Meme culture has transcended the niche realm of online communities and seeped into the marketing playbooks of brands across all industries.
If you don’t understand what memes are (we’re looking at you, Boomers), they are essentially ideas or jokes that become viral throughout the digital world because, in some way or another, they strike a common chord with users.
Memes have become the vehicle for which we express ourselves and feel understood by people that we otherwise would have never known shared similar experiences to us. At times, memes go as far as feeling like the glue that’s holding us all together.
Brands like Target, Wendy’s, and Denny’s are notorious for successfully harnessing the power and relatability of memes to speak to new generations of consumers — most notably Millennials and Gen Z.
Brands who understand the power that Millenial and Gen Z buyer habits hold in reshaping the economy have started looking for ways to leverage meme culture’s virality to grow their audiences.
So You Want to Try Meme Marketing?
Brands brave enough to incorporate meme marketing have to be wary of seeming insincere, or risk being at the mercy of brutal Gen Z-ers who can smell a sales pitch from a mile away.
The key lies in creating content that resonates with these generations, not content that they can poke holes in and ostracize for “trying too hard” and coming off like a lame attempt at being funny.
Brands like Wendy’s who constantly use Twitter as a way of pushing funny, relatable content are an example of executing meme marketing effectively. Wendy’s also has the advantage of being a large enough company to have the freedom to assume the risk of a meme possibly backfiring.
Brands with a smaller reach might choose to partner with meme accounts that can help them create relevant memes and strategically push them as sponsored content.
“Tag a friend that does this” and “DM this to your squad” are common phrases seen on captions across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by accounts that exist to create and promote memes. Reputable meme pages like @MemeZar and @donny.drama have millions of followers, making them prime partners for brands to push sponsored meme content through.
Memes are elusive; no one really knows why they take off. The most important thing to remember about memes is that they can fade into obscurity just as quickly as they became viral. This is why meme marketing, although effective if executed properly, shouldn’t be relied on as a blanketed strategy.
Instead, brands should focus on learning how to communicate with their audience through sustainable outreach methods that work for their brand.
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