There is no denying that over the past several years meme culture has taken the internet by storm. You see them shared by friends on Twitter, influencers create their own on TikTok and even your own mother shares them regularly on Facebook.
In fact, many brands have begun to dabble (and have been dabbling) in meme culture by incorporating trending memes into their own marketing campaigns. These efforts may not always be successful, but it is evident that there is something about memes that have inspired brands to want to risk it all just to join the conversation.
The question is: what makes memes so great and why should you bother to use them in your marketing?
Benefits to Using Memes in Your Marketing
Memes are inexpensive to make.
Anyone can make a meme… yes, anyone. With sites like Meme Generator, people can customize popular meme templates or even upload their own templates to design for little-to-no cost.
Memes are easy to repurpose for any brand. You don’t need to seek out high-quality images or to take original photos/videos to incorporate memes into your marketing strategy. The hard work of putting together humorous content is often done for you and all that’s left is coming up with witty copy to connect the meme to your brand.
This example from Bark Box shows how simple catering any meme to fit your brand can be:
Take a trending meme, add your own twist, and you end up with an inexpensive way of spicing up your brand’s online strategy.
Memes give your brand personality.
Modern day marketing is conversational. Brands are not merely shouting messages to the masses anymore, instead they are trying to get to know their consumers and build a relationship with them. Using memes in their marketing campaigns give brands human-like qualities, making them easier to relate to.
Chipotle, for instance, does an excellent job of imitating a 20-something year old millennial/generation z cusper by using sass, trending lingo and sometimes raunchy humor to connect with its audience.
The key is understanding your audience and ensuring that your delivery comes as naturally as possible. You don’t have to use humor. Memes can be lighthearted, wholesome, dark, literary, sophisticated, subversive or really anything you desire them to be. Regardless of what type of memes you choose to use, the point still stands… Once it feels forced, you lose any essence of personification and risk disconnecting with your consumers.
Memes are engaging.
77% of social media users follow brands to stay up-to-date on the latest sales and offers. However, there are only so many promotions a brand can post to generate activity. By using memes in their marketing strategies, brands can still get engagement without posting promo codes, discounts and deals.
Posting a good meme is guaranteed to get you plenty of online engagement and social traction. It’s an efficient way to connect with your followers and/or showcase your product without being overly “salesy.” Take this meme posted by Telfar as a prime example:
They seamlessly play into the hype surrounding their bag restocks without being pushy towards their consumers. It’s a smart marketing tactic that actually increases their followers' excitement through the use of familiar references and incorporating emotions that can be felt across the board by Telfar stans.
Memes can increase brand awareness.
Brands want to go viral online. More people seeing your content = more people being introduced to your brand. Promotional posts don’t always pack the punch that’s needed to go viral, unless your product or deal is one-of-a-kind, so what better way to make a first impression on consumers than with something funny or relatable?
The reason memes exist is to go viral. They thrive off of likes, comments, impressions and shares and that’s why we see them everywhere! However, they have a short lifespan. You never know how long a meme will be circulating the internet, so jumping on a trend as quickly as possible can generate instant feedback from your audience while the topic is still hot. And if the meme flops? No big deal. Memes fade out as quickly as they appear and as long as the outcome isn’t disastrous, your flop can be quickly forgotten.
Incorporating memes into your marketing strategy can feel like a huge risk, but if done correctly the pay off can be incredible and truly take your brand’s marketing to the next level. Take the time to get to know your audience, stay up to date with the latest trends, make sure that the content is relevant to your brand and, most importantly, suck it up and just POST IT.
You never know how it’ll go if you don’t try!