I want to start this blog by pointing out that the word “meme” is pronounced “meam”, not “meemee.” Seriously, there’s nothing that makes my internet-obsessed Millennial eyes roll more.
Okay, so now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s begin. You’ve probably heard the term “meme” tossed around by those who engage online (which is almost everyone), but maybe you’re still unclear as to what a meme actually is. According to trusty Dictionary.com, a meme is defined as “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.” Maybe it’s easier if I just show you:
So yeah, a meme is a triumphant toddler, that ridiculous dance move that resembles a powerful sneeze, and all the other pieces of media you see repeatedly pop up on your Facebook newsfeed. Seems silly, right? Maybe. But didn’t smartphones and Snapchat seem silly in their early stages, too? Memes have become a part of internet culture, so naturally, it makes sense for marketers to incorporate them into marketing strategy. But why are memes so popular, and how can they be used effectively in advertising?
- Easy to consume. Memes are a picture with a line or two of text, a 6-second video clip, or another form of quick, instantly-gratifying media. Millennials are known to have short attention spans, and memes provide value in a very short amount of time.
- Inclusive. Memes create a sense of community by making people feel like they’re “in” on something that others may not be. People connect with one another when they understand and enjoy the same references as others.
- Funny. Memes are rooted in humor- simple as that. Who doesn’t like to laugh?
- Shareable. Memes are intended to be shared, and are done so easily. A simple copy/paste, retweet, etc. allows internet users to immediately share a meme and start a conversation with others.
Memes have the potential to add value to your business because they add value to consumers. But be careful, using memes in marketing doesn’t make sense for everyone. Before you head to memegenerator.net or play around in Photoshop, ask these questions about your target audience:
- Are they present online? If your audience isn’t active on the Internet, then memes are definitely not for you.
- What kind of content do they engage with? Memes generally resonate with younger audiences who don’t want to spend a ton of time or effort engaging with your brand.
- What do they think is funny? Memes require viewers to enjoy a certain kind of humor in order to appreciate them. Some memes are light-hearted, others are dark and borderline offensive, and some are popular because they just don’t make any sense. (2016, what a time to be alive, right?) Get to know the interests and personalities of your target, and use memes accordingly.
If you’re still not on board with the meme craze, realize that memes are popping up in marketing strategy outside of the Internet. Memes are being utilized on billboards, print materials, and even in radio. I’m the first to admit that Internet culture is a strange part of modern life, but if the people want memes, that’s what they’ll get! For both traditional and digital meme-filled marketing services, contact the experts at Transformation!