Jul 25, 2010

Texting Language and Emoticons

Perhaps this article is not bleeding edge, but the explosion of off-beat texting language really hit me when I saw unexpectedly in my house the new "Text Talk Vinyl Shower Curtain" from Bed, Bath and Beyond, pictured above, and detailed at this shopping website. Featured are a wide range of "emoticon" emotional symbols. Some may recall these back in the pre-WYSIWYG days of chat on UNIX using EMACS text editing, but by now they are rampant on mobile phones, especially for youth. See Sharpened Glossary for a nice catalogue. The addition of colors, on the shower curtain makes them only that much more endearing.

Furthermore, the list of collective texting abbreviations has grown beyond anyone's individual repertoire, see this Netlingo link for a very exhaustive list -- not all clean, but mostly colorful, and all in the interests of saving keystrokes and being clever.

Why is this relevant to consumer relationship marketing? Say your target audience is the youth segment, as with contraceptives, or meningitis vaccines. Then for awareness and acquisition, it can be eye catching and advantageous to have your brand creative borrow from this pervasive mobile texting language. Or, if a text messaging application is part of your acquisition program, you may want your end of the dialogue to include well-chosen emoticons and shorthand. After all, it is the way of life for your audience.