Pronounced ‘maymay’ and found almost anywhere on the internet, is the phenomenon of ‘meme’. From cats in unusual positions, deliberately poor hand drawings to dogs on phones, the meme has popularity beyond belief, a massive audience, and even sites specifically dedicated to people’s latest attempts at silly humour (4chan.org).
But how can you utilise this internet craze to market your business?
1. Make sure that your meme is relevant to your audience. Knowing that the general meme audience is around 35 years and under, means it probably isn’t the best idea to use memes if you don’t have a demographic which includes that age group. Discover what your audience find useful, and why they would want to share your content. When you know these answers, begin creating!
2. As your meme develops and becomes more popular, make sure that you are there watching it and monitoring its changes as it goes. You can gain feedback from comments, likes, Youtube plays, and blog posts, to help you understand where to take your meme in the future!
3. Make sure all your outlets are shareable. If you want your meme to go viral and global, you need to give indiviuals the ability to modify, share and change your meme. Consider sharing it on all your social networks, and even more nice sites including Reddit.
4. Although your meme may be unrecognisable from its original form only months after its release, the use of it will still promote your brand, so whether or not you fully approve of the developments, share it, and give special attention to those who love and share your meme most.
5. You need to adapt to survive. Release more versions of your meme on the internet, taking into account the feedback you have been given to keep it fresh and exciting. The internet is so fast moving that individuals may love your meme now, but will have forgotten it by next week, so keep on top of its useage!
6. Hijacking an existing meme is an idea that a number of companies have already adopted. It can be really successful too, if done creatively enough. Shrek hijacked the Old Spice meme with a scene from their latest spin off “Puss in Boots” and Virgin Media used the ever popular “Success Kid” for a range of adverts for their internet and TV packages.
7. Meme’s adapt and change over time, and given the freedom of speech that the internet provides, you can’t control what individuals will do with it. For this reason, relax and let it happen, embrace the changes (however scary they may seem) showing that your business has a sense of humour and is down to earth!
Here are some examples of how brands have used memes for their marketing campaigns effectively!
Online gaming community World of War Craft, used the popular meme regarding epic ‘facts’ about Chuck Norris. If you have ever heard a ridiculous fact about the action hero, you will have inadvertently been involved in the meme. The ridiculous facts include gems such as “Chuck Norris can be divided by zero” and “Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch, he decides what time it is”. The World of Warcraft advert used the phrase “There are 10 million people in the World of Warcraft because Chuck Norris allows them to live”. A direct throw back to the original meme.
Virgin Media hijacked a popular meme called the “Success Kid”. “Success Kid” began life as a holiday snap uploaded to Flickr of an 11 month old holding a fist full of sand. Virgin Media took this meme offline and used it on billboards around the country and found great success! Not only is the meme recognised by many, but the picture is also very cute so appeals to everyone!
SEOmoz adopted “The Most Interesting Man in the World” meme when they recently received a large amount of VC funding. Instead of the traditional press release sent out to media around the world, SEOmoz produced the meme, which was seen as creative and interesting, and received a lot more press coverage for its unique approach than a standard press release.
Memes are becoming increasingly important to online and offline marketing communication, seemingly penetrating more and more areas of our lives and are definitely here to stay! They epitomise viral existence and its fleeting nature, with examples changing from major popularity to nothing in a matter of weeks! But used well, by clever brands, they can increase sales, get brands talked about, and bring profits even if it’s just for a short while…
If you decide to adopt memes for your business, let us know how it goes!