Memes – why you should take them seriously

My name is Emma and I am a meme-aholic. In the right hands, they’re versatile and hilarious. In the wrong hands (I’m looking at you, brands who use a meme from 2007 in an attempt to be cool) they are cringe-worthy and definitely earn you the label of “uncool”. You see, the world of memes moves so quickly. What was funny last week, is embarrassing this week. Luckily, I am an internet nerd and this is my natural habitat.

Memes are an extremely powerful marketing tool. Especially if your goal is to increase Brand Awareness. If you can make people laugh they’ll share the post, they’ll tag friends and your brand is subtly planted in the minds of new potential customers. The younger your target audience, the better your meme skills need to be. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are the most ad-averse generations in history. If you’re posting polished corporate images on social media they are likely to feel nauseated at the mere sight of it. If your business is trying to appeal to people under 30, you need to be fun, cool and current. Even if you as a person are not very fun, cool or current, your brand needs to be. Maybe spend a few hours on r/dankmemes for a baptism of fire.


Get involved in the conversation

You could spend thousands on photographers, videographers, graphic designers and PR firms just to have 0.25% of your audience engage with the finished product on social media, very soul-destroying, would not recommend.

You could spend some time online, see what’s trending, what people are talking about and relate it to your business. For example, at the time of writing, the internet is mourning the death of Grumpy Cat (RIP). Many brands have tried to get involved in this news story with posts like “Cheer yourself up after the loss of Grumpy Cat with our Big Friday Sale!” which is just wrong on so many levels. Meme marketing is not supposed to be so direct. It’s not about generating sales this weekend, it’s about investing time and making people really love your brand and how it relates to people on a (kinda) human level. Simply paying tribute to our beloved Grumpy Cat would have been perfect, but no, they besmirch Grumpy Cat’s memory. Excuse me, I need a moment.


Is this a good idea for my brand?

If you’re used to traditional marketing methods, meme marketing could be a difficult strategy to execute properly. Particularly because it requires you to be in-the-loop, but the loop changes completely every couple of days.

Here are some things to consider before diving into meme marketing:

Are memes appropriate for your brand?

Some brands may be more suited to a more serious approach, such as B2B, legal, medical or financial services. Light-hearted funny content is most suitable for retail, entertainment, any business who wants to appeal to a younger consumer.

Are you replacing original content with memes?

If so, stop it! Memes are supplementary to your usual content. Use them to reach a broader audience, but make sure your page is full of original content so that new customers can actually figure out what your business is about – that it’s not just a meme library. Nothing can replace a good Content Marketing Strategy.

Can you anticipate any negative reactions a certain meme might receive?

It’s always best to do a quick Google search before to make sure you’re not inadvertently posting a meme which has offensive roots. For example, in 2017, American fast food chain Wendy’s tweeted the Pepe the Frog meme and were quickly attacked online for posting a Hate Symbol. The Anti-Defamation League have branded Pepe the Frog as a hate symbol after it was used frequently in white supremacy forums. Although they clarify that the context is important, the internet doesn’t care and your brand may be labelled as bigoted. Side note: Wendy’s stock prices experienced a sharp increase during this drama. Maybe it’s true what they say: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Don’t go stale

Whether you decide to include memes in your marketing strategy or not, it’s important that you even considered it. In this fast-moving world, it’s important not to rely on old methods. If you’re constantly making strides to innovate and diversify your business’ strategies, you won’t be left behind, regardless of the methods you decide to implement. Once you’re consistent you’re giving yourself the best chance to be noticed by the right people.

If you’re finding it difficult to be consistent with your brand’s content, contact us to see if we can help. Whether you want serious or silly or all of the above, we can help you out.

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