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Today I feel …..

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But did the above sentence leave you feeling happy or saddened? Has your vision of my professionalism been impaired because I have used emojis (those little symbols used throughout our virtual conversations)? The question is whether there is a place for them in the workplace?

According to a recent study the answer to the above questions is yes, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can start littering all your client emails with a smiley. There is a time and a place for them and it also depends quite heavily on the relationship you have with your recipient.

The results of the study were interesting. It found that including smiley faces or similarly perky emojis (just think crying with laughter, smiling through gritted teeth and hands raised in celebration) does not increase perceptions of warmth.

In fact, the evidence suggests that using a smiley in a formal business email does not actually mean a smile at all. Interestingly, the team discovered that the inclusion of smiley emjois had no impact on people’s perceptions of warmth and actually lowered their perceptions of competence.

It’s hard not to include an emjoi when sending an email. After all they have become so near-universal and our use of the little symbols has rocketed steeply in recent years, with 92 per cent of the world’s 3.2bn internet users admitting to using them, we sometimes have to remember where we are and who we are emailing.

Emojis are a bit like kisses; you wouldn’t put a kiss on an email to the MD of a large firm, but perhaps on an email to a consumer journalist once you have built up some rapport with them.

In 2011 Apple users’ desktops were loaded with the symbols and on Microsoft Word you can even add one of them to a document now. But that doesn’t mean that I am going to be writing my next press release to include several emojis.

Whilst it would save me considerable time, it all goes back to the situation and the context of the piece. You don’t want to try to use the power of emoji and have it backfire on you in a big way. If you use them incorrectly, it can be confusing and contradictory.

When it comes to brands using them in an attempt to make them look relevant, should they fail to strike the right balance they can come across as looking amateurish, however, there is a case for brands using emojis in its marketing, which is being pushed by a few trends.

More and more of us use smartphones and mobile messaging shows no sign of slowing down. We are connected to more people and we consume more information than ever before, but this has resulted in us being more impatient as we have less time and more to do.

Nowadays voicemail takes too long and email requires too much effort, longer response time and long-form typing whereas text messages are simple, short and more direct.

With the abundance of information that we are exposed to everyday, it is making the battle for customer attention even greater. This means that brands are being forced to relate to their audiences with short, real and emotional images. Sometimes only an emoji will do.

As the saying goes ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ and emojis are just the next evolution of communications thoughts or emotions in simple pictures.

So, if a brand is looking at going down the emoji route in their next big marketing push, here are some things to consider:

1.       Snapchat or Instagram? Make sure you do some research and really understand which platform your audiences are using to connect, consume and share.

2.       It’s all about the mobile – Most people have mobile access and will use their phone to communicate with others every single day. Any marketing strategy should be supported with a mobile first route.

3.       The simpler the better – The popularity of emojis has taught us that we want to communicate more information faster. The customer journey should be as easy as possible and deliver an amazing but refined experience.

4.       Test the water – Emojis are sticking around for a long time, but including them in your marketing may not be for you. Start small and use the test and measure approach.

 

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