10/25/2016 07:34 pm ET

Emoji Fill the Essential Need for Expression in our Communication Schema


Alexis Berger, Chief Strategy Officer, Emogi

Humans evolved to retain visually communicated information

Humans are visual species. The first sign of sophisticated human intelligence dates back 40,000 years to cave drawings discovered all over the world. The intricate depictions of historical and future events demonstrated initial capacity for abstract thought. Visual storytelling was the beginning modern communication and laid the foundation for the development of language as we know it.

Despite the vast amount of sophistication in humans that has occurred since early cave drawings, visualization is still paramount in our communication schema.

In fact, you have likely heard the findings of Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s 1950’s study: only 7 percent of communications is verbal, while 38% is tonal and 55 percent is visual: body language and facial expression. The advent of technology certainly negates standard communication rules. On the phone, we lose 55% of our ability to express ourselves. When we’re texting, 93% of our communicative tools are neglected. Therefore, a massive need for tonality and expression within chat emerged: enter emoji.

Leveraging human nature in conjunction with modern devices

Similarly, other visual mobile platforms are seeing staggering growth, and are the primary propellers of overall mobile usage. Instagram grew to over 500MM users in four years and reports engagement rates 10x compared to Facebook. Pinterest's user base is up 50% YOY, hitting 150MM overall users in 2016. Even in a digital world, images are still the preferred method of receiving messages.

Mobile messaging is also growing at staggering rates. 42 trillion mobile messages were sent last year, with 75% of smartphone owners using an over-the-top messaging app in 2015. 92% of the online population use emoji. Even more impressive: mobile chat apps have eclipsed social apps in monthly active users worldwide. Given the importance of visual aids in understanding information and the massive growth of mobile messaging worldwide, it is no surprise that emoji are the fastest growing language in history.

Connecting brands to consumer conversations with emoji

As brands marketers consider their approach to mobile media going forward, mobile messaging represents a strong opportunity to build brand affinity and word-of-mouth advocacy.

At Emogi, we believe that 1) brand communication must be visual to be memorable 2) it should be seamlessly embedded in consumer’s conversation in a useful and non-obtrusive way and 3) context is just as important as creative. We’re working with brands across categories to unlock the potential with mobile messaging by blending the best of data, machine learning and creative strategy.

Emogi recently launched Wink, a new platform allowing brands to contextually present branded emoji, stickers or GIFs as options to millions of consumers through the text fields on several of the world’s most popular messaging apps, without requiring people to download a separate keyboard. With Wink, brands can introduce their content using specific triggers such as where consumers are or how they're feeling, as well as the use of specific phrases or emoji. This offers a unique opportunity for brands to understand how people consume their branded content in mobile messaging, what drives its shareability and usage, and how to leverage those insights to become a regular part of their customers’ communication.

About Alexis Berger

Alexis is the Chief Strategy Officer of Emogi, a leading mobile messaging platform that empowers brands to join the conversation through branded emoji, stickers and GIFs.  In her role, Alexis leads the growth of the global brand, marketplace strategy, partnerships, and operations.

Alexis has a proven track record in transforming early stage companies into market leaders. In her previous role as SVP of Sales at Kargo, a mobile brand platform, she directly contributed to the company's growth from inception to $100MM in revenue. As one of the very first employees, Alexis successfully hired 50+ employees and was the General Manager for all offices West of New York.  During her tenure at Kargo, Alexis received several accolades, including: Most Powerful Women in Mobile by Business Insider, Mobile Women to Watch by Mobile Marketer, and her Los Angeles team was awarded Partner of the Year by ThinkLA.

Prior to Kargo, Alexis co-managed one of the most successful regions at Brightroll, where she developed best-in-class digital solutions for major publishers, advertisers, ad networks and DSPs. Alexis also opened the Midwest region for Adconion Media Group and was responsible for driving brand presence and establishing strategic partnerships from the ground up. While at Adconion, she was one of its highest generating salespeople globally, setting multiple company revenue records.