Prof. Vyv Evans

Linguistics professor and emoji expert, Bangor University

Adding value to brands with emoji

In his talk, Vyv will examine some of the reasons that marketing and PR campaigns increasingly feature emojis. He will demonstrate how emojis can enhance a brand, especially in the under 25 demographic. The talk will be based on specific case studies, including PR campaigns for TalkTalk Mobile, Barclays Bank, and O2. He will also discuss how to devise a clear PR angle and marketing hook fit for purpose in our 24/7 connected world.

Vyv is an expert in language and communication and is the author of over a dozen books on linguistics. In addition to his academic work, Vyv works with brands including Barclays and TalkTalk to help them navigate the complex world of digital communication.


Dots Live

Can emojis give brands the edge they need?


“Emojis leave English in the dust in terms of pick up and usage,” said Professor Vyv Evans in the second session of the Dots 2016 conference, speaking about how emojis can give brands an edge in the digital age.

Emojis are being rapidly adopted, with over 80% of people using them. They’re well and truly part of mainstream conversations. For example, in 2012 Andy Murray married his girlfriend Kim Sears. “He sent a tweet made entirely of emojis that described the wedding preparations, the vows, the dancing, singing and the consummation,” said Vyv.

But how can brands use emojis to communicate with their customers?

Fast adoption

“A brand doesn’t need to have a specific emoji to take advantage of emojis as a marketing tool,” said Vyv. Organisations like the BBC use them in the news, Facebook has adopted them to allow users to give reactions to friends’ posts, the New York subway system introduced a system using emojis to advise passengers of the status of subway lines.

Emoji usage dwarfs the reach of English. There are 335 million native English speakers and 505 million second language English speakers. In contrast, there are two billion smartphone users (nearly one-quarter of the world’s population). 41.5 billion SMS messages are sent every day and six billion emojis are sent daily by SMS and social media apps.

How emojis work for brands

Emojis are a visual form of representation. Their very nature helps them to be universally and, often instantly, recognisable. They offer a great way for brands – on a global scale – to become part of people’s everyday conversations. It’s the fastest growing new ‘language’ and research highlights that 72% of 18-25 year olds find it easier to use emojis than words to express feelings in electronic communication.

Brands like O2, Talk Talk and Barclays are all creating campaigns around emojis, with the latter translating common phrases into emojis to help people overcome the stigma of talking about money.

“A brand doesn’t need to be embedded in the digital sector or have a specific emoji to take advantage of emojis as a marketing tool,” said Vyv. “As language is the tissue that connects us all, there is a multitude of ways to create an angle to view emojis as providing a new and brand-specific way of communication.”