Brands, Emojis and the Hispanic Market

By: Summer 2015 Interns

If there’s an emotion, it probably has an emoji. It’s no wonder they’ve become so popular with smartphone users all over the world. For people, emojis help express the emotions behind a text or an online message. They are universal pictures that almost anyone can understand regardless of language barriers or age differences.

Why Emojis are Important for Marketers

Outside of text messaging with family and friends, emojis can also be used by brands to relate with consumers on a personal level. According to Experian Marketing Services, 63% of adults in the Hispanic market own a smartphone, thus helping marketers understand that these picture characters are already in the palm of their hands. If brands use a particular emoji often enough, whether in ads or social media content, they could begin to create a brand image associated that specific emoji.

As states, the “emoji language” was partially pioneered by comedian Aziz Ansari when he translated an entire Jay-Z and Kanye West song into emojis. Unfortunately, the benefit of using this language isn’t without its obstacles. When brands are looking to dive into this new realm of communication, they need to be sure not to lose themselves in the translation. To be sure their messages are conveyed properly, brands must think contextually about not only what the pictures are intend to mean, but also how different people may perceive them. When these messages become concise enough, the audience will have an easier time understanding the thoughts behind them.

One brand that used emojis to their advantage was Taco Bell. In November of 2014, Taco Bell submitted a petition on for the creation of the taco emoji. Momentology says that Taco Bell even sold taco emoji shirts for the campaign. Since they have a large fan base, their fans showed their support for the cause. Taco Bell’s petition for the new emoji has more than 32,000 signatures. Even though the petition isn’t a traditional ad, it is branded content that shows that they’re trying to stay relevant and connect with their tar

Brands such as AT&T Latino and Domino’s also saw an advantage by using emojis. In fact, Domino’s use of emojis was so successful; it was classified as a “best in class” example by the advertising industry as it won a titanium grand prix award at the Cannes International Creativity Festival. If you have an opportunity, check out the link to see how they incorporated the picture character in their Facebook post.

Opportunities for Brands

Even though brands are able to utilize this new language in their own ways, there are still big name brands that haven’t yet taken advantage. According to Dieste’s book 1+1=3, Hispanics are 66% more likely to connect via mobile and have the highest usage of mobile devices than any other segment.  Knowing this, the US Hispanic market is more likely to use emojis and speak the emoji language. It’s great to see brands use trendy tools to stay relevant, but brands will want to evaluate how they’ll utilize them in Hispanic market – or decide if they’re a brand that even needs to use emojis to market at all.