We let the facts do the talking.

How memes could be used by a brand

Sharing is caring… and profitable.

Shareable content is everything in the digital age. Establishing brand loyalists and increasing customer retention doesn’t depend solely on the product — it’s about communication.

Building on the digital age timeline, let’s get real about brands and their online presence. Creating shareable content is key to being noticed in this day and age, and that excludes the tried-and-tested campaigns that hit the emotional mark. We’re talking about content that humanises your brand and makes you more relatable to your audience — memes.

Word of mouth is still the strongest and most effective marketing tool, proving itself as a viral medium for raising awareness, but with the rise of meme-usage in communication, it’s taking over, and its share-ability has been proven; this is key to a brand’s online presence now. Memes are dominating our social media timelines quite aggressively without direct call-to-actions in their visual or caption. As Adweek rightly stated, “they’re designed to travel.”

Based on that fact, brands are adopting memes into their daily communication quite smartly — a meme tends to reach its ‘virality’ within a 72-hour period! We did this. We allowed memes to become a thing of the future, credit where credit is due. Reaching millions of users thanks to its digital footprint, a meme, as juvenile as it may have seemed previously, is now a communication tool and effective inclusion in a marketing plan.

Imitation is a form of flattery

We’ve all seen the ‘Distracted Boyfriend’ meme; it started with a photoshoot that went viral because of one image. Users started adopting the template and creating scenarios that best explain the situation through sarcasm, humour, and relatability.

One of the most common imitations of the meme was the call to action ‘Tag a friend that falls in love regularly.’ Much like a digital wildfire, it spread and reached its peak within the aforementioned 72-hour period, gaining replicas across individual users and reaching its zenith with Penguin Random House that used it to highlight the distinct difference existent between an em dash and a semicolon.

The three things one must factor into their meme-usage are:

  • Relatability – Create a feeling of understanding; a belonging. The viewer must know what you’re referring to and possibly share that post, offering you the awareness you desire
  • Wit – Don’t be erudite, but remember that Chandler’s well-timed wit is what got him so popular
  • Relevance – Don’t use viral memes because of their exposure; use the right ones at the right time to ensure brand relevance. Do your homework. Not all memes have the best reputation

Having said the above, memes are a fun tool for communication, but, most importantly, they’re entertaining to research and ideate for. Have fun with them and loosen up the brand’s approach; your audience is looking for a human connection with you.

Riya Vatnani is Account Manager at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |