The Power of Facial Expressions in Branding: Can Emojis versus Human Faces Shape Emotional Contagion and Brand Fun

Pedro Almeida, Paulo Rita, Diego Costa Pinto, Márcia Maurer Herter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the growing importance of facial expressions in online brand communications, little is known about the positive and negative effects of replacing human facial expressions with emojis. To address this gap, this research examines how facial expressions (emojis versus human faces) shape consumers' emotional contagion and brand fun. Findings from three experimental studies (two online and one with eye-tracking) demonstrate that the presence of emojis increases brand fun due to the underlying mechanism of emotional contagion. However, although emojis might foster positive brand outcomes, they reduce credibility compared to brand communications using human faces. Finally, this research provides relevant managerial implications for brands that wish to create communications using facial expressions since emojis can positively impact product engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Early online date22 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Brand Fun
  • Emojis
  • Emotional Contagion
  • Facial expressions
  • Human Faces

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