On World Emoji Day, Source catches up with ceo Marco Hüsges on the first half of 2020 and what further plans and collaborations it has in the works.
One of the beauties of emojis is that there’s at least one for every occasion… and we’re willing to bet that some in particular have been used on a very regular basis over the past few months by many of us.
The ceo of the emoji company, Marco Hüsges, says that the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the business has been analysing various processes, how they can be optimised and what can be avoided in the future. However, despite the upheaval, overall business has been good.
“We executed 68 new licensing agreements in the first five months of the year,” Marco tells us. “Video conferencing became highly important allowing us to build an even closer relationship with existing partners and I really enjoy this personal way of communication.”
Key activity has included a successful DTR programme with Lidl in multiple countries, while the emoji company is continuing to work with Ferrero for Kinder Joy in various territories and Burger King will be launching a QSR programme with emoji plush in several countries.
Marco continues: “We are highly excited about the emoji by Britto programme with Goebel Porzellan for Europe that includes bags, spectacle cases, umbrellas, coasters and cups and that has recently launched. In short, we will be able to announce some new digital licensing deals, as well as some exciting apparel brand collaborations.”
World Emoji Day – which is being marked today (Friday July 17) – provides another opportunity for the iconic brand to increase marketing activity.
“We are planning a variety of marketing actions around World Emoji Day, especially concentrating on social media activities including some great interaction with key individuals of the licensing industry,” says Marco.
Marco believes that the universal character of the emoji brand has stood it in good stead over recent months. “It always has been a unique selling point as well as the diversity of our content, enabling partners to express any kind of emotion in a meaningful way,” he says. “The positive character of the brand and its power to communicate has clearly helped us closing new partnerships over the past months. Being globally known by consumers but not having to depend on a scheduled movie release date also helped tremendously in these particular times.”
When it comes to UK retail, Marco acknowledges that consumer behaviour will be different after lockdown. “COVID-19 has changed consumer attitudes – they are now more conscious in what they purchase and this change in their shopping behaviour I believe will be permanent,” he says. “Retailers and brands need to adapt and need to create offers that match the new consumer habits by exploring new business models and increasing their online presence and offers.”
And while Marco doesn’t foresee growth in 2020, this will be a temporary situation as he sees revenues shifting into the following year. “The emoji brand is well established all around the globe and no one hit wonder. I am convinced that in the future there will be a concentration on fewer but stronger properties that have a solid and proven track record and that enable licensees to generate serious revenues and emoji is one of those brands,” he concludes. “We will see a revenue shift within product categories, but in parallel see big potential in generating licensing revenues in the digital space.”
While Marco believes that “the world is not stopping” he admits there will be challenges going forward.
“On short notice, I believe that consumers will be more mindful in what they are going to buy,” he says. “Before COVID-19 people physically spent more time in stores and enjoyed a relaxed shopping environment and interaction with other people. The cutback of social interaction due to the virus influences the propensity to buy consumer products I am sure.
“Depending on the product category there will be many overstocks and the market will have to absorb that excessive supply.”
Marco continues: “On the other hand the world is not stopping. Social media and digital content distribution of any kind will influence the consumer demand for branded product even more than before. Brands will have to re-think and to shift their activities and focus more on digital experiences than on traditional tools. From an emoji brand standpoint we feel well positioned as we are historically strong in both the physical and digital environment.”
Marco teased that the company has recently signed some “major partnerships” although he’s unable to reveal details at the moment. He did, however, give us a hint into what’s to come for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
“For 2021 we strive to open up our first emoji fashion boutique in at least one major European city, similar to what we have done in China with the opening of the emoji apparel stores,” he says. “The creation of short animated content is something we are working on since a while and we expect to announce new partnerships in the gaming and gambling space soon.”