For most of us who have grown up with the internet, memes are a vital part of our culture. Often unintelligible by non-tech-savvy people, memes are like a global inside joke for the generation to share and enjoy instantaneously.
They've been used as therapeutic and relatable content, to political and current events commentary. For the first time, however, it appears that corporates may be catching up with the culture.
Companies such as Hinge, Uber, and even Budweiser have been experimenting with meme content to add to their advertisement campaigns. The results, it appears, have been phenomenal.
"It’s typical that we will see engagement rates of 30% across Facebook and Instagram," says Dino from marketing agency Mekanism. For the same campaign, influencer or brand content drives rates of about 1% to 15%.
Why Memes Work
The shift to using memes as a part of marketing campaigns indicates a growing understanding of younger audiences. In order to engage with the target market, today's brands need to have a relatability and quirkiness that sets them apart from their competition. Of course, the best way to establish a connection with the consumer is to engage with their culture; and in today's case, memes are a vital cornerstone to the same.
This also means that companies must stop taking themselves very seriously. A lot of Millennial and Gen Z humour centres around self-deprecation and irony and such a style must be replicated in order for the advertisements to work. Netflix is a great example of a brand that understands how to establish its image; from traditional Twitter memes to working with popular drag queens Trixie Mattel and Katya, the company does its best to stay progressive, up with the times, and use key aspects to establish relatability.
The Impact On Marketing
As enjoyable as this new form of marketing is, it could get old real easy, real soon. As is the case with social media influencers spamming their followers with ads, people have learnt to be wary of advertisements which seem to encroach upon an otherwise personal and social place.
It is also difficult for several companies to adopt to self-deprecation, as this goes against most marketing principles that have been used for earlier generations and have become a staple since. Social media campaigns need to be handled carefully and by someone with a great understanding of the culture and current trends. Otherwise, brands risk making a fool out of themselves by using outdated formats or appearing "try-hard."
Hence, the present is probably the best time for firms to tap into the meme scene and ride the wave while it lasts. An immense boost in popularity could help create significant growth and a loyal audience; what more can you ask for?