How to Use Emojis in Brand Marketing


In Japanese, emoji literally means picture letter. Emojis are a growing force in the cultural lexicon and are touted as the fastest growing language in history. Emojis humanize messages by enabling emotions to be transmitted in digital communications. Smile, Frown, Grin, Anger. You get the picture.

SnapChat’s recent acquisition of #BitStrips for a tune of approx $100 Million confirms the potential of branded emoji content in digital messages. Bitstrips allows you to make your own emoji characters (Bitmojis) and avatars and post onto social networks. Companies such as Mobigraph/Qugo are advancing the evolution of emojis by providing dynamic 3-D avatar based emojis that can be pushed into smart phone messages.

Twitter’s # generated emojis for the Star Wars movie release was a partnership between Twitter, Disney and Lucas Films. It drew fans to the social network, with a hashtag emoji getting 17K tweets per minute at its peak.  Every Tweet was an advertisement for the film and engaged audiences with its character emojis such as #C3PO and #StormTrooper.

A few ways that perceptive brands can use emojis in marketing:

1. Downloadable Brand Emojis

 Brands are  enabling customers to download packs of branded emojis on their smart phones and other digital device. This enables a customer to engage with a brand more intimately, as the branded emoji is used when communicating with others. Business savvy celebrities such as Kim Kadarshian’s (Kimojis) or rapper Fetty Wap’s emojis have released downloadable, fee based emoji packs, for their fans to message their affinity for the celebrity. The same can be accomplished for a product or service brand.fettywap

2. Integrate Emojis into Mobile Push Messages                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mobile marketers have discovered a way to incorporate emojis into their messaging.  Mobile marketers rely on push notifications to provide product updates, promotional campaigns, discounts and sales. Not only do these make for eye-catching notifications, it also helps provoke an emotion, making it more likely to lead to a sale. Brands pay for the privilege, anywhere from $50,000 to greater than $250,000.

3. Packaging                                                                                                               


Brands are also using emoji packaging for marketing their brand with a touch of fun. For example, the “Say It with Pepsi” campaign to launch in 100 countries in Summer 2016, features a series of emojis on packaging across the brand’s portfolio of drinks—regular, MAX and diet/light. By slapping emojis on packaging, Pepsi is seeking to use them as a means to bridge retail marketing with digital marketing, all without words.

4. Getting Customer Feedback        


Getting useful feedback from users is critical to success of a product or service. Adding an emoji for feedback is an easy way to get a response from the audience.  It can also provide a gateway to a detailed survey. For example, Square, a mobile payments company, added happy and frowny emojis to its digital receipts. Tapping on either emoji takes you to a survey with check boxes to rate specific items such as “wait time”, “customer service” etc.” Smart branding is keeping up with the times and capitalizing on communication trends. Emojis are giving marketers a way to engage with their audience in a fun way, beyond mere text.

Skyrocketing Value of Expressions in Communication


Snapchat-logo-293x300                     qugo

Expressiveness in communications is desired by the millions of people on smart phones and digital devices today. The need is to express oneself beyond traditional text. The rise in popularity of emojis, emoticons and personalized avatars by individual users, influencers, and brands is proving the point.

Recently, Snapchat snapped up Bitstrip (March 25, 2016) for an estimated $100 Million. Bitstrip slaps bitmojis, or customized avatars, onto comical sketches, that are subsequently shared on social media. Bitmojis enable personalized expression by the user, in the form of images often combined with text, resulting in a heightened state of overall communication between the user and receiver.

Snapchat, which relies on advertisers for most of its revenue, likely sees bitmojis as another unique way to sell sponsorships, This is a big business opportunity for marketers trying to be part of conversations occurring on smart phone screens “All the movies, all the television shows, all the fashion houses, all the pop stars, they all want to be bitmojis because we somehow became the determinant of who has made it,” Bitstrips Chief Executive Jacob Blackstock recently told Forbes, saying there’s an “incredibly lucrative business model” in there.

