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Digital Futures series: Does a picture really say a thousand words?

Written by Stacey | 18-Aug-2015 08:01:00

Recently we hosted another fantastic London Digital Futures session, with a great mix of brands in attendance, debating and sharing thoughts on how brands are innovating in digital, and how this could apply to their businesses.

There were several topics which stimulated engagement, including opportunities for brands to capitalise on
mobile payment technologies such as Apple Pay and bPay. Most of us are now used to contactless technology as part of everyday life, and in a previous digital futures session we had discussed Visa’s placement deal with ITV to educate Brits about contactless payments through featuring the technology on Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

In an increasingly cashless society, we discussed this being a major opportunity for charities; if fundraisers on the street were able to accept one-off contactless payments there and then, as well as cash donations, this would inevitably help increase donation revenue from campaigns and appeals.

Cancer Research recently piloted a trial earlier this year in four of their outlets to take contactless donations of £2 through devices or contactless cards by tapping the contactless payment point on the shop windows. The campaign is reported to have engaged with 1 in 6 passers-by in the two-week period, with additional support and engagement being recorded online! 

sCommerce was another big talking point, and the opportunity that comes with recent announcements around Facebook Shops and Twitter Collections to allow users to shop directly within their platforms. In Facebook’s case, the Messenger money transfer functionality means people can send money to friends without having to leave Facebook. For smaller ecommerce sites, or even charities with products sold via online shops, this could allow them to reach an engaged audience, and showcase their products directly within their brand page. It will also allow them to later advertise to that audience who might have high propensity to purchase in this way, based on the platforms’ wealth of targeting opportunities.

But the hot topic and recurring theme at the event centred on
emojis and the opportunity this phenomenon holds as a universal language.

TaylorHerring/flickr,CC BY-NC-ND

Adoption of the emoji language has been huge:
TalkTalk’s market research found that 80% of Brits use the symbols in everyday communications! This offers massive potential for marketers, from all sectors looking to engage with audiences in new ways. Here is a round-up of a few initiatives already being tested by brands from yesterday’s discussion:

  • Retail: Domino’s were the first company to allow consumers to place an order with an emoji – this hasn’t reached the UK yet but we’re predicting massive uptake on this trend in coming months from the big retail brands... watch this space!

  • Charity: WWF’s #EndangeredEmoji campaign launched in conjunction with Endangered Species Day in May, promoting 17 severely endangered animals. Users download the emojis and each time they use one on Twitter, they are asked to pay 10p. The campaign attracted 16,000 sign ups within 3 days!

  • Finance: Intelligent environment is in talks with online banks to replace passwords with emojis. The company claims that emojis have 480 times more permutations that the usual four digital passcode combinations currently available on most online banking apps / websites.  

  • And even Hilary Clinton is at it! (Although it received a lot of backlash from those believing that emojis were too trivial to express feelings at such a complex issue).

There’s no denying that this offers up huge opportunity to engage with Millennials. TalkTalk’s research also found that 4 in 10 people in the UK surveyed claimed to have sent messages made up ENTIRELY of emojis! So it seems, that yes, emoji pictures can and do replace words in everyday life!

If you’d like to join us at one of our Digital Futures sessions in London, Swindon or Bristol, and find out how digital innovation techniques can be applied to your business to help build engagement with your audience and deliver ROI, please get in touch by emailing
Nicola.burgess@equimedia.co.uk or call us on 01793 715440. Be quick due to limited places available!