way to talk about these difficult situations.’ 
 
Domino’s on the other hand have used Emoji as part of their pizza ordering service. It’s simple. You save your favourite pizza and then whenever you want that pizza, you Tweet the Emoji pizza slice to Domino’s and it’s delivered! This simple yet creative idea won a Titanium Grand Prix award for 2015.
 
Emoji are now a universal language in which Millennial’s are completely fluent in. They are a way of communicating to the younger market without coming across like you’re trying to sell them something.
 
This is not to say you should get out there and throw Emoji into your content plan as it might not be right for your brand and online voice. The first step to finding out if Emoji’s are right for you to create or update your social media strategy. This will determine how you should use social channels and the most appropriate way of communicating on them.
 
 
 
 Laura Surrich
Social Media Manager
 

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