Meet Makemoji, the tech turning emoji users’ wishes into commands

“Smiley face,” “thumbs up,” or “praise hands.” These are all phrases that may come to mind if you’re asked to visualize an emoji.

So, what about “Starbucks cup” or “pair of Vans shoes”? You probably wouldn’t think of those. But new technology that lets both users and brands influence the tiny, shareable images at your fingertips is changing that.

Makemoji, an in-app emoji keyboard, lets developers and brands incorporate an expanded and data-smart emoji library into their mobile application.

While the keyboard offers the standard emojis found across different apps and digital platforms, it also serves as a place for users to access the company’s proprietary emojis, along with branded emoji access through its search and suggestion functions. The company also collects emoji-use analytics from the keyboard and offers back-end users the capability to track the usage as well.

“I think apps are going to realize that the (basic) keyboard is one of the most used, least optimized parts of their entire app,” said Tyler Breton, co-founder and CEO of Makemoji. “It lets people type, obviously, and it lets them use the Unicode emoji set, but it doesn’t really give you the ability to have monetization or data or any of the things that will increase engagement or retention for their users, like new emojis. I think messaging will play a massive part (in the future).”

Emojis have fully permeated pop culture and branding. They’re being used on social media to celebrate everything from sporting events to political victories. On June 21, the Unicode Consortium, the organization responsible for deciding on the official characters and symbols used in a plethora of different languages and coding systems, released 72 new officially approved emoji to add to the 1,200-strong set that hordes of smartphone and social media users already have at their fingertips.

“We want it to be a global conversation, because brands are used in conversations already,” Breton said. “People will talk about ‘Hey I’m going to grab Starbucks’ or ‘Hey, I just bought a new pair of Vans’ or whatever, and I think this gives a cooler way … than sharing just an ad for Starbucks or something like that on Facebook.”

To hear Three Broke Mice’s Kara Tabor interview Breton, check out the audio below.

Stay tuned for the next full episode of the Three Broke Mice podcast to hear more from Breton and learn more about how emojis are shaping the cultural and business landscape.

Three Broke Mice is a podcast that explores money issues, economics and culture and is hosted by Kara Tabor. It is produced in collaboration with the KBIA and Missouri Business Alert newsrooms.

Keep posted each week for new stories and segments from Three Broke Mice, and feel free to give us your feedback here on Missouri Business Alert, on KBIA and on Three Broke Mice’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Email us at

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