Memes have been unanimously chosen as the language of the internet – spreading like wildfire across the infinitely many social media channels. The term has its roots in Ancient Greek, however its modern coinage stems from Richard Dawkins, who defined it as “that which is imitated.” From politics, cinema to global finance, literature and everything in between – more and more conversations are being consumed into the familiar templates of memes.

This evidently high disposition towards virality, relevance, and recall value has exposed memes as a suitable tool for brands to market themselves. Similarly, for audiences growing increasingly distrustful of superficial and insistent marketing methods, memes can lend a sense of familiarity and humour essential in creating engagement. 

As an idea, meme marketing is bulletproof – relatable, funny, and crisp – the ideal triple threat. However, executing this simple notion can be quite the challenge. Despite the universal appreciation for the format, misplaced attempts have often backfired quite strongly onto brands. Chevrolet’s botched attempt at a relatable press release comes to mind, where the entire message was written in emojis. Even at the height of emoji popularity, this painfully lacklustre attempt was greeted with endless trolling – effectively demonstrating the vulnerability of poor meme marketing.

To keep your strategies from going downhill, here are some things that marketers should keep in mind while pursuing meme marketing –

    1. Know your Meme: Firstly, in order to select a suitable Meme for your brand, know your memes well. Now of course no one can know every single meme out there, but keep up with the trending ones, try to understand the meaning and the tone of the meme. Do not try too hard and take your brand aboard on a meme which doesn’t resonate with your brand.
    2. Know Yourself: The meme should match your Brand’s Voice. Try to sketch out your brand’s tonality, the way you want your brand to be perceived in the eyes of your target audience and then select the appropriate meme. The best way to do so is to put yourself in the audience’s shoes and then view the respective content and see what you think of the brand after seeing this meme. If it matches what you want to portray, then give yourself a pat and keep the job going.
    3. Keep up with the Trends: Take part in the trending meme challenges and trending reels: Keeping up with the trend is extremely important and taking part in trendy stuff will gain you brownie points for your brand. A dynamic and topical element of pop-culture fever – ensure proper research to keep track of the meme climate before you embark upon your stratagem. One of the good examples here would be Kaya Skin Clinic doing the Ten-Year Challenge where they showed how the brand looked 10 years ago versus now. Another good example would be the recent Met Gala Kim Kardashian Meme. Zoom smartly Kept Up with The Trend (Kardashians).
    4. Be different: It’s not always about following the trends. You can allow your brand to be a trend-setter just as easily. Starting a trend might sound tricky, which it certainly is, but it’s not quite impossible. The simple steps include vigilantly tracking present trends; as this will allow you to detect what type of content is likely to go viral. Once you have studied other campaigns, and filtered it down to the bras stacks – designing an unique and engaging strategy will become as clear as water. As long as you keep it real, funny, crisp, and entertaining; there is nothing to worry about.

      A truly incredible meme marketing success story turned up from one of the least expected of places – Italian luxury fashion house, Gucci. The world of haute couture had been quite slow at adapting to the new channels of communication, especially with the internet’s intense preoccupation of memes.However, a fresh wave washed over the industry as a brand as prestigious as Gucci gladly dabbled in the artistry of memeing. A total of 30 memes were posted, promoting a series of Gucci accessories through a variety of popular meme templates – collectively titled the #TFWGucci (That Feeling When) campaign. A feat never performed before – the memes fared surprisingly well amongst their audience. Attributed to the fact that it didn’t feel promotional and yet had Gucci’s own prestigious twist on them. The fashion moghuls managed to pull off the incredible balance of pairing tradition with present-day adaptations -choosing to embrace than fight their own quirkiness. With a multi-billion dollar luxury brand managing to stay en vogue with their memes, it is a gentle reminder for brands and agencies to know which way the wind blows.
      And with these simple yet essential axioms established, go ahead and make the world with the wonders of meme marketing catered to your brand and your audience. Adieu, and cheerio!