Memes were originally ideas that became reinforcing idea sets, spreading far beyond their creators. Memes are far more than the cute joke, the pithy political statement on a cool background or the ironic observation. They are now impacting marketing. Let’s examine the impact of memes on marketing, for better or for worse.
Understand That It Will Not Be in Your Control Upon Release
A meme should be based on an image that others can add text to in order to convey their opinion. You can release the image with your text, but understand that it will be modified in ways you will not be able to control. This means you should never turn an image into a meme that is easy to use against you. If you put a picture of your product in the meme, make sure it is a good one that is hard for others to mock.
Choose the Right Image
The best memes for marketing are easy to create, easy for others to read and understand, relate to the audience and are shareable. This is where high resolution images may fail, since they take up too much memory and bandwidth. Busy images, too, may fail because they aren’t visually engaging and take up too much of the reader’s time to decipher.
If you put a funny fail in the image, just consider whether or not the person in the image may sue you for publicly embarrassing them. If you try to use the image of a celebrity, you could get sued for profiting from their likeness without paying them for it.
Another issue to consider is the risk of “memejacking”. If you just slap your business related pun on a meme that’s already gone viral, it is more likely to fall flat because the meme is seen as stale. A safer choice is using sites like Rage Maker to find new images to use in your meme.
Choose the Right Words
Humor is essential for a successful meme, since it is the most easily and readily shared. But read the words before you send the meme out. Is it funny to everyone in the office? Will it be funny to nearly every customer who reads it? Will it be understandable and acceptable as well as funny to their friends?
And look at it from the other side as well. Will humor actually help sell your product or your services? If you’re making a joke like this, are you undermining your brand or building it up? Spell check and grammar check the meme, or that will be the joke. Oh, and make sure you aren’t sticking in hash tags because they’re trending and appropriating a cause that will make your meme go viral for the wrong reasons, turning off your would-be customers.
Meme marketing is a thing now, and can benefit your business or work to its detriment. If you aren’t used to it, tread carefully, but if you feel like it could benefit you and reach your audience, look at the possibilities and see if meme marketing could work for you.