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Top 7: Understanding the Communication Role of Emojis

Explore these 7 peer-reviewed scholarly articles which highlight one of the newest visual means of communication: emojis or emojicons. How do emojis influence – whether good or bad – industries such as marketing, public relations, and advertising? How have emojis changed how we communicate both personally and professionally? Feel free to share your input as we navigate this new(ish) communication mean together by submitting your rankings!

#1 “Emojis in Marketing Communications”

Nikola Vangelov breaks down the definition, classifications, and uses of emojis through an analysis of semiotics in her article "Emojis in Marketing Communications". Her analysis sets the stage for professionals to consider the opportunities that emojis provide to communicate with target audiences in a creative way.

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#2 What’s Your Sentiment?

If you want to pull on the heart strings of your target audience, this article says you should certainly include emojis in your Tweets. Researchers use sentiment analysis to determine the use of emojis: some positive and some negative. Study includes rankings of top sentiment-scoring emojis.

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#3 Communicative Functions of Emojis in Email

While there's often debate on the professionalism of using emojis in e-mails, what's the purpose? This research article identifies three communicative functions: marking a positive attitude, mark jokes/irony, and function as hedges (softeners or strengtheners). Has your boss ever softened bad news with a ;)?

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#4 Emojis Don’t Have All the Answers

Ever considered what would happen to your survey participation rates if you used icons instead of text descriptions? Seems like a creative and trendy way to collect data, but these researchers say it likely won't improve mobile-survey engagement.

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#5 Ambiguous at Best

Monica A. Riordan challenged the notion that some non-face emojis have potential to influence the ambiguity of the message. This study suggests that users may be able to compliment or strengthen their message using non-face emojis. Additionally, non-face emojis allow users to virtually perform or fulfill social roles.

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#6 Bon Appetweet!

This study highlights to power of emojis to do what words cannot. Research proves that people do not easily verbally communication food-related emotions. However, social media and emojis have provided a platform that allows foodies to express their feelings through visual representation. These are not your "cup of coffee" or "plate of spaghetti" emojis, but rather the "smiling face with heart shaped eyes" or "unamused face".

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#7 Emojis = Pizza Sales

This article by Kate Kaye, published in Advertising Age (2015), explores the financial benefits that companies have experienced using emojis to promote or sell their products. Advertisers of Ford Motor Co., Universal Studios, Dell, Nike, and Dominos leveraged the use of emojis in marketing campaigns to strategically communicate their brands and products to consumers.

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