Another product, Qugo by Mobigraph, takes an evolutionary leap, by creating 3D avatar based emojis. These full frame animated expressions go beyond static emojis, smileys, and stickers. Mobigraph’s ability to render 50 frames per second personalized animations with optimized compute and power consumption allows a highly expressive personal communication which could become the lingua franca of future communications.  Qugo is used in 100+ countries today. Qugo is also a social boon to the deaf community as it is an enabler of vibrant personal expression, beyond words.


Facebook’s released six “Reaction” buttons with emojis in February 2016. The company implemented the findings of their research, i.e., a strong user desire to express greater emotions and feelings, other than just ‘liking’ a post.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently dedicated a segment on “Emojis are becoming a bigger part of conversation” withTyler Schnoebelen, a linguist and expert on human communications.

Emojis are being touted as the “fastest growing language in history” and marketers are exploiting it. From Apple with its increasing release of image based icons to PepsiCola with a global emoji marketing campaign on bottles and cans. Increasingly consumers are using emojis when communicating with retailers, making it a two-way street.

Skype and Twitter woo Indians with new emojis for diwali

In late October 2015 Skype.com has announced a number of new Skype smileys and emoticons in in relation to Bollywood and the Indian culture like food, gestures, holidays and daily expressions.

Some of which are:



Also Twitter launched their first-ever #HappyDiwali emoji to spread the festive spirit and celebrate the occasion with Indians worldwide.






Emoji – a texter’s best friend?

Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate. Just like that we’ve gotten away with time and distance problems when connecting to our loved ones. What was the longest time you waited before you could connect to a loved one? No one remembers!

Smartphones and real time instant messaging services have truly flattened the world.  If you look at teens and adults everywhere who are glued to their smartphones you’ll easily know what they’re upto. They are either app junkies or social stars.

Most of them are – Communicating. Socializing. Building relations.

What we say, how we say, to whom we say – everything has changed with the internet, smartphones and messaging apps.



The rise of emojis:

The maximum recorded number of messages sent per day on the biggest messaging app whatsapp is 64 billions messages per day! Can you imagine how much that is? We’re truly communicating as if today is the end of it all.

It’s in the context of such frequent and large quantities of communication that emojis have become a texter’s best friend.

We humans have a need to express our emotions when we converse and visual content is a major component of how we communicate. A picture is worth a thousand words and it’s true! Just take a look at the number of pictures shared across the world.


Since the nature of communications changed from face-to-face to phone calls to text, we gained some things and lost some things. Our body language, facial expressions, voice, mood everything conveyed meaning in face to face conversations. They added a certain context, mood and amplified the message being conveyed. We’re evolutionarily primed to pay attention to the speaker’s face when listening. We pick up all the facial cues. It’s part of the social priming to help us succeed socially. Text alone, due to its inherent lack of any sort of emotional context is problematic. Words alone can be ambiguous, and so users naturally began creating text-based emoticons to express the intention behind the words, such as the ever-popular :) smiley face. The growth of emoticons says a lot about how we’re otherwise limited when communicating online. While text-based emoticons are better than nothing, they still lack the kind of emotional expression individuals are presented with when holding an in-person conversation, hence the eventual creation of image-based emoticons or emoji. Emoji may allow us to re-incorporate the missing elements from face to face communication back into our text.

Emojis Translate to picture (e) + writing (mo) + character (ji) in Japanese, emojis are changing how we communicate. These tiny pictures originated in Japan, but they’ve recently made their way around the world and into our text messages, emails, social media, and other text-based conversations. They have completely taken over and changed the face of modern digital communication.

Sociology professor Ben Agger at the University of Texas at Arlington states that “Emoticons and emoji bring the nuances of face-to-face or voice-to-voice interaction, those nuances and subtleties which are necessarily lacking when you’re interacting by way of the screen,” he says. “They attempt to make up for that alienation.”

How have they been helpful?

When emoji appear with text, they often supplement or enhance the writing. This is similar to gestures that appear along with speech.

Emojis have become inescapable, so efficiently communicating in just a single icon what so many words (or no words at all) could convey. It’s the closest we have to face-to-face conversations.

Adding a winking smiley face to your message can help reduce ambiguity and successfully convey sarcasm.

Emojis can remedy message misalignment in the same way we use nonverbal cues during face-to-face communication. You can type some text and say that it’s meant to be taken as a joke.

