Should you enter the world of emojis?

Daniel Davis, Senior Digital Engagement Manager at MEC UK, discusses whether if the new generation are using a new language, should brands should be entering the world of emojis?

Thanks to BrandRepublic for letting us republish the article – read the original here: http://wallblog.co.uk/2015/05/28/should-you-enter-the-world-of-emojis/#ixzz3bzogSpnW

It’s weird that you don’t use emojis. It was this message, sent by a friend on Whatsapp, which fundamentally changed the way I communicate online.

emojis

In a relatively short space of time, I went from emoji novice to addict. I now catch myself pausing over work emails, wondering how a deft emoji placement could add some warmth or emotional context to an otherwise ordinary message. I stop myself of course, but it’s clear to me that emojis are the digital version of body language, they convey so much with so little.

As news outlets have been reporting in recent days, experts believe emojis are now the fastest growing language in history. A recent study from Instagram found that nearly 50% of all captions on the platform include an emoji, and this figure only looks set to increase.

Many brands have already begun appropriating this new language as a way to reach a younger audience. Domino’s is allowing customers to order pizza by tweeting a pizza slice emoji, WWF are soliciting donations through endangered animal emojis, and Taylor Swift has an emoji made entirely in her image in support of her Bad Blood music video.

It’s clear that Twitter is attempting to be the first social platform to truly harness the power of the emoji as a way to reach a younger audience. The question on every marketers lips is, is it a passing fad? Or are emojis simply part of the evolution (or devolution, perhaps) of an online universal language?

Whilst a handful of brands have made tentative steps into the world of emojis, it’s still unclear how they might harness the real power of the emoji – emotion. Brands often struggle to convey anything like authenticity or emotion online, especially when it comes to dealing with dissatisfied customers.

Online customer service is a tough gig. I started my social media career doing customer service for a brand that appealed to a young male audience on Twitter and often found it a struggle to acknowledge the complaint, sympathise with the customer and provide the necessary information and ultimate resolution within 140 characters. Customers were often left more frustrated when receiving what they deemed to be an inadequate or tone-deaf response.

Perhaps if I’d had emojis as part of my arsenal, customers would’ve realised that not only was there a name behind the tweet, but a face too.

Using emojis in social customer service is nothing new, but there exists an opportunity for brands to customise a range of expressive emojis that allow them to communicate with customers in new and exciting ways. I can imagine a future, as ridiculous as it may sound now, where a brand’s online customer service team receives emoji training, helping them understand how to utilise a range of expressions to convey the right message, at the right time.

If the new generation are speaking a new language, why shouldn’t brands?

If you’d like to chat with Daniel please contact him through the @MECUK twitter handle.