A communication phenomenon of recent decades, the humorous format of memes is an integral part of interactions on the Internet. If this format is considered the prerogative of informal conversations on social networks, it can also be an asset to consider for companies’ marketing strategy. With the development of digital culture and social networks, the meme has granted itself a privileged place in the online exchanges of Internet users.
Whether capturing a reaction to a particular event, illustrating an idea, or a state of mind, this format allows you to twist an image or video by humorously appropriating it. While used for entertainment purposes by the general public, memes have also been noticed by businesses. Visual formats adapted to communication on social platforms have a solid viral potential to engage a community initially. In this article, we return to the principles of the meme and how to exploit its advantages for your communication.
What Is A Meme?
From “Sad Keanu,” which hijacks a cliché of American actor Keanu Reeves, to that of a Turkish butcher known as “Salt Bae,” the meme concept has spread widely on the Internet in recent years. Decades. It was in 1976 that this concept appeared for the first time in the work, which defined it as a cultural object transmitted from one person to another through imitation and diversion.
With the development of digital culture, the meme corresponds more specifically to an image or video decorated with a caption, generally humorous, spreading quickly within a community of Internet users. This format is, above all, famous for its unique and unlimited reappropriation potential: each Internet user can reinterpret an original meme and adapt it to a new situation, sometimes extending its lifespan over several years. Often referring to elements related to popular culture or current events, the Internet meme is based on four primary characteristics:
- the humorous tone of his message
- the diversity of its formats
- its format is customizable by Internet users
- its viral diffusion capacity on social networks
One of the factors that also makes memes successful is their universality. They quickly identify the public with everyday situations, behaviors, and cultural references while appealing to their emotional capital through humor. This universality facilitates sharing with a large community that can easily recognize themselves in the message communicated.
When The Meme Adapts To Corporate Messages
The viral potential of memes has not been lost on businesses. Some have chosen a “meme marketing” strategy to promote their brands or products. But how can this format designed for entertainment be transformed into an asset for businesses?
The Meme Promotes Engagement
If social networks are an opportunity for business visibility, retaining consumers’ attention proves to be a challenge due to the large volume of published content. Users can quickly disseminate them to their community because they arouse authentic emotion, whether it’s laughter or curiosity. Additionally, by design, memes encourage sharing and appropriation, meaning multiple people can post the same content frequently for broad visibility across social platforms.
The Meme Reveals The Human Side Of A Company
Due to their humorous nature, brands use memes to stand out from traditional promotional publications. They offer their audience human and offbeat communication and can show a brand’s ability to know how to surprise and play with the codes of its industry. At a time when Internet users are looking for realistic and original content online, particularly on social networks, meme marketing can facilitate the rapprochement of the public and businesses. Thus, the meme can help shape the identity of a brand.
Simplicity Is The Essence Of The Meme
Creating a meme does not require deploying complex technical processes. Thus, a company can create its own memes without mobilizing significant resources. It may be enough to produce them with an image belonging to the company or free of copyright and to associate it with a relevant message. But before proceeding with the design of this type of content, it is essential to pay attention to the fact that the meme is consistent with a brand’s communication strategy and adapted to its audience.
Otherwise, there is a risk of causing a harmful effect. An online generator can be used to design a meme, but it is also possible to automate the creation and publication using content marketing software. Some of these tools, in fact, offer within their functionalities the option to edit and create visual content from customizable models.
Engaging an audience around creating a meme can also be a strategic option for businesses to consider. Some organizations, like IKEA Singapore, have relied on input from their communities to fuel their meme content, which is then posted on their profiles. This type of action is one of the examples of using memes that can create dynamic interaction with users.
The Meme Is Not Just For External Communication
Memes are indeed used to create a connection with customers but are also an original way to unite the employees of a company. Whether communicating about adopting new software, rolling out new company policies, or promoting best practices internally, memes can encourage sharing and discussion by being distributed across channels . of company communications. A meme can allow businesses to adopt a more relaxed and approachable tone when discussing complex or daunting topics. They allow employees to feel more comfortable asking questions and raising concerns.
4 Tips For Mastering Meme Codes
While a meme marketing strategy can be valuable for businesses of any size, specific considerations must come into play. Because of its potential for virality, the meme can be an ally but also a risk to the company’s online reputation . mark if these principles are poorly mastered. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when creating your business meme.
Target Your Audience
A digital culture phenomenon, the meme is a format popular with Generation Z and millennials (article in English). It can be a lever of engagement for any company that wishes to address this target via a familiar format. By using humorous codes and pop culture references, businesses can use them to capture the attention of this type of audience. However, since humor is not reserved for a single category of users, it is possible to broadcast a message likely to reach a larger community who could identify with it.
Surprise Without Rushing
What is amusing to one audience may be perceived as offensive to another. Brands can face judgment from their community if their message is inappropriate. Before using a meme, it is essential to think about its implications around the following questions:
- Can the meme offend specific communities?
- Does it include ambiguous language and terms?
- Is its visual appropriate for the general public?
- If a meme complies with these points, it can be considered for publication.
Although a meme is an opportunity for a company to modernize its communication, its use must correspond to the image it wishes to convey. Be careful about the significant gender gap, which can cause memes to be counterproductive for a brand. A meme can only help strengthen a company’s identity if used wisely. By appropriating this type of content, a so-called traditional company can demonstrate its ability to appropriate a trend while remaining faithful to its image and the values it usually communicates.
Whether you create your meme or adapt a royalty-free meme, it must align with what your business offers and the needs of consumers. Knowing what current topics are trending on social networks and what trends your audience shares is a prerequisite for any meme marketing strategy. By analyzing their behavior and habits, for example, through monitoring social networks, you can create suitable content that will likely be shared.