The word meme coined from a Greek word ‘mimeme’ which means "to imitate". It was first used by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene in 1976. He argued that virality didn’t just apply to infectious diseases, but also to anthropological settings.
He defined a meme as any shareable cultural artifact that spreads through like wildfire. Memes are also considered as cultural analogues to genes as they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.
MEMES - the future of social marketing: Meme marketing is a kind of marketing in which memes from various mediums like word of mouth and social media networks are used to fulfill marketing goals. It is the practice of using users to promote a brand or product by creating appealing, engaging, and fast-spreading news or content.
Millennials spend over 200 minutes online every day.
Memes are so prolific that millennials and Gen Z are laughing and sharing thousands of memes everyday.
This gives brands plenty of opportunities to engage with their audience.
The drawback of traditional brand marketing on social media is that it often has low interaction. People tend to skip over lame, commercialized content and get to their normal proceedings.
Gen Z is very ad-averse. They can smell promotion from a mile away, and they aren’t having any of it. Memes aren’t overly promotional -- they make people laugh with a casual reference to your brand.
How Heinz used MEME marketing:
Heinz is a perfect example of meme creation in action. The condiment brand wanted to increase brand awareness and engagement on its social media. It implemented a meme marketing campaign which earned 4 million impressions with 80k engagements.
Heinz cleverly fed into the timeless debate on tomatoes being a fruit or a vegetable.
They asked people to take sides with hashtags and posted graphics saying, “If you had to decide right now if a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable?”
Meme Jacking :The practice of hijacking popular memes for the benefit of marketing your brand or product is an excellent, simple way to engage established followers while reaching out to a new market.
Benefits of meme-jacking: They’re already established. They draw traffic. We live in a culture that likes to share. They’re practically designed for social media. They couldn’t be easier to create.
When Zomato started a meme trend and others followed it.
Important elements of Meme Marketing:
Be native : It is very important that a digital native is writing and sharing memes from the brand so the lingo is on point. Otherwise, the audience will immediately pick up that the brand is trying too hard to be cool which will ultimately hurts the brand.
Be relatable : It’s guaranteed that only a sliver of the population will understand a meme and it is not going to appeal everyone. So a meme should be directed towards the target audience and should cater to their interests.
Watch the timing : An existing meme should only be used if it is still trendy and if a new meme is created, the cultural climate should be right. Otherwise, it could come off as tone deaf and out of touch.
Meme marketing not only helps brands increase their brand exposure but also drives their marketing goals, be it familiarize the target group with the product or bring traction on site. Meme marketing as against to traditional as are relatively inexpensive, which is why brands are including meme marketing in their core marketing strategy.
But it is not everyone’s cup of tea!
Though Meme Marketing appears to be an easy affair, agencies often struggle with it. The key to it is being relatable, funny and at the same time the brand shouldn’t come off as trying too hard otherwise it can lead to a bad reputation