Using memes in your marketing strategy nails two birds with one stone: firstly, it makes the brand seem relatable and down to earth, secondly, it strikes a humorous chord.
Memes are a cultural shorthand and a great tool for making points efficiently. But they are fleeting; you can’t just use any meme and find success. There are memes of the moment and they must be tailored effectively in order to find success.
The word “meme” was coined by author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who defined it as “an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” The term is not exclusive to the internet and has existed for decades.
You can use memes pretty much in any area of branding, from email templates, social media banners, postcards and T-shirts to flyers, ads and presentations. But using a meme incorrectly can make you look tone-deaf and out of sync so knowing the right way and place to use them is essential. This has to do with branding. Knowing your brand will most certainly help you know which meme is right for your marketing. For example, if you are trying to attract younger users and you offer a variety of products, try a starter pack meme. If you help with services that often create stress or a frenzy, use the “Keep Calm And __” meme etc.
Don’t be worried about using an outdated meme if it really represents your brand well because in demonstrating this authenticity you’re proving that you’re aware of meme culture and are reappropriating this old meme to fit your brand’s narrative. 2000s memes such as the “one does not simply” or the Nyan cat can also tap into nostalgia.
The key goal is to make a joke about your brand. Maybe the joke is that your product is so addictive it’s embarrassing or maybe you’ve had a scandal you don’t want to repeat. The key to using memes in design effectively is self-awareness. If you’re a brand that can pull off memes in design, work with a designer who’s just as meme-savvy as you are to get design that’s an epic win.