Today, businesses recognize the immense marketing potential in memes and often include it in their branding strategies across social media to engage their followers. And there is a good reason for that. According to a YPulse study, 75% of millennials share memes, and 38% follow meme accounts on social media.
If you’re also looking to inculcate meme marketing into your brand’s marketing strategy for 2021, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve put together this post on meme-based marketing where we’ll cover:
- What is a meme and what is meme marketing?
- How can marketers and brands use memes?
- Meme marketing examples: How are brands implementing meme marketing
- BONUS: a super cool hack to create memes in less than 10 minutes!
A meme is a catchphrase, joke, or concept usually derived from some aspect of popular culture, like a TV show or movie. The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 when he stated that an idea could spread and take hold in popular culture just like genes can multiply.
A meme was typically an image but it can also be a video or just plain text. Funny marketing memes can take different formats depending on the joke in question and are often used as responses in conversations online.
Here’s a famous digital marketing meme example that gives you an idea of how memes are used in digital marketing (SEO marketers will agree!)
As memes became popular, brands started using them to promote themselves, and that’s how meme marketing came into existence, owing to a meme’s ability to be super relatable and communicate feelings, attitudes and situations super effectively.
One brand that has a strong meme marketing reputation is Netflix. Their social media marketing memes are instantly relatable. At a time when we don’t want to see only branded content on our feed, memes are an opportunity for brands to engage with their audience. And there couldn’t be a better example than Netflix meme marketing.
Whether you are an online marketing agency creating advertising memes for your clients or a marketer looking for how to create branding memes for your product/company’s marketing, this section will give you a headstart on how you can potentially look to leverage memes in your marketing plans.
While there are no rules to be followed, keep in mind the following points while marketing through memes.
1. Identify what your brand is about
As with any social media strategy, memes need to reflect your brand's core values and messaging for it to work.
If your brand is all about friendliness and warmth, then a meme with crude humor is likely to confuse your audience members and go down poorly with them. Therefore, personalize your memes to deliver content that suits your target audience. Thus, meme marketing research involves understanding your audience as the first step.
Gucci, for instance, used a Renaissance painting to make this viral meme that also embodied the luxury and good taste that Gucci represents.
Gucci started using memes in their marketing in 2017, and they even decided on a particular hashtag, "TFWGucci," wherein TFW stands for "The Feeling When."
2. Be relatable
The memes you pick need to reflect a universally popular joke or a deeply relatable situation. If your target audience members cannot relate to the context, they would not engage with you, and it also might blow up your reputation.
A case in point is this example from Apple TV which is one of the best meme marketing examples for 2021. AppleTV’s use of a pop culture reference from the movie No Country For Old Men is relatable and witty for their audience that is interested in movies.
3. Create proper buyer personas for memes
Monitor conversations that happen online related to your brand or business niche. Give your ideal customer a name, age, interests, and possibly a backstory. This vital information can help you strategize your marketing plans for success. Plus, when you know what your target audience is like, you will choose better memes for digital platforms.
Let’s take the example of the food delivery platform Zomato. Their social media team nails marketing with memes. Here’s a meme marketing example posted on their Twitter feed, something that their target audience (users between the age group 15-45) can relate to.
4. Personalize the most trending memes
One of the best ways to go viral quickly is to use memes related to a current event (also called memejacking) that has garnered universal interest. KFC, for instance, hopped on the famous "Bird Box" meme bandwagon around the time of the film's release on Netflix by depicting Sandra Bullock with a bucket of chicken as she fights for survival.
Its caption read, "The only #BirdBox you need." That is the level of personalization you must aim to have for in your memes. Alternatively, you can personalize your sales emails or any other internal communications with such custom memes too.
5. Add originality to popular memes
Instead of merely reposting a popular meme, weave your brand's slogan, mission, or product values into the text for a touch of originality. This not only generates a few extra laughs but also works for your brand recognition.
Fast-food brand Ruffles does this cleverly, as seen in this meme. It gives a modern twist to its offering with the help of an old photo.
6. Time your memes well
Quite often, memes have a short lifespan because they work around an event that not many people know about. To maximize your chances of going viral, do your research on how popular a meme currently is.
