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Whether you have used an emoji yourself or not, you know that they have come to dominate the social sphere, via Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook-you name it. Yesterday, Adweek ran an article that presented the heightened significance of using emojis in social media marketing. The use of these amusing images has become more than smiley banter between friends and acquaintances; it has become a social conversation in which the combination of words and emojis present feedback for brands and campaigns.

This emoji evolution is giving brands a new conversation to follow. By studying chains and combinations of emoji’s, digital marketers can discover how consumers are responding to various brands, and how those responses are affecting their buying behavior. Some responses are more black-and-white, like a clapping hands symbol or frowning face. Others have yet to be defined, but nonetheless they are a graphic response that expresses an emotion generated from a brand or campaign. We as marketers need to work on learning this language.

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One chain has responded to the increased use of the emoji language. IHOP has redesigned their logo after 20 years, adapting to the emoticon-dominated world of social media. Their logo casts the O and P into a smiley face, much like the various smiley emojis we are all familiar with. In a time where emojis are a means of communication for today’s consumers, we think IHOP’s logo change is following the conversation in an inspiring way. It will be interesting to see how other brands choose to join in.