The world has truly gone Emoji mad. (And, for the record, I'm
one of the maddest!) With recent announcements that Twitter can now
target you by Emoji use and Apple's ability to auto-replace words
with Emoji in iOS 10, will we reach the tipping point and lose
words altogether to create content and engaging conversations?
Emojis have inspired fashion, influenced politics, chosen
contest winners and can have a pizza delivered to your front door.
How did we get to this Emoji-centric world? New technology yields
new case studies. As Emoji accessibility scaled up, so did the
Emoji content by marketers.
You may have read that Kim Kardashian has bespoke Emojis for
your downloading pleasure. Yes, it's true. The many iconic moments
from Keeping Up with the Kardashians forever emblazoned in our
minds are now in Kimoji form. She is just one of the latest brands
There's a literal cost of entry into the branded Emoji game.
Twitter is rumored to charge upwards of one million dollars for
brands to have official Emojis. Without any additional action by
the user, Emojis appear in tweets when using a branded hashtag.
You'll see a lot of this during television events, sometimes with
the Emoji creative updating in step with each episode.
For this year's All-Star Game, the NBA rolled out custom Twitter
Emojis for all 24 players. Using those hashtags during the fourth
quarter was the only way for fans to vote for the Game's MVP. It
was not only an awareness play, but a fan utility.
In 2015, Chevy launched a campaign called #ChevyGoesEmoji. Their
official press release was written entirely in Emoji. No words.
They extended this further by creating Emoji-driven content whereby
unhip adults were schooled by influencers at an "Emoji
Even the Pope has his own Popemoji. (They're infallible.)
So…what's next? More Emojis! And who determines these updates?
The Notorious UTC
Only the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) determines new
The Unicode Emoji Subcommittee "takes input from various sources
and reviews requests for new Emoji characters." Facebook, Adobe,
Yahoo and Apple are just a few of the voting members of the UTC.
This year new Emojis were green-lit for Unicode 9.0, but then we
play hurry-up-and-wait for it to hit our devices' keyboards in
2017. (If you, dear reader, are looking to live the Emoji dream,
individuals can apply for membership at unicode.org, but you can't
Now, how can we as content creators authentically deliver with
Hillary Clinton, famously wanted to connect with Millennials
about their student loan situation via Emojis. She has over seven
million followers on Twitter. It may have backfired (the student
loan struggle is far too real for mere symbols to articulate), but
she quickly learned from this exercise and reacted accordingly.
Biggest lesson? Authenticity is key if you're going to play in the
Emoji content sandbox.
The most recent iteration of the Always "Like A Girl" campaign
asserts the need for Emoji diversity for young women. My
aggravation is that Generations Y & Z will always find ways to
communicate what they want to be heard. They don't need the UTC to
take a year or two to answer the call. They'll string a series of
symbols together to get their sentiment across until the technology
can catch up with society. But how can technology speed that
process up? Is the answer data?
In February, Facebook pushed out Emojis called "Reactions," an
extension of the Like button. For over a year, the social network
"conducted global research, including focus groups and surveys, to
determine what types of reactions people would want to use most."
They landed on Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Now, there's a lot
of evidence that people aren't even using these, which may just be
a user experience issue, IMHO, but Facebook "sees this as an
opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how
people are responding to their content."
Still, think of how powerful that data could be in terms of
targeting the right audience with the right content. Learning how
we all react to content in a much more granular way than Like. It
could inform what content creators make in 2016 and beyond.
Caitlin Bergmann began her digital media career at age 19
when she was hired to write her own column for Tigerbeat.com. After
earning a bachelor's degree in communications from The George
Washington University, Caitlin returned to web production at ad
agency Concept Farm, blogging as characters from best-selling
author James Patterson's series "Maximum Ride." Her work has been
featured in Patterson's books and radio spots, as well as in his
web and print campaigns. In 2007, Caitlin transitioned into the
world of television, generating content for IVillage and NBC's
"Today" show. In 2008, she became Tumblr's fifth (or sixth,
depending on who you ask) employee, consulting on VIP and celebrity
bloggers. That same year, Caitlin continued her career in the TV
world with a four-year tenure at Lifetime, creating online content
for the cable network's scripted and reality shows, acquired
series, and movies on myLifetime.com. In 2012 she returned to
Concept Farm, creating social media content and digital strategy
solutions for clients like Century 21 Department Store, espnW,
ESPN, James Patterson, Aruba Tourism and Bowlmor/AMF. Her work on
espnW's "98 Days to Shine" social campaign in 2013 earned her an Ad
Age Small Agency Digital Campaign of the Year Award and two Shorty
Award nominations (2014). Caitlin is a member of the Television
Academy (Interactive Media) and the Real-Time Academy of Short Form
Arts & Sciences (Marketing Jury).
Article written for MediaPost and originally
published July 6, 2016.