An example of well-timed memes in advertising on Instagram is from The Beard Club. For Christmas, they used two images to showcase a common situation – that we all had a challenging 2020.
So to be ahead of the curve and on top of the trending meme examples, stay abreast with the latest news, and follow meme accounts such as Sarcasm Only, Epic Funny Page, LadBible, and LMAO on Instagram.
By now, you know that using memes in marketing is all about creating engagement and making users feel they’re a part of a community. This means it is a way of developing a sense of belonging.
For a genuine dose of inspiration, here are some meme marketing examples from top brands that we loved:
1. Memes in blog posts
By now, you know how important images are to your blog posts and your content marketing, as they make your content easier to digest for readers. Also, they’ve proven to improve SEO rankings.
Besides making your blog posts more visually engaging, memes contribute to the tone of your brand’s voice, serving as a differentiator. Here’s how we have used memes in our recent blog post to keep the content interesting and relatable for our audience.
Another example is the rewards and recognition platform Xoxoday Plum which uses content marketing memes to show their audiences their use case - which is why organizations should let employees choose their own gifts from their global catalog of 2,000+ options instead of choosing a standardised gift for all of them.
2. Memes in email marketing
While emails remain the most effective digital marketing channels, it is a great place to use memes. Given that the first challenge in building an email list is to get your subscribers to actually open your email, the next step is to hold your audience’s attention.
The best marketing memes can make your email more visually attractive, and as memes have a relatively smaller file size, they are great to add to your emails. Here’s an example of how Quuu uses memes in their email marketing.
You can use memes to promote a sale, special offer, or announce an event via your emails.
The brand - Function of Beauty sells customizable skin, hair and beauty products by visually recreating their social media look and feel in emails as well with funny memes. Here’s an example of this:
3. Memes in social media marketing
Branded content could fall flat on younger audiences, and that’s where online marketing memes can give your younger followers the feeling that you genuinely understand their perspective.
Here, this meme by Chipotle is brilliant on a whole new level. This funny advertising meme is unique in many ways. Firstly, they have a meme from their product by adding some emojis. This teaches us that you don’t always need to add an outside picture when you can put your own product in the spotlight creatively.
Second- the text in the meme is on point. It gives a clear message that you can eat Chipotle even when you’re broke - it is affordable.
When you know for a fact that connecting with your audiences on social media is the best way to grow your business and following, publishing memes for social media marketing can help you foster the meaningful connections you are aiming for.
Epic Read is another example of a brand that posts super fun memes on Facebook. What sets their meme marketing game apart is that their memes are super specific to their target audience of book readers. How well can you relate to a meme like this?
Along with the relevance, they’ve played the branding game well. The beige and orange colors in the background are a part of Epic Read’s color palette.
The biggest bottleneck that marketers may face when it comes to meme marketing is finding the latest trends and jumping on them. That’s why we are sharing with you this super cool hack that will allow you to create the latest memes for your business or brand in less than 10 minutes.
Whether you are just starting out with creating memes or a seasoned professional, InVideo is the perfect meme generator for you. Our plug-and-play templates are ready to use and up-to-date with the latest viral trends on the internet. With our meme generator, you don’t have to scout the web for templates or images and our templates are completely customizable as per your brand’s needs.
You can create a meme using InVideo in 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Log in or sign up for an account on InVideo.
Step 2: Type memes in the search bar or if you have a meme in mind, like ‘grumpy cat’ then you can type that too. Choose the template and preferred size you want for your meme.
Step 3: You can edit the text on this meme video, add a logo, music and even a voice over.
Step 4: Once you’re happy with how your meme looks, click on the download button on the top right of your screen. Your meme video will be downloaded and is now ready to upload anywhere.
Wasn’t that simple?
Now that you know how memes work and how you can use them in your marketing campaign, it is time for you to start creating your own memes.
If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends and colleagues and make sure you check out this Meme guide that’ll help you further deep-dive into meme marketing.
And if you have any questions or want to keep the conversation going, head over to InVideo’s community where you can learn from 25,000 other marketers and video creators like you.