The first meme that was ever made was in the 1940s1. But they weren’t as popular at that time.
The rise in the popularity of memes started back in the 2000s when popular social media platforms started gaining audiences who posted memes.
These platforms contributed significantly to developing the meme culture2. This further led to the development of a new form of marketing known as meme marketing.
I am going to share all about that in this blog and some meme marketing tips.
Table of Contents
What is Meme Marketing?
A meme is a type of digital content that may be a joke or catchphrase which is used in a humorous sense. A meme is shared online through various social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc.
Meme marketing is a form of social media marketing wherein brands (businesses as well as personal) use advertising memes to market their products, services, and personal brands.
You will be amused to know that almost all prominent brands like Gucci, Prada, Netflix, Upwork, KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Durex, Swiggy often use digital marketing memes.
Several personal brands like Sagarcasm, Mehul Fanawala (Meme Man), Khaby, Meme Central, All India Memes, Sarcasm Only, RCVJ Media, The Educated Moron, The Engineer Bro, etc have grown exponentially with the help of meme marketing.
For example, Netflix's original film Birdbox was viewed by 45,037,125 accounts.
The platform’s Birdbox campaign was based mainly on memes, which led to a record viewership for the first seven days of any Netflix original film.
The rivalry between McDonald’s and Burger King is one of the most famous meme marketing examples. Both of these brands often engage in social media banter through various forms of marketing including memes.
In India, Amul has been a pioneer of meme marketing. They are highly popular for their topical marketing based on current events.
Amul’s marketing team doesn’t hold back from talking about any significant event. The genius behind their marketing is that they do it with a humorous manner and yet perfectly deliver the message to the world.
Why Do Brands Need Meme Marketing?
It is high time that companies started taking memes seriously because they have several advantages that can help one to build the brand.
Let us see what they are.
1. Memes Are Engaging
The stats show that we spend an average of 2 hours on social media. Most of this time is used for entertainment purposes like videos, jokes, or memes.
If you share a good meme then you’re guaranteed impressions, likes, shares, retweets, and heavy brand interactions.
Almost 54% of gen-Z users, 41% of Millennials, and 21% of the gen-X audience love memes.
2. They Are Relatable
Brands have realized that they need to engage with the audience in a casual tone to gain more customers.
They do this with the help of memes. We find brands to be more human and less robotic when we see them posting memes that are related to our life.
We identify more with those brands that are humorous and use a casual tone to communicate. We think of these brands as being livelier and thus prefer to buy from these brands rather than the ones with robots behind the keyboards.
What do memes mean for us?
3. Memes Are Cost-effective
Another reason brands create memes is that they are highly cost-effective. All you need is an internet connection and a sense of humor.
You don’t need to buy any premium software or applications to create a meme. There are hundreds of free websites that allow one to create memes through custom-ready templates.
Although, as a brand, you would definitely want to deliver quality memes. This is why brands hire a meme marketer so that they can develop quality memes for effective marketing.
Investment in memes is negligible but the returns that they give are phenomenal.
4. They Have Great Reach
A marketer dreams of creating content that will spread like wildfire and will reach everyone in their audience. The only thing that brands want is to go viral.
Some brands find memes to be so effective that they don’t even hesitate to make them themselves.
A brand making meme at their own expense showcases the human side of these brands which we love. This is why these kinds of memes affect us more than anything else.
In comparison to other modes of marketing, memes have about 10 times more reach with 60% percent organic engagement.
So, do you still doubt the effectiveness of memes?
Tips for Effective Meme Marketing
Although meme marketing may seem a reasonably easy task, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind in order to create highly effective advertising memes.
1. Ensure Good Timing
Just like comedy, timing is the key in meme marketing as well. A meme has to be delivered at an appropriate time. As a brand, you should always know about social media trends, and current events and try to capitalize on them.
If you create a meme on viral trends, then it is highly likely that you will get far more reach than the normal scenario.
For example: Zomato’s Instagram and Twitter marketing mainly comprises memes on viral trends and current events.
Durex’s marketing strategy has mainly focused on humorous content as well. They “very gently” yet cautiously make memes related to their brand and their product.
2. Keep Them Simple
You should create memes that are simple. Customers will only engage with your memes if they are easy to understand. Complex memes will not be relatable to everybody and thus lead to a decline in reach.
Simplicity increases the effectiveness of memes. While creating a meme, always remember to use only those materials that people come across every day. Creating meme content on non-relatable material will render memes ineffective.
For example, McDonald’s UK 2015 “say no more fam” meme was a total disaster because it left people confused.
3. Avoid Negativity
People engage with memes because they are funny and make people happy. As a brand, you should always try to avoid negativity in memes because it will leave your audience in despair. This will in turn lead to them not engaging with your brand.
For example: Pepe the frog meme went viral for all the wrong reasons including racism, and brands who posted memes on that had to pay the price.
Frequently Asked Questions About Meme Marketing
Since this is a fairly new concept, I know there might be a lot of questions in your head.
Should all brands practice meme marketing?
Yes, companies, businesses, startups and personal brands should use meme marketing.
Some prominent brands include Gucci, Prada, Netflix, Upwork, KFC, McDonald’s and Swiggy. Personal brands such as Sagarcasm, Mehul Fanawala (Meme Man), Khaby, Meme Central, All India Memes, Sarcasm Only, RCVJ Media and the likes.
What tools should I use to make memes?
You don’t need to buy any premium software or applications to create a meme.
There are hundreds of free websites, like Memeterest, Indian Meme Templates, Tenor that allow one to create memes through custom-ready templates.
What are some tips for new meme marketers?
Just keep these in mind:
- Ensure Good Timing
- Keep Them Simple
- Avoid Negativity
Are memes here to stay?
Memes are something that will never go out of style because they keep changing every day.
Memes, as a piece of content, are something that will never go out of style because they keep changing every day. Brands have the opportunity to create new content every day and create engagement.
It is one of the easiest forms of marketing, but only when it’s done with caution and by keeping consumer psychology in mind.
A single mistake in apprehending the meme can lead to huge blunders from which brands may or may not recover. This is why it is pivotal for you to put proper thought into the process of developing meme marketing campaigns. Don’t worry, we have covered you with all the aspects of digital marketing.
Tell us in the comment box about what your favorite memes are. And, which company do you think is killing it in the meme marketing segment?