Memes as a Marketing Tool

Memes as a Marketing Tool

With the recent hoo-ha about Mediacorp being on the lookout for an official “meme-in-chief”, we know for a fact that memes are not dead. 

If you’ve been around on the Internet long enough, I’m sure you remember the days where Keep Calm and Carry On posters seemed to proliferate every corner. Sure they got on our nerves after a while, but the moment you set your eyes on a copy, you instantly know what it’s about. 

That, my friend, is the beauty of a meme. 

Internet memes usually come in the form of an image, video or piece of text, which is then spread across different social platforms in the digital sphere. 

Memes can convey a shared understanding through the use of pop culture references, which is somewhat like sharing an inside joke. In turn, this creates an immediate dialogue between the sender and the recipient.

Imagine using that power as a brand! What you want is to speak to your audience in a targeted and meaningful way.

With funny content that users find relatable, you can easily gain good engagement in return. Statistics reveal that memes can easily achieve 10 times more reach than other forms of graphic visuals, and enjoy 60% organic engagement as well! Humour really is the road to the hearts of many, but of course, it has to be executed well. Here are some things to note. 

Figure out if memes would work for your brand

This is imperative as memes are generally colloquial and casual in nature, making them appropriate for some brand voices, but not all. 

If your brand typically portrays a high-brow persona, you might want to give memes a miss as they might not resonate well with your audience. On the other hand if your brand’s voice is usually one that is more lighthearted and doesn’t mind a joke, memes could be a great way to highlight that.

Ask yourself this: Is this content that your audience will enjoy? 

Of course, it depends on the tone that you adopt as well. Just because you’re a high fashion label doesn’t mean that memes are out of the question. 

Take a look at this piece of work by Gucci.

Outline your ideal customers

Be it for Millennials, Generations Z, or even Boomers, memes could be a great avenue in capturing their attention. But remember, each of the three grew up with different pop cultural references and understanding. So know who you’re targeting, what they’re into, and tailor your meme well.

You could even segment them based on geographical location. Here are some of our Singapore favourites.

Image from Make a Meme.
Image from SGAG
Image from Must Share News.

Here in Singapore, food truly is our love language. But besides that, these local memes are sure to have drawn out a chuckle or two from Singaporeans when they first made their rounds on the internet.

Craft your message

Next, what message are you trying to convey? Do you wish to show your audience a different side of your brand? Are you promoting a certain product? This will be helpful in setting the direction for the meme and why you’re using a meme in the first place.

Also, a clear indication of what you’re telling your audience helps drive their action as well which would be helpful in better ROIs.

But before that, it is important that your message and the meme it’s paired with make sense together. Nothing calls for a bigger flop than a meme that does not make sense in any context, which brings us to our next point.

Know your memes

Of course, you need to use a meme that’s current. Using an outdated meme could easily cause your plan to backfire and create the impression of your brand being too try-hard! It’s important to know the cultural references behind the meme and see if your message fits.

Depending on the context, you can even come up with your own material. Some brands may have the capacity to generate memes of their own.

Netflix does an excellent job at turning their own content into memes that their users will find humorous and relatable.

Image from NetflixUK.

Ultimately, memes are a great vehicle for engaging potential customers and boosting exposure! Capitalise on the shared understanding in pop culture and make casual references to your brand to avoid coming off as overly strong or overly bland!

They can be powerful marketing tools used to win over the hearts of your audience, and it’s a win since they are inexpensive too!

Written By

Yukie Miyazaki

With a keen interest in visual communication, Yukie believes in weaving strategies and narratives together to create special experiences for people. She spends most of her time producing social media content with Clickr, and she hopes to be able to dip her toes into other creative mediums in the future. Outside of work, she also enjoys illustrating and animating to bring bizarre ideas to life.