Turn your attendees into ambassadors

Humans emote through facial expressions during interpersonal communication. When writing, the meaning and intent behind words can often be misconceived. For example, all caps can be misinterpreted as someone yelling at you. That is changing thanks to emojis, which allow people to converse using pictures that illustrate their feelings.

Emojis have become so popular that World Emoji Day was commemorated on July 17 and an animated film with emoji characters was released in theaters on July 28. Emojis are also the new version of shorthand for people who don’t want to type out words or sentences. They are a universal language than can break down barriers that once divided people of different native tongues. (GIFs are also a popular language replacement.)

According to a study conducted by Instagram, Finnish Instagrammers use emojis in more than 60 percent of their text. The social media platform forecasts a future of emojis potentially taking over the majority of text on their app. They also notice a downward trend of internet slang usage, such as “LOL” and “Haha,” which are now expressed through emojis.

Creating Custom Emojis for Your Brand or Event

Customized graphic icons are the new must-have thing for events, companies and individuals. Kim Kardashian-West is more than just a reality television star: She is a brand and businesswoman, one who “broke” the Apple app store in December 2015 when she released her Kimoji app. According to the New York Post, the $1.99 app was downloaded more than 9,000 times per second, raking in roughly $1 million per minute.

“Creating an emoji for an event turns the attendees into brand ambassadors,” says Nathan Barker, founder of Visixtwo, a Manchester, England-based company. “Every time they send a message, they are promoting you with each emoji.”

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Visixtwo partnered with organizers to create a batch of 20 emojis—logo, driverless car, drone and virtual reality—pertinent to the event’s technology theme. “We can create a set of emoji themed around an event, brand or product and make them available to all the attendees [and] anyone with a smartphone,” Barker says.

Analyzing Effectiveness of Emojis

The metrics of emoji usage at events is measured the same way websites and apps track analytics. During CES, Barker found that each user sent an average of 20 emojis, users were predominantly males between the ages of 18 and 35 years old, and 80 percent of users were American.

Event professionals can also take a close look at how people are reacting to content posted on social media. For instance, Facebook allows users to do more than just “like” a post. Facebook users can now show a certain emotion in response to a post using emojis that convey happiness, laughter, amazement, sadness and anger. Make sure your message is being relayed to your audience accurately and invokes the intended emotion. (You can see the most popular travel emojis here.)

Are Stickers Already Replacing the Emoji Trend?

Just like bell-bottoms and platform shoes, digital trends come and go. As emojis are reaching their peak in popularity, the next “it” thing is already nipping at its heels. That thing is stickers, which offer more individuality. Another benefit of stickers is that they exist in apps that users already have on their phones, whereas emojis require users to download a new app.

Boston-based Bare Tree Media lists the NFL’s New England Patriots and Garfield as just two of its sticker clients. “Branded stickers are the new branded emoji keyboards,” Robert Ferrari, the company’s CEO, told digiday.com. “Stickers help drive both brand awareness and revenue. And that conversion is significantly higher than keyboards.”

The Patriots’ director of digital media, Jana Gauthier, can attest to the organization reaping benefits. “Stickers are far more streamlined than having the user go and install an app and get keyboards,” she told digiday.com. “It’s not always the best idea to force consumers to go to your owned and operated platforms; it helps more to be where they are.”

Tips for Meeting Professionals

  1. Utilize attendees as a social media resource.
  2. Invite event sponsors or partners to get involved.
  3. Include selling points about your event or resort.
  4. Hire a company to design emojis six weeks prior to the event.
  5. Encourage emoji use to begin one or two weeks before the event.
  6. Offer a prize to the attendee who sends the most custom emojis.
  7. Make the emoji app free for users to download.

Kayak’s Emoji Legend

Kayak’s travel search includes icons to represent 10 cities worldwide, and 200 flag emojis will soon be searchable. The site collected 170,000 votes to select future emojis city assignments. The winners are:

San Francisco