The word ‘meme’ was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 in his book named ‘The Selfish Gene’. Memes are defined as an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.
Or in simple terms, a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.
It's tough to trace when memes first started being used marketing. Before memes, though, we had challenges. Like Kylie Jenner's Lip Challenge, the Ice-Bucket Challenge, the Salt and Ice Challenge, and so on.
What does this mean for a business? Combining experiential marketing with slacktivism is the new trend.
Here are 2 memes we've used in our business. The first is one our Head of Growth, Nabeel Azeez, uses on his Facebook wall:
If memes are modern day masterpieces, then Ka5sh just might be this generation's greatest artist. There's no better currency for cool these days than being on top of the latest memes. But those little bits of viral content have to start somewhere, and that's where Ka5sh comes into the picture. You've probably shared or laughed at his work without even knowing it. Unless of course you did know it was his because you're right on the pulse of the latest memes. - Luke Brown, for Pop Crush
Here's a Ka5sh meme, commissioned by record label Mad Decent:
Before incorporating memes in your content see whether they fit with your target audience. Are they more likely to understand your reference or will it fall on deaf ears? Consider the brand image you want to convey as well. Is your brand playful and energetic? Then memes may work for you but if your brand is traditional then memes could work against your brand image.
Millennials appreciate a well thought out meme by brands and it has worked in favor of many brands such as Denny’s but don’t try too hard to be accepted, memes are for a niche market after all.
One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is posting their meme a little too late, it makes a world of difference because of the nature of content. Memes are dynamic, and it can only stay relevant if you post it while it’s trending.
It’s a hit or miss
Gucci tried to implement memes in their new campaign and while it was refreshing and comically funny, it strayed away from its luxury image. Knowing your brand and your demography is vital.
Meme marketing can be tricky, may not be well received, doesn’t work with all brands, AND there’s no guarantee that it will achieve any of the marketing objectives you’ve laid out. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying them. Done right, you get massive engagement for very little work.
Here are a few additional tips so you don't do a Pepsi and end up with a PR disaster on your hands:
Don’t overdo it and use a single type of meme, your audience will get tired of it.
Don’t include a sales pitch or a tagline, it’ll come off as overtly promotional and cringy, make sure the content has entertainment value.
Do attach social buttons to increase shareability.
Do measure the success of your memes: and post a follow-up
Your meme should be simple enough for people to get it without further explanation.
Make sure you don’t sound too offensive with your memes, keep it lighthearted.
One more thing before you go
Once you have a deep and detailed understanding of your target audience, the decisions you make will be more clear.
And with digital marketing, clarity is #1 because confused prospectsdo not buy.
That's why I've created a FREE guide for you called, "creating buyer personas for business."
Not only will you get the guide, you also get templates you can use to start building your personas immediately.