Memes are native on social media platforms. They are funny, entertaining, and easy to consume. But there is more to them than meets the eye. Marketing with memes is an understated trend that’s quickly becoming popular.
This practice led to the birth of a new term: meme-jacking. When marketers hijack popular memes to market their products, it’s called meme-jacking.
Meme-jacking is becoming increasingly popular because it’s an excellent way to share refreshing content that has the potential to go viral. Just think about it, who doesn’t like a good meme?
How Are Brands Using Memes for Marketing?
An average person spends an hour and a half every day on social media. And memes are the language in which people on social media communicate new ideas and attitudes.
So, it’s not surprising that memes have become a cultural phenomenon. Grumpy Cat, Good Guy Greg (GGG), and LOLcats all have one thing in common — they’re all meme characters that are now a part of internet pop culture. They’ve been used in different ways to spread various ideas.
Marketing with memes can breathe new life into your social media strategy. Memes are highly visual, making them a great tool to create social media fodder.
The best part is you can simply take a concept that is already gaining traction and piggyback on its popularity. With memes, there is no such thing as plagiarism.
Creating memes gets simpler with image editor and animation maker tools such as PixTeller. This design tool allows you to create animated GIFs, quote pictures, and video stories with easy-to-use templates.
You can capitalize on a trending meme and customize it with your branded content to engage your target consumers.
With the least amount of effort, your shareworthy memes can get you likes, shares, and comments. When you post them on your blog, you can reap the benefits of increased inbound links and website traffic as well.
No wonder brands are jumping in on the meme marketing bandwagon.
Are you looking for real-life examples?
Here are a few brands that have been marketing with memes:
Gucci is a luxury fashion brand that’s built an image around sophistication and grace. But for their 2017 #TFWGucci campaign, they decided to shatter all preconceptions about their brand. With memes, they showed their target audience that they could be hip.
What was their #TFWGucci campaign all about?
#TFWGucci, which is short for “That Feeling When Gucci,” was a campaign designed to promote their new line of watches.
Image via Instagram
In a series of relatable memes, Gucci used memes that ranged from absurd to hilarious. They created all of the memes in collaboration with artists from around the world.
The landing page for the campaign even featured an explainer video on the history of memes for those who were new to the concept. The descriptive captions paired with edgy graphics gave Gucci a refreshing brand makeover.
Seamless, the popular online food delivery service in the U.S. often uses humor on social media to connect with their audience.
In 2014, they came up with a creative concept for marketing with memes. They ideated a series of memes based on nominations for Academy Awards. Called the #OscarNomNoms, Seamless’ meme-series created quite a stir on Twitter.
Image via Twitter
They re-imagined and designed movie posters to include some crazy food puns. American Hustle became “American Muzzles,” while The Wolf of Wall Street became “The Wolf of Waffle Street.”
What were the results of the campaign?
Needless to say, the #OscarNomNom series won the internet. Their memes went viral for two reasons — timeliness and good puns.
The Academy Award nominations were just announced, so obviously, there was a lot of curiosity around them. By leveraging a popular trend, Seamless was able to position themselves as a brand that could make people laugh.
New York-based subscription service, BarkBox, has over 600,000 monthly subscribers for their dog products and services. The one thing that their target audience has in common is their love for dogs.
Image via Instagram
BarkBox recognized this and they leveraged dog memes to engage their audience. Instead of promoting their products, they use memes to bring the whole community of pet lovers together.
Because of the relatability of their memes, their followers often tag their friends and comment on the posts.
Tips for Marketing with Memes
You’ve seen what meme marketing looks like. But how do you go about creating memes for marketing? It’s not rocket science.
There are no set of rules to be followed. But you need to keep a few things in mind while creating memes for marketing:
1. Know Your Audience
Just like any other social media marketing strategy, the first step to creating good memes is to understand your audience.
So, for example, if your brand is targeting millennials, you could create memes around things that they are interested in.
While marketing with memes, brands need to find a fine balance between promotion and engagement. BarkBox’s marketing campaign got the combination just right.
Image via Twitter
For instance, Apple TV’s audience is interested in movies. So, many of their memes on Twitter have movie references that will resonate with their audience.
2. Add Originality to Popular Memes
Sure, you want to engage your audience by giving them a few good laughs. At the same time, don’t forget that you are marketing with memes. You need to work to increase your brand awareness.
Everyone on the internet is already sharing memes. So, to stand out, you’ll have to put in some effort. Instead of just reposting the latest memes, get creative with them.
How can you capitalize on trending memes for marketing purposes?
Understand what the meme implies and try to think of ways to align it with your brand or products. You could incorporate your brand’s slogan, name, mission, or simply a picture into the meme for branding purposes.
Ruffles, for example, often weaves their brand name into memes that are going viral. This type of meme-jacking can help your brand become more memorable.
Image via Twitter
3. Keep Up with What’s Trending
Timeliness is a crucial factor when you’re marketing with memes.
You should watch out for Twitter and Facebook trends to find out what people are talking about. If you can manage to create a meme based on the most popular trends at the right time, your meme is more likely to go viral.
American restaurant chain, Denny’s, is known for having a quirky sense of humor. When Apple launched their new Mac Pro, netizens were discussing how it looked similar to a cheese grater. Continuing the chain of jokes, Denny’s came up with a meme on the same topic.
Image via Twitter
That’s all there is to remember when you’re making memes for marketing. Just make sure you resist the temptation to go overboard.
Publish memes sparingly for marketing. Posting a marketing meme every day can make it seem like you’re trying too hard to get the attention of your audience.
Ready to Use Memes for Brand Promotions?
Marketing with memes can be a great way to promote your brand without coming across as too salesy. They’re relatable, cheap to produce, and can increase your brand visibility and engagement.
All you need is to follow the latest trends and understand what your audience finds funny. You can use design tools to add your brand’s name, slogan, or product in the trending memes.
In which other ways can you gain traction by marketing with memes? Please share your views in the comments section below.