Should You Start Using Memes in Your Marketing to Liven Up Your Brand?
What is a Meme?
A meme is a humorous image or video embellished with text that is copied (often with slight variations) and shared virtually. These images often poke fun at an awkward and relatable social situation that can be shared and related to with friends. Memes are a worldwide, digital social phenomenon because they are extremely engaging.
From an advertising standpoint, memes are a remarkable branding strategy because consumers don’t immediately recognize them as a marketing ploy. In this modern world where advertisements are plastered all over websites, walls, and benches, people have learned to tune out the innumerable ads they are bombarded by every day. Marketing with humor and familiar media is a clever way to engage hard-to-reach customers because you put the advertisement in a format they like and want to see.
From an economic standpoint, memes are an extremely cost-effective way to market your brand to consumers. Memes are mostly reposted content from someone else. This saves businesses the time and money it would take to design original graphics. Memes evolve effortlessly and quickly because it doesn’t take much to alter or personalize them. The nature of meme content is casual and DIY.
Memes foster a sense of community and relatability with viewers. They make a company seem more authentic and human. People want to support companies with character and personality, not stiff, robotic companies that only want to sell, sell, sell.
One of the central tenets of the meme community is that memes are made to be shared. This makes memes an extremely engaging form of social media content. They are humorous in nature, so people want to share them with their friends to make them laugh. This spreads the reach of the post not just to a business’s followers, but to anyone consumers might want to share the meme with.
Businesses that Meme Marketing Won’t Work For
Despite the many benefits of meme marketing, there are several drawbacks to using memes. One drawback of using memes is using them when they aren’t right for your business’s brand. Memes are a great way to appeal to a millennial audience, but if they don’t fit your business’s brand, it can seem a little like your grandfather trying to talk to you in street slang.
Many meme marketing attempts miss the mark because they fail to make sure the meme matches the brand’s voice. Memes are becoming so mainstream that even high-end businesses can successfully use them. The issue is not with the status of the brand, but the voice of the brand. Memes are usually satirical, lighthearted, and socially relatable. This makes them a bad choice for brands that are very serious or businesses that deal with stressful situations that are no laughing matter.
Overall, your business’s brand must be one that is capable of joking around for memes to work for you. Memes are meant to be funny, insightful, and edgy. If your brand can’t channel that energy authentically, meme marketing is not going to work.
One common meme marketing mistake is that businesses try to frame their meme content just like they would a regular advertisement. Meme marketing is not about selling products or services; it’s about engaging consumers with fun and interesting content to showcase your business’s personality and keep your business relevant. Successful memes don’t have a call to action like “buy,” “subscribe,” or “contact.” Delightful, amusing content is more likely to be shared, increase your business’s likability and the likelihood of future sales.
Another mistake companies make when using memes for social media is when they fail to embody the funny, laid-back nature of a meme. Meme content is not meant to be serious or conservative. The image and text on a meme should be lighthearted, relatable, and comical. This is not the time for a dramatic, emotional appeal.
Lastly, be careful not to include any potentially offensive content. Many memes on the internet use dark humor and satire, but this is a dangerous area for business. Research the context and background of a meme before using it haphazardly in your business’s social media.
How to Tell if Meme Marketing is Right for Your Business
While meme marketing is a very useful tactic for some businesses, it can be a big mistake for others. If you’re wondering if meme marketing is the right move for your business, consider your business’s brand and personality first. If it’s inherently serious and conservative, stop right there. But if it’s possible to draw humor from any aspect of your business, then there’s a possibility for you to relate to and entertain your customers through meme marketing.
Jessica Smith is a Writing Intern at Catapult Creative Media. She is a senior at LSU concentrating in Political Communication. She has also studied at universities in New Zealand and Indonesia. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys listening to live music and exploring the great outdoors.
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