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The Evolution of Emoji

July 17, 2018

Today is World Emoji Day! This day celebrates the quirky, fun illustrated characters that most of us associate with Apple products. Along with a surprisingly deep history, the emoji, in all forms, has impacted communication and branding in more ways than you think. So, to honor World Emoji Day, we take a look at the origins and evolution of emoji. 

The Origins Of Emoji

Most of us think Apple created the emoji just a few years ago because the characters are easily accessible on the company’s products. However, emojis were first born in the Japan, just before the new millennium. Although, they did not gain mainstream popularity until 2015, they have since revolutionized the way we communicate online. They can now be seen anywhere from text messages to marketing campaigns and even apparel and pillows.

Emoji Today

The emoji has grown significantly from its humble beginnings. In 2015, the word itself was Oxford’s Word of the Year. Today, developers continue to create new emojis to better represent various cultures, races, religions, lifestyles and products. Not only is the evolution of emoji seen in its design, but it is also seen in its use in communication throughout the years as well. 

Should We Use Emojis In Marketing and Branding?

First, emojis must be used properly and with discretion. Emojis are not right for all brands and businesses. Before attempting to incorporate them in your messages, make sure they align with your business and goals. For example, a health center promoting flu shot clinics with the syringe emoji may not give the best impression to potential patients. Similarly, a law firm using the scale of justice emoji may not be seen as trustworthy in the eyes of clients.

However, there are occasions in which the use of emojis is not only appropriate but highly encouraged. For instance, a coffee cup associated with a coffee shop or an airplane associated with a travel agency both work very well. Regardless of your industry, you should always think about your audience before adding an emoji to your content.

Only use emojis if they are appropriate for your industry. In doing so, they can help your posts stand out and connect with younger audience members. One may stop and read a post that would have otherwise gone unread because an emoji caught their eye. Emojis, like anything in life, should be used moderation. Too many emojis can make your brand look busy, immature and slightly obnoxious. A post should never contain more than 2-3 emojis. Well, except for World Emoji Day, let loose and post all the emojis on this one day each year.

Emoji are here to stay, at least for now. Will GIFs soon take over the spotlight? We don’t predict a shift any time soon, but it certainly seems possible years down the road.