You could send someone just emojis when you have nothing else to say. It’s a way to say hi without saying hi.

Emojis help you think and express more creatively. Many teens use emojis to try to make the conversation a little more aesthetically interesting.

Emojis in general boost the quality of communication you’re having and increases perceived social intimacy. It amplifies the message being sent (anger, joy, sadness, etc) and adds personality to your conversation.

Emojis “lighten” the mood. If someone texted something that could be seen as mean or rude (like sending ‘K’ as a response is considered rude but pair it with an emoji and you’re not perceived as being rude), then an emoji would help make it seem friendlier.

One recent study found that using smiley face emoticons when delivering negative feedback to employees improved the chances of that feedback being accepted, so long as the feedback itself was specific. Other research found that students could be made more willing to participate in online classes when emoticons were used in online discussion groups.

Emojis can be used to display emotions, happenings, diversity, and more. Emojis have even been adapted to help kids talk about or describe abuse or other situations they might experience or be a part of. It helps people talk about situations that might be stigmatized in our society and talk about it plainly. There are a range of abuse emojis to convey domestic abuse and seek help.

The range of emojis available:

Starting with the instantly recognizable :-) thousands of emojis and emoticons have emerged, conveying a diverse and complex array of emotions and concepts. And researchers are now realising that emoticons may hold a power over us that we didn’t realise – when we use them to communicate, they can transform our decisions and behaviour in unexpected ways.

The Unicode consortium incorportes new emoji into latest Unicode releases and apple and android have emoji keyboard support. Every new Unicode release now comes with hundreds of emojis.
So for emoji enthusiasts there’s always room for a new emoticon. New ways to express. New ways to have fun.
Emojis have become so ubiquitous that now there is a World Emoji Day and an emojipedia as well!

The universality:

You could send a simple smiley emoji and trust that it will be interpreted correctly across the globe. The language of emoticons articulates feelings in a universal way.

But it is not true of all emojis. Different cultures differ in their usage and interpretation of emojis. How people use emojis and what they use them to signify often varies by your age, gender, location and even social class.

But the biggest problem with emoji is that they still don’t communicate things as accurately as words can. Some emoji can mean different things to separate groups of people. So it’s always better to exercise caution when interacting with members of a new culture.

But there’s no denying the universality of these cute fellas. The popular emojis reveal that emojis are a universal language and the language of the heart, face and hands are widely accepted across cultures. Half of all the text on Instagram has atleast one emoji and Instagram has emojineers to study emojis! Instagram even allows hashtag search by emoji.



The haters:

Even with such widespread adoption, there are those who HATE emojis. That’s hate with all caps. And usually these are people who are in love with words. The lit majors mostly. They love using a rich vocabulary of words to express how hey feel. Books are full of them, right? Full of various characters, describing characters in great detail, their thought process, how they feel and it’s valid that they hate emojis. The world can have two kinds of people. It’s ok.

Increases emoji usage has reduced the usage of internet slangs but replaced text in many places.

“It is a rare privilege to observe the rise of a new language,” Thomas Dimson, a software engineer on Instagram’s data team, said in a company blog post on Friday. “Emoji are becoming a valid and near-universal method of expression in all languages.”

More and more people, of all cultures and age groups are getting comfortable using emojis are are deriving a lot of value and fun. With  6 billion emoticons or stickers flying around the world every day can we just say that emojis are a texter’s best friend?









Emoticons, emojis and animated emojis

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Well, pretty confusing. Isn’t it?

Emoji and emoticons are not the same thing, Of course, you know.

Emoticons (from “emotion” plus “icon”) are specifically intended to depict facial expression or body posture as a way of conveying emotion or attitude in e-mail and text messages. They originated as ASCII character combinations such as :-) to indicate a smile—and by extension, a joke—and :-( to indicate a frown.

Emoji on the otherhand are “picture characters” originally associated with cellular telephone usage in Japan, but now popular worldwide. The word emoji comes from the Japanese (e ≅ picture) + (moji ≅ written character).

