Stickers: storytelling and serious business

In a rush? Three key points from the post below:

  1. Market for stickers is huge - in 2015, stickers generated over $270 million in revenue for LINE

  2. Communication is becoming

  3. LINE is extremely good at blending online and offline content

Here at Kotana we love stickers, and especially the kind of stickers that are used in communication. One of the most successful companies promoting stickers is LINE, and the brief video below by WSJ neatly summarizes what LINE is all about.

So basically LINE enables its users to do lots of things with the app: play games, text and call, apply for jobs, and so forth. But let's focus on the stickers for now.

Stickers are great, because they can diversify communication. Sometimes it is easier to say something with an image than with words, although some people have criticised stickers for 'dumbing down' our communication. But we think they're making our communication richer and more fun!

For consumers, then, stickers are a nice addition to the communication toolkit, but what about companies and designers? LINE has made it possible for individuals and organisations to create and sell their own stickers in the marketplace, and so far the revenues have been pretty remarkable. While numbers reported by Forbes are quite significant for individuals, from a company perspective stickers can be used to deepen customer relations as well as create new stories (sorry, this one's only in Finnish). And that's what stickers are all about: creating stories and engaging people with them.

With LINE's recent IPO the company is expecting to get a better foothold in the Western markets, but as it is now there is still plenty of room for first-movers to create new means with which to interact with their fans and customers. 

It's time to learn a new language: emoji!

Admit it, if you haven't used them yourself at least you must have heard about them. Or seen someone else use them. Emojis

Initially they were seen as a funny and casual way to communicate emotions in the digital space, but as Wired writes, we might be actually witnessing something completely different. Namely, the birth of a new language.

One further example comes from Finland, the first country in the world to release their own country-specific emojis

Emoji 'Happiness' - illustrating how to embed national flavour to an emoji

Emoji 'Happiness' - illustrating how to embed national flavour to an emoji

The emoji above illustrates - humorously - what happiness can mean for Finns: beating Sweden in ice hockey. Whether this actually happens or not is debatable, but it shows how emojis are becoming more and more refined and advanced. Thus, it is fair to say this visual language is evolving: just like spoken languages have evolved over the years.

To conclude, the visual is not here to trump the spoken language, but instead we can use it to convey emotions and thoughts in environments where written language might cause misunderstandings.

Moreover, if you or your company was an emoji, how would it look like? What would it convey?