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These New Emoji Will Soon Dominate Content Marketing

Now that we’ve had a little time to mull them over, tell me — which new emoji is your favorite?

Last week the Unicode Consortium released 72 new emoji as part of Unicode 9. Highlights — for me, anyway — include an avocado, an arm taking a selfie, pancakes, two strips of bacon, and a tumbler glass filled with whiskey.

unicode-9-emojis

Why does this matter? Well, let’s say you wanted to invite your friend to meet you for breakfast. Before, you would have to type out, “Hey, do you want to meet for breakfast?” Now, all you have to do is text him or her the bacon emoji. It’s the same sentiment delivered in two taps versus over 40. Think of all the time you’ll save!

I’m kidding, but there’s a kernel of truth here: more and more, people are choosing to communicate via emoji. And as the people do, so do marketers. In fact, in March Appboy reported that its data has shown a 777% increase in emoji usage in marketing campaigns year-over-year, which is staggering — if not entirely surprising.

I’ve previously given some examples of what brands are doing with emoji, but the true brilliance of this “art” form is that it’s always growing and developing. As long as the Unicode Consortium keeps periodically releasing new emoji, marketers will continue to enjoy new opportunities to promote their brands — both large and small.

Let’s take a look at a smaller brand. In advance of Unicode 9, the California Avocado Commission took a page out of Taco Bell’s book and petitioned the Unicode Consortium to add an avocado to the emoji consideration list. In the end the petition only won about 1,000 signatures, but that’s okay, because the important thing is that people were talking about it:

avocado-emoji-lamentAnd when the news of the avocado emoji’s release came, well:

avocado-emoji-celebration

I’d say we have ourselves some avocado brand ambassadors, here.

On the surface it seems silly to think an emoji could help encourage people to buy more avocados, but it does. Seeing chatter in our feeds about avocados — or pizza, or tacos — gets us thinking about those things, and craving them.

Speaking of cravings, Taco Bell continues to do cool things in the realm of emoji content marketing. There was the Taco Emoji Engine, created last fall in celebration of the release of the taco emoji, which still tweets back a fun gif for anyone who tweets @TacoBell with a combination of a taco emoji plus any other emoji selection.

Do you think Taco Bell will update the engine with the new Unicode 9 emojis? I wonder what kind of gif sparks a taco plus an avocado could create? Seems like those two were made for each other.

But here’s the thing to keep in mind: emoji doesn’t have to be a literal representation of your product. If your business and brand is all about widgets, you don’t have to sit around waiting for the Unicode Consortium to approve a widget emoji before you can start using emoji in your marketing. Sure, it’s great time to be a breakfast chain, with all the access to bacon, eggs, and pancakes emojis you could ever dream of. But brands have also found a lot of success just… using the same emoji everyone else uses. In fact, the Appboy article I mentioned above has a cool infographic that shows some of the top emoji that brands use compared to individuals. Appboy had this to say about the difference:

Individuals using emojis in their own Tweets frequently use face emojis, including “tears of joy” to express how they’re feeling. Brands on the other hand have been using more eye-catching emojis and those that evoke emotional responses; this makes sense since brands are trying to grab attention and communicate more with less.

Some of the emoji that brands use most include hands, a heart pierced with an arrow, fire, an airplane, and a four-leaf clover. I wonder which of the new emoji will work itself into the top ranks? I’m guessing it’s not going to be the bat or the potato.

Quick side note: for anyone looking to use the new emoji today, you’re going to have to wait. Once the Unicode Consortium has officially announced the new emoji, developers need time to develop and deploy them for their own platforms. It’s likely that Apple plans to include them with the release of iOS 10.

But the good news is that you don’t need to wait for your very own branded emoji or even the release of Unicode 9 to start using emoji in your marketing today. Get out there and start connecting emotionally with your customers!

Oh, and by the way — my very favorite new emoji has to be the pancakes. Tell me yours?

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