How Meme Knowledge is Essential For Your Marketing Growth

How Meme Knowledge is Essential For Your Marketing Growth

Claudia JeffreyClaudia Jeffrey

July 15, 2021

“How Meme Knowledge is Essential For Your Marketing Growth” is a guest post written by Claudia Jeffrey, a Content Strategist at Crowd Writer. She also works as a Trainer and provides assignment service at Dissertation Assistance. She is keen on helping online business owners in the promotion of their products.

Tired of making bland and boring advertisements? Have you tried meme marketing?

Memes (pronounced meem) are a type of witty visual content (usually an image, but can be video or text) that contain some kind of hidden meaning linked to the pop-culture. You’ll see meme content across multiple visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The meme culture has become so popular that brands are now capitalizing on this strategy.

What evidence do we have about meme marketing?

Humorous content has gained a significant place in the modern consumer’s visual language. The number of people creating and consuming memes is now more than ever. Here are some fascinating statistics that perfectly explains why the growing marketing community should go for meme marketing.

  • On average, a millennial looks 20 to 30 memes in a single day.
  • 60% of the 3 million social media users share funny content (Forbes, 2018).
  • Almost 55% of consumers falling in the age bracket of 13-35 send memes every week, while 30% of them send memes every day (YPulse, 2019).
  • 38% of young adults follow meme accounts on social media (YPulse, 2019).
  • Traditional marketing graphics have 5% engagement while memes can yield 60% organic engagement with ten times higher reach (The Nyu Dispatch, 2020).
  • The click-through-rate (CTR) of a meme campaign is 14% higher than email marketing (Forbes council post).

By looking at these numbers, I am pretty confident in saying that memes are the best marketing tool out there and there’s just no comparison. Read on to get some amazing meme knowledge.

Why do memes matter for brands

I haven’t met anyone who can resist a joke or funny image. But there are some more compelling reasons to appreciate memes. I have discussed some of them below:

Inexpensive viral content

The biggest benefit of using memes is that they are cheap and most of the time almost free. They come with the ability to go viral, which is directly associated with high brand exposure. The concept you use is originally created by other people making memes quite an inexpensive tool.

Develops a sense of community

A sense of belonging develops when members of the online groups’ posts or share content within their community. Memes foster community building because common people can relate to the situation you express.

Meme showing a long ass sub with caption:Me: Can't wait to show off my summer bod.Also me:
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The more relevant memes you post, the more followers you’ll attract and grow your virtual community.

Get reactions instantly

Whether good or bad, memes produce emotions immediately. Because memes depend on humor, there are high chances for coming off with insensitive or inappropriate content in an attempt to go viral.

It is essential for marketers to be careful and not produce such type of content that can damage the brand’s image and hurt the sentiments of people.

It gets more likes and shares

By default, memes are meant to be shared with the bunch of people. According to ZDNet, people often cite the following reasons to share memes.

  • 74% of people say they send memes to make their friends smile and 35% said they send them to show how they’re feeling.
  • People (women 5% and men 8%) post memes to make others feel jealous.
  • Women (38%) are more likely to post memes to feel connected than men (30%).

Let you improve your returns

In an interview with Digiday, Lauren Smeets, talent strategist at Cult LDN said that ‘companies can generate a better return on investment with memes than influencers’.

Part of that has to do with the fact that memes come with the natural kind of wit that result in amazing engagement levels.

Let you humanize your brand

Memes are great for brands for a major reason – people like to talk to people. They let you humanize your brand by giving you an authentic voice. Plus, you can depict your company culture or brand persona with famous memes.

Here’s an example from a dog brand BarkBox. The company promotes animal well-being, and that’s how it promoted its message to its audience who are dog lovers.

Two pics of the same woman. On the first one, she shakes her head with a grimace on her face. There's a caption: $25 for something for me.On the second picture, she nods and looks interested. The caption says: $25 for something for my dog.
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How you can make the most of memes

Now that you’ve already familiar with the ‘Why’, we should now move to answer the ‘How’. Here is a list of golden rules and some best practices that you must follow religiously while marketing your brand through memes. 

Study your audience deeply

Similar to other social media content strategy, creating good memes require you to know your audience. If they don’t like it, they’ll not share it within their network.

For instance, if you are running a clothing brand targeting millennials, you can create humorous meme content around things they are interested in. But make sure you find a balance between engagement and promotion.

Tesla’s marketing got the combination just right. The company is promoting its fuel-efficient electric cars using a meme depicting a very real life situation that most adult vehicle owners have experienced.

Picture showing a gas pump with caption: At some point in your adulthood, you went to the gas station for the last time, and you never knew it.
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The meme should be consistent with your brand voice

Whatever means you use to promote your products and services, it shouldn’t contradict your brand image. It should support it instead.

