From Mentos to Goldman Sachs, Emojis Bring Brands Up Close and Personal

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With close to 2 billion people tapping out 41.5 billion messages on smartphones every day, it’s not surprising that brands want to join the conversation. As a result, emojis and emoticons are emerging as a popular and effective channel for brands to get up close and personal.

Until now, the discussion has revolved around if, when and where brands should use emojis and emoticons.[more]

Oreo, for example, made headlines with a 2014 campaign that resulted in nearly 100 million dancing emojis generated by Chinese parents and their children. Coca-Cola is playing with emojis in URLs. The White House uses them. And now Mentos has released a set of branded emojis, or “ementicons,” for mobile messaging.

Others, like Taco Bell, are lobbying the Unicode Consortium to add its branded emoji—a taco, of course—to its keyboard.

But now that this visual vocabulary has gone mainstream, how should these pint-sized pixel packages be used to enhance a brand’s voice?

The way a brand communicates helps it tap into our emotions. If we like a brand and it comes across as the real deal, we’re more likely to spend time with it. And when a brand shows up in the right way and the right place, it can make that relationship even stronger.

Take Mentos’ new “ementicons.”

Meant to augment exist emojis, they give audiences a fun way to pull the brand into their daily conversations.

From #winning to Awkward, each one lives up to the Freshmaker’s quirky, tongue-in-cheek voice by giving fans a “fresh way” to LOL.

But maybe Mentos has it easy. What if you’re not a quirky, consumer-facing brand? If you’re a conservative financial services brand like Goldman Sachs, you might gently dip your toe in by reaching out to a new audience.

Although it does not have its own emojis or emoticons, in a recent, much-scrutinized tweet, Goldman used emojis to express its point of view on how Millennials’ life choices will reshape the economy.

And while some, like the Wall Street Journal, poked fun at the brand for “acting like an awkward grandparent who’s just learning how to text,” there are indications that Goldman might be on the right track.