Meme marketing is not just a fad. It is a legitimate integrated marketing strategy and has a very high chance of making you viral. And, what happens when brands hear the word “viral”?
They all want a piece of that cake. It is free publicity. Who doesn’t want more eyes on them?
But what is this strategy? How would it benefit your brands? Is it even relevant to your brand?
Let’s take a deeper look at meme marketing.
According to Cambridge, an internet meme is an idea, image, video, or other forms that spread quickly on the internet. Memes come in handy to communicate about recent events, attitudes, feelings, and situations in an amusing way. It is growing into a new language that millennials and Gen-Z love to communicate with each other.
Hence, meme marketing is a social marketing ploy to generate interest in particular topics, products, or services using entertaining content you share on your socials. The goal is to encourage your audience to speak about it on the internet. When a meme hits the spot, it spreads like wildfire.
Memes are here to stay. They mean business. That is why brands are incorporating them into their marketing strategy every day.
The entertainment streaming giant has been using memes for years. For instance, you can head to their Instagram page (Netflix Singapore). They love to milk trending shows or their originals with memes on their bio, posts and stories. They are using current situations and emotions and fusing them in their way.
Image source: Gucci
Meme marketing can work for your brand if you do it right. Who would have thought that meme marketing would work for big luxury brands like Gucci?
In 2017, they launched a new collection of watches that they called Le Marché des Merveilles. To spread the word of the new collection, they turned to that feeling when a series of memes. And this is one of our favourite memes from Gucci.
It was a bold move by them because meme marketing often also acts as a double-edged sword. So, kudos to Gucci’s team for successfully integrating the meme culture for their brand.
BarkBox is a subscription box service from the US. It is a monthly surprise full of treats and toys for your pups or dogs. And to market their service, they embrace the meme culture on Twitter, even coming up with their own original memes.
It is very easy to skip ads, corporate messages, or press releases when browsing brands’ social media accounts.
But when you come across a meme, you tend to stop scrolling and pause to read the texts on it. It’s a meme culture. When a meme is relatable, there is a higher chance that you or other people who find them interesting will share them. That is why more and more brands are getting into this meme game. They want to widen their reach and stay relevant.
They want to connect with their audience.
Image source: Imgur
It is cheap (or little to no cost at all) and quick to make. You also do not need to possess a design degree to come up with memes because people who enjoy memes do not care about the aesthetics —they care about the context, the punchline.
If you would like to try your hand at making memes, you can try these sites:
Image source: Imgur
Memes make people laugh, and it is one of the best ways to make them attracted to you.
They are funny and relevant to your audience. That is why your audience loves to share them online. By speaking their language, you connect with them better.
With more and more people laughing at your memes, your followers will increase. It is a very sustainable way to foster your brand’s community.
Image source: Buzzfeed
Going viral (in a good way) is a dream for most brands and businesses. It is also the ultimate goal for most marketing campaigns. And meme marketing is the cheapest and easiest option to go viral.
When someone sees a meme, they laugh at it and then share it with a friend they think will also enjoy the humour. It’s how meme culture works and how memes go viral. Moreover, people who share it may come from your existing customer base and the audience who doesn’t know you exist.
In short, memes lead to an increase in brand awareness or, for some, even conversions.
If you choose meme marketing as part of your marketing strategy, there are some unspoken rules you have to follow to stay “woke”.
Your memes must be produced by people who are native—the ones that know the meme lingo. A digital native who speaks a proficient level of meme language will make your meme more on point, from the text through the caption.
What if your memes are not produced by the memers? You might come across as someone who is trying hard to be cool. Worse, they might call you out in the comments section.
In other words, you will end up embarrassing your brand, especially if your followers figure out that you are advertising, which is very easy to scroll past.
This is a must. If people don’t relate to your meme, they won’t share it.
Of course, we do not mean that you have to make relatable memes for everyone. Try aiming small for your memes, a pool of people who may have gone through a similar experience.
Create a meme that appeals to a specific population of your audience. For instance, take a look at this meme from Netflix. They make the meme only for the audience of the new series Vincenzo, so only people who’ve watched the series will understand the image and the text. But it works because some people can relate!
If this meme keeps appearing everywhere and followers keep seeing them, other people who haven’t seen the series will develop a fear of missing out (naturally) and feel the need to watch it to understand the meme. And voila, the marketing tactic has worked—more people will be waiting for the next episode of Vincenzo so they can stay relevant.
Avoid becoming a brand that comes off as tone-deaf or out of touch (or slow) when you play with meme marketing.
Before you upload your memes, monitor the situation. Make sure the memes are:
A real-life example of tone-deaf meme marketing is an esport team using a meme to poke fun at their own misery after losing a game. Their social media team did not understand the meme template carefully, and the brand ended up uploading a meme that poked fun at a serious matter (mental health issues).
Therefore, it is vital to monitor the situation around you on social media before you upload your meme to avoid a big PR disaster. With people sharing your memes, going viral for the wrong reasons would take minutes.
Image source: Shopify
Some people call it memejacking. All you have to do is find trending memes and use them as a base for a meme that resonates with your brand. The most recent example is “Bernie Mittens Meme”.
Image source: Seamless
If you want to up the meme game for your brands, even more, you can create your own. The classic example is the original meme from Seamless—a food delivery app in the US. They are always messing around with their products, puns, and movie names.
Just remember not to try too hard to be funny, though, or you will end up embarrassing your brand.
To meme or not to meme is entirely up to you. When it works, it will work wonders for your brand. With that, we leave you with our favourite: