Memes are extremely popular because they are simple to create and easy to share. They have become one of the most prevalent trends since the start of the internet culture, and their ability to capture an audience’s attention and attain better recall has brands latching onto them.
According to Forbes, 55% of 13- to 35-year-olds send memes every week and 30% send them every day. They also observed that “over 10 million meme interactions [take place] across a variety of topics, interests and user demographics… an average millennial looks at 20 to 30 memes every day.” A notable example of the power of memes, as analysed by Entrepreneur, came from the somewhat controversial Bird Box Challenge, and related trends, arising from Netflix film Bird Box, which quickly triggered a social media trend.
Here are some reasons why memes are so effective.
• Memes Have Humour: Adding humour to your advertising strategy will attract the attention of your audience as well as entertain and make an impression on them
• Memes Are Retable and Engaging: People love them because they relate to real-life situations. The mixture of relatability and creativity catches eyeballs and helps spread the brand’s message to a wider audience.
• Memes Are a Soft Sell: Consumers have become savvy when it comes to online advertising and have learnt to ignore it. Marketing messages that include hard sells and offers usually receive very low engagement, if any. Memes, however, allow brands to use humour, hot topics, entertainment and inspirational messages as a way to engage attention and amplify the brand message organically. Memes are made for social media – easy to consume and easy to share, and their high-engagement levels are due to the fact that audiences do not feel they are liking, commenting and sharing an ad – they just see it as a meme/entertainment.
• Memes Can Make Brands Appear More Exciting: Ketchup is a popular condiment that is likely to be in most refrigerators across the country. However, would you want to comment or share a social media post that featured a bottle of ketchup and a call to action to save 50 paisa on your next bottle? Nope. Heinz recently released a meme-focused social media campaign with the goal of generating one million impressions. The meme played off the fruit versus vegetable debate about tomatoes and asked the audience to chime in by using the campaign hashtags. The brand generated more than four million impressions and 80,000 engagements across Instagram and Facebook.
• Memes Allow You to Spread the Brand Vison Ethos and Evoke an Emotional Connection: Using inspirational memes relevant to your business and its vision, and using visually engaging images, can really get the message out there and ‘paint a picture’ of the brand’s values, vision and story. Creating an instant emotional response in your customer will almost certainly make your meme and your business memorable to them.
Here are some ways you can make your brand page more relatable without it looking too much like a meme page.
1. Create Personas That Match Your Brand Personality
Analyse the age, gender and interests of your customers; segment them into categories and develop a persona related to them. Use those personas to create relatable content. This will add character to your brand.
2. Personalise The Memes According to Your Brand
The best way is to use trending memes and link them to your brand and your audiences’ interests. You could even add irony to realistic situations your audience may face in daily life.
3. Be Logical and Direct
Create memes with minimal text. Be direct about what you want your audience to perceive. Keep the designs attractive. And don’t look like you are trying too hard.
4. Make Them Super Relatable
The basic rule is not to create unrealistic memes that will compromise their effectiveness.
5. Do Your Research
Do an analysis of your current audience and the audiences you plan on targeting and the meme you are using in terms of context. In other words, choose the right meme for your brand.
So let’s get meme-ing!
Sumaira Mirza is Creative Director, Ogilvy Pakistan.