Wall Street Journal: Twitter Teams with Coke for Emoji Branding
By Yoree Koh
18 September 2015
Article review by Stephanie Stelter
Social media giant Twitter has established a new milestone in marketing through social media: the advent of the branded emoji. For the less social media savvy, "emoji" is the current jargon for the small digital images, icons, or pictograms used to express an idea, emotion, etc. in electronic communication. This first branded emoji was created in partnership with Coca-Cola Co. as part of its "Share a Coke" marketing campaign. While custom emojis have been used by Twitter in the past, this icon featuring two Coke bottles clinking together in a toast is the first time the company as offered an emoji as a product. However, it will not be the last. The emoji feature will be offered to by Twitter to its biggest brand-name clients as an addition to existing product packages. Discussions are already in progress with ten of Twitter's largest clients.
This advancement in digital marketing has several implications in the marketing industry.
First, images cross language and literacy barriers that place limitations on text. The use of branded emoji to promote established brands creates an opportunity for a campaign element with consistent global application. Companies will likely be willing to invest substantial funds in advertisements with so many opportunities for use.
Second, social media is continuing to grow in prominence as an effective means of marketing, with ever-evolving technologies increasing the marketing products available within the medium: increasingly refined targeting methods, new tools for evaluating campaign effectiveness, auto-play video ads, and now the branded emoji. With the growing importance of social media, the career opportunities for marketing professional with an expertise in social media are also growing. Professionals who choose to stay abreast of the developments in social media will have increasing value in the field.
Finally, the challenge for Twitter and the partnering companies will be developing branded emojis that maintain an awareness of the differing cultures of the target populations for the campaigns. While images are not subject to language barriers, they do have the possibility of carrying different cultural meanings. A level of cultural sensitivity must be employed in the development of these icons.
Fortunately for Coca-Cola Co., the toast has become a well-known gesture globally, communicating camaraderie and friendship in alignment with their existing marketing campaign. I personally am very interested to see what other branded emojis are developed for the other Twitter clients and their global impacts.