The popular chips brand ‘Ruffles’ cash the evergreen ‘distracted boyfriend meme (2015)’ perfectly.  I think this meme is here to stay forever. Plus, this classic meme is highly recognized across the globe. The brands are just added captions suggesting the thoughts of the three individuals in the image. Here the boy gets distracted again because he saw hot flamin’ Ruffles. 

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Keep up with what’s trending

Memes have a short life-span meaning that you can’t just stick with a single meme concept for long. Why? Because it won’t produce the same response when people see it again and again. For this purpose, you should create your own library by leveraging the existing popular memes.

The psychological thriller ‘You’ by Netflix featuring Penn Badgley as the creepy lover has gained a lot of attention from the meme world. Fenty Beauty saw this opportunity and used the Joe Goldberg-inspired meme format wonderfully. Here’s how the famous beauty brand finds a problem and tried to fix it.

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The beauty brand wins the social media with its ‘YOU’ meme. Here’s a response from some Twitter users.

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But, Fenty Beauty didn’t stop here. The brand keeps on capitalizing other meme opportunities. ‘If you don’t like me at my worst’ is another meme format recognized by millions of users. With this meme, the makeup brand gives a perfect reason for its customers to love its foundation.

Picture comparing the same leg with and without tan. The caption for the untanned picture says "If you don't love me at my", and the caption for the tanned picture says "then you don't deserve me at my"
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Add originality to your memes

Producing original content is quite difficult and time-consuming than using the already existing one. But, there’s a high probability that your content will be liked and shared.

Here is a list of few brands making original memes for their social media brands. Tooth and honey is dog clothing and accessory company that joins this bandwagon too. Because dog memes are quite prevalent, the company decided on to make its own memes.

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It is important to note that animals are a hit subject in the modern internet world so all the dog brands can utilize memes without involving themselves in any controversy. Also, the dog and other pet owners are growing in numbers around the world. So, both informative and funny content appeals to people owning pets in an organic manner.

Here’s another exclusive example from BarkBox.

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Go for meme challenges

Meme-style challenges and contests are the talks of the town. Over the past months, I’ve seen any big social media challenges and participated in the #DontRush challenge too. These contests spread like wildfire, and this could be a great opportunity for brands to get hundreds of eyeballs. 

Right: Image Source, Left: Image Source

There’s a long list of companies that took part in the 2019 Ten Year Challenge. The challenge was simply about people showing off how they transformed within a time span of ten years and how they look at the present.

Starbucks takes part in the challenge and showcases the transformation in its logo. But, the toy company Lego took it the other way. The company shared two similar pictures because it wanted to convey the message that the quality of the products doesn’t change even after ten years.

Success story of Nickelodeon and Seamless

Nickelodeon capitalizes through meme marketing that actually works for it. They use snippets from their shows, design it accordingly that grabs the attention of the targeted audience, i.e., kids. Moreover, their meme is mostly based on simple topics that are relatable to children, such as parents spending time with them, children playing together, etc.

Another great example is Seamless, an online food brand. They focus on user engagement and turn their followers’ suggestions into creative content.

Their 2014 marketing meme campaign was based on Academy Awards nominations and get a huge stir on social media. The campaign was named #OscarNomNoms. The brand reimagined movie posters and included some humorous content. For instance, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ turned to ‘The Wolf of Waffle Street.

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What things you should avoid completely

If you’ve already made your mind about moving into the memescape here are few things that you shouldn’t be doing.

Changing the core message too much

Most of the times, brands use a popular theme format and make little changes in it. If you are planning to do the same, make sure you keep it plain and simple. But don’t change it to the point where it becomes too difficult for your audience to get the joke. Making so many changes can lead to confusion or misunderstanding.

Picking an insensitive topic

This is something that should be understood by everyone and not only by marketers. Brands have to be more careful about what they joke because their every action is being noticed by the people as well as their rivals. One wrong move and you’ll lose your profitable audience.

Not doing enough research

This could be a key reason that a damn funny meme can seriously offend 200k followers. A similar incident happened with DiGiorno Pizza when it posted a Tweet with #WhyIStayed. This hashtag was previously used for supporting victims of domestic abuse.

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Overusing memes

Memes are effective when you use them sparingly and at the right time. Overdoing something isn’t good. Bombarding your audience with memes all the time will bore them and take away all the fun factor. Plus their influence over your audience will be diminished.

Posting without understanding the context

Here is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t be doing meme marketing if you don’t know the backstory. The fast-food chain McDonald’s doesn’t need any introduction. In 2015, the company had to face a lot of embarrassment because it used ‘say no more fam’ barber meme format, which didn’t make any sense. 

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Why would someone meet their barber for lunch? There’s even no punchline making this meme by McDonald’s so confusing.

Ready to do marketing with memes?

The factor that has made meme so famous among people is that it is a source of fun and laughter for them. Funny and humorous stuff is a great way of involving people and creating interactions among them.

All in all, memes can benefit your brands if you use them in the right way. In fact, your followers will look forward to your next post. Memes are a tried-and-true digital marketing tool that can increase brand awareness and let brands drive engagement organically.

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