From being an added element to a conversation, emoji have now transformed into a lingua franca for the digital age. The wide base of its lexicon has empowered people time and again to express themselves.
The emoji company with over 20,000 brand icons and designs ranks amongst the Top 150 Global Licensors. Marco Huesges, CEO, emoji Company elaborates on his plans for the Asian market and trends following their expansion.
As a global Brand- how do you evaluate Indian market? Do you have any data in place about how Indians are using digital emojis?
In order to manage the global potential of the emoji® brand the emoji company has created solid partnerships worldwide with national experts in brand licensing. In fact, we work with more than 20 licensing agents worldwide while our firm operates offices in Europe and North America. For India we are working with Bradford. The agents we work with are specialized in brand licensing and together we define the right methods of building a sustainable licensing and merchandising program throughout the various categories.
Like other brands we run market surveys and case studies about consumer behavior,brand acceptance and likeability. Regarding the digital use of icons in India the Tear of Joy icon and the Blowing Kiss icon are the most used icons. Other very popular and most used icons are the Heart Eyes Laughing Face, the Laughing Out Loud Face,several gestures such as Thumbs Up, the Folded Hands icon or the gesture showing the OK sign.
What is the L&M program you have built for India and Asian markets? Will it have both digital and physical elements to it?
Asia is a very important market for us.
In China we are extremely successful in the promotion and events category.
We are constantly developing and building emoji® brand themed attractions and engage the audience with various events such as operating the emoji® fitness day, the emoji® run or the pet themed emoji® Pop Up experience. In the promotional sector we work with remarkable clients such Unilever ( POND´S ), L´Oreal, Vinda, Johnson &Johnson ( Listerine ), Chevrolet and others. Together with our local agent we build a solid merchandising program that includes partnerships with companies such as Kipling, Peacebird, Bossini, Saturday, Miss Sixty, or Bejing Gold. In 2020 we also will launch an exciting digital partnershipwith a leading corporation which unfortunately we cannot disclose yet.
In South East Asia we have build a solid merchandising program that focusses on apparel, food & beverages, promotions and loyalty programs. Partners include Kipling, Giordano, Cotton On Group, Bossini, Zara, Giomax Group, Coco Latte, Tupperware, T&U, Aquaholic.
Mall events are historically of high importance in this region and this is one of our primary focus, we already worked with Marina Square Mall, Emporium Pluit or Plaza Blok M.
In India we already had some great partnerships such as with Kellogg´s and Ferrero ( KinderJoy x emoji® ). Together with Bradford we are now working on a tailor-made merchandising program for the India market and are excited about the potential the market offers.
In your view, what product categories are best suited for emoji® brand merchandise?
Unlike other brandsthe emoji® brand is suitable for a vast number of categories and is applicable to categories way beyond standard licensing. The number and the diversity of our partnerships underscores the extraordinary scope of application of the brand. The emoji® brand is a true multi target brand with family appeal. Our merchandise ranges from apparel for all age groups, from stationary, beauty supplies and cosmetics, from home & living, food & beverages to toys, playthings, games, entertainment services and more. On top of that the brand suits perfectly for loyalty programs, collectible toys, promotions and events. Finally we license out official emoji® brand content to firms such as Nikon, Movistar, Orange, Aptamil or O2 for their marketing campaigns while companies such as the BBC, ZDF or Top of the Pops integrate our branded content into their programs and services.
In what markets have you already done the Licensing Rollout and what success are you seeing there?
The emoji® brand is successfully established in more than 100 countries. We have been globally awarded numerous times and work with more than 800 global licensing partners.Our Partners include Sony Pictures Animation, Ferrero, Aldi, The Hershey Company, Walmart, Danone, Nestle, GBG, Kellogg´s, The Inditex Group, Miss Sixty, The French Post amongst many others. Our firm is currently ranked on position number 57 amongst the Top 150 Global Licensors with a retail turnover of more than 800 Million US$. Our leading markets are Europe, the U.S. and China. In China we opened our first emoji® brand apparel stores and launched the emoji® brand store on TMall in the beginning of 2020 together with our partner. The luxury of the emoji® brand is the variety and the diversity. The emoji® brand reaches out to the entire family and is beloved by consumers of any gender and age – this is a true unique advantage over other brands that have a limited or narrow target audience.
How are you working with Bradford in terms of harnessing the emoji® brand potential? What all would they be overlooking in India?
Bradford is overlooking the entire licensing business for the emoji® brand in India. That includes managing the standard licensing categories as well as searching for out of the box opportunities such as licensing emoji® brand content within the advertisement space.
We are very excited being represented by Bradford which is a true key player in India and see a giant potential in India for the emoji® brand.
What are some global trends and practices in character licensing space that you strongly feel about?
A global trend in my opinion are so called brand experiences that engage the consumer with the brand and its story, either done in the way of temporary or permanent attractions.
Those experiences make a significant impact on how people feel about a brand and as a brand owner it is inevitable to submit your brand purpose to the audience.
Besides a substantial revenue stream such experiences allow us to connect with the needs of the consumer and build a sustainable connection. Companies understand and recognize the importance of delivering a solid brand experience that makes their brand stand out.
Such activities create brand loyalty and foster customer appreciation and on top generate more sales. Our company is at present evaluating a variety of opportunities which range from digital experiences to theme – and waterparks.