Emojis are becoming big business. Those little cartoons we add into texts, emails, and on social media have become a major part of our digital language—shorthanding big ideas and complex emotions (see the laughing-while-crying emoji).
It was only a matter of time until corporations got into the act, right? Inmoji, a Boston-based start-up, now creates branded emojis for companies that, when clicked on, take users to mobile sites packed with location-based information, such as a map to get to a business’ nearest venue and store operating hours.
For example, in a text conversation, a user can key in: “Hey, Joe, let’s meet after lunch and look at bands at [insert emoji for Your Jewelry Store].” When Joe clicks on the data-rich emoji, he’s taken to a page filled with info on your store. Suddenly, your business has a presence in a private conversation.
Getting your business into peer-to-peer conversations is what makes the idea of creating a proprietary emoji so attractive.
Michael Africk, cofounder and CEO of Inmoji, dished on the innovation at the PSFK Designing the New Shopper Experience seminar last week, saying, “Forget Facebook proper. The people you want are in messaging apps—this is where the real conversations are happening. This is where brands need to be.”
Indeed. More than 40 trillion text messages were sent globally in 2015, and six billion emojis are sent daily around the world. “Text has become the new talk,” says Africk.
Companies who’ve signed up to have a branded app created so far include Wal-Mart, Ticketmaster, Starbucks, and Interscope Records. Africk adds, “We’ve made a platform that allows [consumers] to advocate for brands.”
The question is: What happens where having a branded emoji is as common as having a Facebook page for businesses? I’m thinking the early adopters will be the winners with Inmoji, as they were with Instagram. Get in before the novelty wears off.
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