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Sephora adds a customizable twist to new emoji keyboard

Sephora is offering a new emoji keyboard that lets users create emojis in their likeness based on their Color IQ number, showcasing how retailers can add a dose of customization to their mobile messaging strategies.

The new keyboard makes use of the latest tool marketers have been using to reach millennials ? emojis. The keyboard is called Sephojis and is available on both Apple and Android devices.

"Emoji keyboards deliver word-of-mouth marketing opportunities at scale, all in the most trusted consumer channel in mobile," said Christian Bucculeri, CEO of Snaps, the company behind the Sephojis keyboard. "We've driven measured brand awareness and favorability (300 percent), as well as lift in purchase intent (200 percent) with consumer groups exposed to our branded emoji products."

Color IQ
The cosmetics brand is taking advantage of a popular millennial marketing tool by leveraging emojis to target makeup-loving younger generations.

In addition to the standard features of an emoji keyboard, such as sending images through text messages, Sephojis comes with a unique feature in the form of Sephora?s Color IQ.

Color IQ is a unique code given to Sephora customers on-site through a free color-matching process. Sephora employees give customers a number that corresponds to their skin and hair tones, allowing them to easily find makeup that matches or contrasts favorably with their skin.

With the new emoji keyboard, that Color IQ code can be put to use in making the emojis look like the users that install them. Once installed, the Sephojis app will prompt users to enter their Color IQ code.

When the code has been entered, the app will automatically generate emojis with the corresponding skin and hair color, letting users customize their emojis beyond the standard four or five shades available with standard emojis.

Emoji fever
Allowing users to make their emojis look like them is an effort to make the incredibly popular emoji experience even more personalized.

Marketers have known that customers, especially younger, mobile-savvy ones, love emojis. They have been used heavily in many successful social marketing campaigns.

In fact, some recent research from Twitter showed that brands that included emojis in their social posts saw ten percent more ad engagement than those that included just text (see story).

It may seem like a small thing, but every boost counts when it comes to grabbing as much engagement as possible in the crowded social media market.

Other brands outside of the cosmetics world have been making use of emoji keyboards for engagement purposes as well.

Last year, Burger King celebrated the debut of its popular chicken fries with a chicken-themed emoji keyboard also came with an accompanying promoted hashtag that made use of the new chicken emojis (see story).

"Our Sephojis keyboard allows us to be part of our clients? conversations no matter where they are or where their conversations are happening," said Bridget Dolan, vice president of innovation at Sephora. "It is part of a larger shift toward direct digital engagement between our clients. 

"We know our clients, especially our younger beauty enthusiasts, communicate almost exclusively via messaging apps, Sephojis offer a way for our clients to express themselves in a memorable way, but also keep the beauty conversation fun and light with Sephojis such as Bad Hair Day and Crying Mascara Girl."