Emoji are often pictographs—images of things such as faces, weather, vehicles and buildings, food and drink, animals and plants—or icons that represent emotions, feelings, or activities. In cellular phone usage, many emoji characters are presented in color (sometimes as a multicolor image), and some are presented in animated form, usually as a repeating sequence of two to four images—for example, a pulsing red heart.

And where emoticons were invented to portray emotion in environments where nothing but basic text is available, emoji are actually extensions to the character set used by most operating systems today, Unicode.

Animated emojis are just gifs. GIF  is an easy non-video format to string together sequential images for a video-like effect and it requires less bandwidth.


Regular photos in JPG or PNG format already do fine on social media, because we’re quickly moved by visual content, but the GIF format adds something much more special –- a mini video, with no sound, that can be watched from start to finish in as little as one or two seconds in a simple, auto-looping fashion.

GIFs offer a convenient, fast and totally silent way to express something compared to videos. Techinally too it’s a brief looping animation that’s natively supported by most browsers. It doesn’t require special keyboard support or extra software.

It’s the perfect combination between image and video that really captures our attention.You don’t have to click ‘play’. Simple.

So GIFs got to be used as a language tool in conversations. GIFs are used as replies or statements or comments.

The GIF takes one element of experience and highlights it; what would have been a 2-second scene in a full episode on TV now becomes the entire piece. It is a new perspective on a familiar situation, and we cherish that. It’s like watching highlights, with just that one moment you connected with.

It explains why a large number of popular GIFs are from late 80s and 90s cinema and TV shows – we’re re-watching something we are familiar with.

While some say that GIFs are the future of photojournalism, others say they’re just dumb animations that teenagers like to make instead of doing their homework. Eitherways the Internet has fallen in love with the animated GIF and it’s here to stay.

Video is often incomplete without audio, meaning it’s hard to watch a video in your office: the audio that comes out of your speakers is up for anyone to hear. GIFs, even with their flashing text, feel more private.

Gizmodo explains what a good GIF is all about: “A good GIF, and anything is GIF-able these days, captures just enough of a specific moment to illustrate emotion yet leaves enough out to spark your curiosity. It’s a beautiful balance of amusement and wonder.”

“Everything has it’s end, but a looped linear animation has no beginning and no end — it is infinite,”

Yo to more creative gifs!.

An emoji primer from Ashley Dodge

What Do Emoji Mean? Plus, 6 Emoji to Get You Started By Ashley Dodge

Emoji (Japanese for “picture character”) are starting to show up everywhere online. Find out what they mean and how to get started.

With the release of iOS 8, Apple is making the emoji keyboard more prominent, and Android 4.4 KitKat includes emoji on the standard keyboard, so you’re likely to be seeing a lot more of these little symbols or picture characters in the future. (Emoji is Japanese for “picture character.”) What do they mean? It depends.

Deciphering some emoji, such as this Miley-Cyrus-inspired stuck-out tongue with a winking eye, requires pop culture knowledge (though we’re still not really sure what that means). Others are obvious, such as a happy face. It seems as if there’s an emoji for everything and new ones are popping up all the time. Martha Brockenbrough, author of books for smart kids and juvenile adults and the founder of National Grammar Day, found so much meaning and inspiration in emoji that she used them to tweet a (short) novel.

Getting Started Using Emoji

Here’s how to get started using emoji. Some emoji are supported by certain sites, such as Campfire or Basecamp, but sometimes you’ll have to set up a keyboard depending on the device you’re using. Here’s a guide to getting the keyboard set-up for IOS tablets and phones, and here’s a guide for Android users.

You can also view emoji on your computer by downloading and adding the Google Chrome extension Chromoji. Chromoji will allow you to see, copy, and paste Mac OS X style emoji on Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X Chrome browsers.

There are a few known issue to Chromoji regarding where you can use emoji. A few places where Chromoji will not work include Google Hangouts chat and Facebook messages. Chromoji will allow emoji to show up on Twitter, Facebook comments, statuses, and walls, and in Gmail, and various other sites. (You will have to test Chromji to see what works for you on your system.)

To check if you can see emoji, many sources recommend going to the emoji Wikipedia page. If you can see the list of emoji, then you’re good to go.

