Twitter's Taranjeet Singh thinks emojis are new-age hieroglyphs

By Taranjeet Singh , Twitter, New Delhi | In Digital | May 04, 2017
He illustrates his view with eight brand examples.

Emojis are the new-age hieroglyphs. Their ability to transcend across boundaries of demographic and language has intensified their universal appeal. From being used only for creative expression by the millennials, to being Oxford Dictionary's Word of the year 2015, emojis are now being embraced by brands across the globe. An increasing number of marketers are learning to speak the language of expressive faces and everyday objects in the most basic yet technologically advanced format.

Taranjeet Singh

The usage of emojis on Twitter by brands has witnessed a 461 percent year-over-year increase, and been on an upward trajectory ever since. According to a recent eMarketer research, this can largely be attributed to the belief that the little smileys and hearts elicit warm feelings and help develop an affinity toward brands that use them. While some brands are jumping on this bandwagon and making use of the already existing emojis, some other brands have already upped their game. On Twitter, brands are designing custom branded emojis that are triggered when a specific set of hashtags is used.

Research proves that custom branded emojis help you stand out. A Tweet that stands out and gets attention in the sea of Tweets is said to have 'stopping power'. A branded emoji expresses your brand's personality and immediately makes it a part of the conversation by adding a fun, visually appealing creative element whenever your hashtag is used on Twitter, thereby helping marketers capture the much coveted attention of the users.

The amount of attention ads receive increases by almost 10 percent when branded emojis are included in the ad. When branded emojis are paired with a promoted video, the emotional connection and interest in the ad increases six-fold as people are more focused on the ad. Further, campaigns with branded emojis extend a brand's presence across Twitter in a way that is personal and authentic to the brand.

Several brands in India and even the Indian government, have been open to innovation and experimentation on social media and have adopted custom branded emojis to amplify their overall brand campaigns.

Vivo India

In order to spark conversations and pump up the excitement level for the upcoming Vivo V5 Plus, Vivo India (@Vivo_India) co-created a custom emoji with Twitter. The emoji represents the 20MP Dual Front Camera lens, giving a sneak peek of the superior camera prowess of the smartphone. Additionally, Vivo India took its emoji game to the next level by coming up with a special IPL emoji to drive conversations around the country's favourite cricketing season.

Motorola India

Being the principal sponsor of the IPL team, Rising Pune Giants, Motorola India (@Moto_IND) partnered with Twitter to co-create a custom emoji for the team. They drive great engagement around IPL that has recently been kicked off and also post reactions to the on-field activities.

Oppo Mobile India

Oppo Mobile India (@oppomobileindia) onboarded actor Deepika Padukone as Oppo's new Brand Ambassador. They had a comprehensive campaign around the launch of the Oppo F3 Plus smartphone and welcomed people to the new era of 'Dual Selfie Camera' with a custom emoji that represents the two selfie cameras.

Maruti Suzuki - Nexa

Maruti Suzuki's much-anticipated hatchback, Ignis (@NexaExperience), made waves in the Indian auto sector with a custom car emoji. The Indian automaker's first launch of 2017 managed to create buzz and generate excitement amongst car aficionados prior to the launch of the vehicle and drove a significant amount of conversations with the hashtag #Ignis. It brilliantly managed to target the millennials by organising the Electronation concert for the launch and conversing in the language of emoji.


For the India launch of GT-R, a legendary car model in the Japanese automobile giant's stable, Nissan (@Nissan_India) adopted an innovative visual content route with customised Twitter emoji, targeting aspirants as well as creating a halo effect for brand Nissan. In order to drive excitement for the launch, a special emoji was modeled after the car's design on Twitter, keeping in mind the growing interest for visual content among users. The hashtag #OMGTR was used in this case to deepen engagement with car enthusiasts.

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime Video (@AmazonVideoIN) activated a special Twitter emoji for the launch of the streaming service in India. The emoji represented the Amazon Prime Video logo, which is a play icon in green, to spread awareness regarding the arrival of Prime Video in India. The custom emoji generated a lot of curiosity and interest amidst the target audience and definitely contributed to the successful launch of Amazon Prime Video in India.


Vodafone India (@VodafoneIN) decided to leverage the popularity and the highly positive sentiment around its Brand Mascot, the Zoozoo, becoming the first brand in India to launch a customised branded emoji during the IPL in April last year. By associating it with the launch of their 4G "SuperNet" network, they formed a delightful brand connection to their users every time the hashtags #BeSuper or their IPL cheer-slogan #HakkeBakke were used. The campaign generated phenomenal results, achieving an estimated 90 million impressions within the first five days of the emoji launch and a surge of 250 percent in their category share of voice.

Government of India

The Indian government became the first non-US based brand to have a Twitter emoji with #MakeInIndia which aims to promote the country as a global manufacturing hub. The 'Make In India' story is increasingly resonating with business leaders around the world and the emoji has proven to be a valuable and effective channel to tell the highly engaging story to an influential global audience.

Brands are constantly looking for innovative ways of targeting millennials and leveraging the power of social media to connect with their audiences that are 'always on'. Incorporating emojis in brand campaigns to magnify engagement is a great way of driving deep engagement and ensuring that your message reaches your audience through a format they appreciate.

(The author is business head, Twitter India)

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