World Emoji Day, a celebration of the thousands of digital icons that we use daily, has been fully taken advantage of by many brands. From Apple revealing some of its new emojis, to WWF using animal emojis to engage with its supporters, World Emoji Day is an opportunity many brands use to run competitions, promote content or communicate a message. The Royal Opera House boasts a rich heritage, so was perhaps one of the more surprising brands to get involved in a day of emoji celebration on Twitter. Figaro Digital spoke to Jeremy Paul, Head of Marketing Communications, Audiences and Media at the Royal Opera House about how its participation in World Emoji Day compliments its reach strategy and seeks to appeal to new audiences.
Accessing New Audiences Via Social Media
Teaming up with a digital platform like Twitter was a first for the Royal Opera House. On the day, the Royal Opera House released a tweet every 30 minutes, telling the story of some of the world’s best loved ballets and operas using emojis – the public had the chance to win a pair of tickets if they identified the correct story. At its heart, this scheme was about grabbing a new opportunity to tell narratives, and to do so “in a surprising way, which sidestepped the audiences’ preconceptions”, explains Paul. “Social media allows us to have new conversations with new people in their preferred places, not ours.”
A Different Tone Of Voice
Using emojis to portray traditional ballet and opera narratives meant a fun and light-hearted tone could be created by the Royal Opera House. “It was a great creative challenge for us and the public – there’s no swan emoji which is a bit of a challenge if you’re showing Swan Lake. We had to be creative and people needed to think laterally to work the stories out”. Presenting these traditional stories with a “knowing-wink which respected the audience’s intelligence and the art forms, all at Twitter-scale for the first time” meant audiences could be engaged by the challenge, and also have a bit of fun. As Paul explains, “people are put off by any brand that speaks at them in formal marketing talk, and those brands look disconnected and distant – for the Royal Opera House, it’s about learning lessons from other quality entertainment and lifestyle brands, about how to engage through dialogue on platforms which have this two way engagement at their heart’. Keeping pace with the changing relationships and increasing engagement between brands and consumers is also a part of this strategy.
The Royal Opera House’s strategy highlights the importance for heritage brands to repackage their product in light-hearted, informal ways, in order to keep modern audiences engaged over digital platforms and remain relevant.