6 Emoji To Start Using Right Now and What They Mean

Now that your keyboard is ready, here are six emoji that almost everyone will understand. Think of them as “starter emoji”!

The Heart heart symbol.PNG

According to FiveThirtyEight’s emoji report, the heart is the most popular emoji on Twitter (and probably elsewhere too).

What does it mean? This emoji means love, but it’s not limited to romantic love. You can use it to express your heart symbol.PNGfor cookies, the new Godzilla movie, or the latest Grammar Girl podcast.

Heart Eyes, Joy, and Unamused hearteyes.PNGjoy.PNGunamused.PNG

:) and  :( are so last year. Why settle for two choices when you can express a specific emotion through facial emoji? Before you get carried away, start slow. According to FiveThirtyEight, the most popular facial emoji are heart eyes (hearteyes.PNG), joy (joy.PNG), and unamused (unamused.PNG). We think these three do the trick when you’re first starting out. No one is just :) anymore. They’re , joy.PNGright?

What they mean:

unamused.PNGYou’re not amused. Use this when you’re tired of using “LOL” (and you aren’t really laughing out loud) and finally feel you want to be honest.

hearteyes.PNGYou love something so much you wish your hearts were eyes. Use this when someone tells you you’re having your favorite pizza for dinner, when your significant other says something sweet, etc.

joy.PNGYou’re so happy you can’t help but shed a tear. Use this for weddings, baby showers, laughing so hard you’re crying, etc.

Like and Dislike thumbs up.PNGthumbs down.PNG

Facebook may not have a dislike button, but you do have a dislike emoji. Like something your friend just said on Twitter? Dislike that person’s Facebook status? Use thumbs up.PNGor tthumbs down.PNGo let them know.


Source: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/what-do-emoji-mean-plus-6-emoji-to-get-you-started

Emojis in Unicode 8 release

On September 9, 2015 the Unicode consortium released Unicode 8, which includes 37 new emojis such as the Face With Rolling Eyes, Hugging Face, Taco, Cheese Wedge and Hockey — both ice and field varieties.

There are a few points mentioned by them about who chose them, how they get approved,etc.

  1. An emoji is proposed, either by a public submission to Unicode, or via a Unicode Consortium member1
  2. The Unicode Emoji Subcommittee2 (Yes, that’s a thing) discusses and reviews proposals based on a number of criteria.
  3. Prior to Unicode 8, updates to the Unicode Standard were almost exclusively based on compatibility with existing systems and encoding standards. Times change, and now the following criteria3 are also considered.
  • Expected usage level. Is there a high expected frequency of use?
  • Image distinctiveness. Is there a clearly recognizable image of physical objects that could serve as a paradigm, that would be distinct enough from other emoji?
  • Disparity. Does the proposed pictograph fill in a gap in existing types of emoji? For example, in Unicode 7.0 we had Tiger, but not Lion; Church but not Mosque.
  • Frequently requested. Is it often requested of the Unicode Consortium, or of Unicode member companies? For example, Hot Dog or Unicorn.
  • Generality. Is the proposed character overly specific?
  • Open-ended. Is it just one of many, with no special reason to favor it over others of that type?
  • Representable already. Can the concept be represented by another emoji or sequence?


Source: http://blog.emojipedia.org/unicode-8-what-and-when/

Qugo Beta Test

Three things you need to do to be a beta tester: 

  1. Join QUGO community and become an exclusive member.
  2. Opt-into the beta by clicking on “Become a Tester” link. Make sure you’re logged in using the same Google account you used to join this community in the first place.
  3. Download QUGO Messenger Beta on Google Play Store.

Your feedback will be crucial in identifying issues that may arise as new features are released. We sincerely appreciate your interest in making the QUGO Messenger better!

NOTE: This is beta software. That means you’re more likely to encounter bugs, crashes, or just generally weirdo behavior.


Character Design Kickoff

We started the charter design process with the following brief in mind:

  1. The characters should be simple and minimal.
  2. They should be able to EXPRESS clearly on the small screen of smartphones. (This called for bigger heads).
  3. They should appeal to users from the point of view of avatars for a social app.

These were some of the initial sketches drafted by our character designer Rakesh Nanda, with above goals in mind.


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