An emoji for your thoughts
Helping Microsoft foster new ways to connect in the virtual world with 1,800 emoji redesign
Months into remote work, the sustained effect of connecting with co-workers, friends and loved ones solely through screens was taking a toll. Workplace networks grew weaker and increased feelings of isolation, while the growing reliance on digital connection put a larger emphasis on nonverbal cues in communication: 55% of people reported using more emoji in their exchanges since the onset of the pandemic.
With people craving new ways of expression, Microsoft saw an opportunity to redefine how we communicate at work and revealed over 1,800 redesigned emoji across Microsoft 365 apps to help create moments of levity and connection in the new landscape of work. It also unveiled five brand-new emoji to signal a fresh perspective on the changing nature of work and life.
WE’s two key objectives in unveiling the redesigned emoji collection were to:
- Help people authentically connect in a digital world.
- Increase awareness and usage intent for Microsoft 365 by putting it at the center of the cultural conversation.
Data shows that Millennial and Gen Z hybrid workers are frequent emoji users likely to share and engage with related content. Our campaign met these audiences where they were — on Twitter and Instagram — with a social-first viral moment and strategic call-to-action built around Microsoft’s polarizing yet iconic ’90s animated office assistant, Clippy.
In partnership with Microsoft, WE leveraged the nostalgia for Clippy to drive emotional appeal and audience participation and launched on World Emoji Day for added news value and relevance. We then amplified the campaign across earned, owned and paid channels to drive a virality and buzz:
- Earned: “Consumerized” Microsoft’s corporate spokesperson, designating Microsoft Art Director Claire Anderson as the company’s Chief “Emoji-ologist” and previewed new visual designs with consumer, tech and lifestyle influencers to help drive a strong news cycle ahead of the emoji reveal.
- Owned: Published content on Microsoft’s design-focused Medium page to reach target audiences where they find news and information.
- Paid: Executed a publisher partnership to raise awareness among design and creative audiences with an article on Creative Boom that highlighted the emotional fluency emoji bring to workplace communication.
If this gets 20k likes, we’ll replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy. pic.twitter.com/6T8ziboguC— Microsoft (@Microsoft) July 14, 2021
We met our objectives of empowering people with authentic ways to connect virtually and increasing awareness and usage intent of Microsoft 365 with an integrated campaign that broke into the cultural conversation.
- The Clippy teaser posts on Microsoft’s Twitter and Instagram drove the highest-ever volume of engagement, with a combined 432K engagements and 11.7M impressions.
- Generated 83% more Instagram followers than the daily average on Instagram and 70% more on Twitter.
- Consumer nostalgia for Clippy drove emotional connections and trended No. 13 on Twitter in the U.S.
- Our social strategy sparked virality and a strong global news cycle with 146 online placements in the top lifestyle and general interest publications read by target audiences and ~500 broadcast mentions.
- The Creative Boom article reached 200K creative professionals with a 5-minute average time spent on page.
- Microsoft’s Medium blog was viewed by 149K readers.
The campaign sustained long-tail attention with continued interest from publications including the Wall Street Journal and Popular Science, shifted perceptions of Microsoft 365 as a culturally relevant technology solution, and drove usage intent. As one person wrote on social media, “I now have a reason to use Microsoft 365.” Another claimed, “We need this. The world needs this. Clippy is healing.”
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