Can the use of emoji’s convey meaning for brands? And if so, should the theory be applied to market research?

Letitia Oglesby
July, 2016

Edward Bird from Brainjuicer posted a really interesting piece last month, raising the need for the research world to capture human emotional response using emoji’s. Sure, we all use emoji’s pretty much every day, but it’s fascinating to see that emoji’s are used in 777% more campaigns than last year (Tao (2016). Apparently emoji is the fastest growing language in history, being used by 92% of the (online) population, with the majority claiming using emoji’s is a better way to express emotions, according to linguistics.

Interestingly, Ed raises the question whether people would interpreted emoji’s the same way. For questionnaire design this could potentially create a lot of bias. If respondents don’t have the same understanding of the meaning behind every emoji, it would make it challenging to generalise the findings. On the other side, human brains process images faster than text. The study has shown that human brains reacts to emoji’s in a similar way to when they see real human faces.
Given the increased use of emoji’s in marketing, the research world would need to keep up. I’m really looking forward to part 2, where Ed will aim to discover how results of standard questions compare to the same questions asked using emoji’s.

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