Master Meme-vertising, and Hack Millennial Speak

Master Meme-vertising, and Hack Millennial Speak

Vividha Chopra
12 September 2019

There’s no denying that the internet has connected people across the world. While many have chosen to use it for the exchange of grand ideas and deep intellectual dialogues, millennials and gen-Z are happiest conversing with peers through memes.

A meme is basically an idea, usually humorous in nature, that has gone viral. It is typically a picture, video or gif that is being replicated across the internet, with small variations, to bring more reference and hilarity. For any brand looking to become fluent in millennial speak, memes are the language to learn.

While the bigger conglomerates and businesses in India are still warming to the idea of using memes for brand communication, young brands like Zomato, Zostel, Netflix, Swiggy, etc. are changing the way they communicate on the internet using memes.

Saurabh Mankhand, Vice President – Strategy & Client Services, Indigo shared with Social Samosa that, “Gen-Z comprises 32% of the global population and this number is only going to increase along with their purchasing power”. He adds, “I firmly believe the use of memes is likely to continue to play a key role in marketing especially as the younger generation is less moved by direct marketing and is more responsive to engaging content that challenges and entertains.”

First-Mover Advantage

So, when Vipin Sahu became an internet sensation with his horrifying yet hilarious video of paragliding, with the hashtag #BasLandKarade, brands were quick to capitalize on the trend make paragliding memes about it!

Vipin Sahu’s fear of heights was exposed during his paragliding experience, while holidaying in Kullu. The video became a hilarious hit among all age groups as Vipin yelled anxiously and pleaded with his instructor to land him immediately at an extra cost. Vipin was also seen swearing at himself which made the video a laugh riot.

The aforementioned brands saw the opportunity to make memes that were not only funny but also released moments after the video went viral. Each brand saw a 60 – 100% jump in engagement for zero media spend, simply by playing into topical content.

What makes such meme content click is timing. Today, brands vigilantly monitor the internet for latest trends and conversations and find references to link to these conversations to their brand. Since a meme has a short shelf life, capitalising on the viral trend early is what keeps the engagement high.

Be legitimately funny

Memes thrive on hilarity. While the internet provides fodder for a lot of content, what makes a brand meme stand out from competitors is the simplicity, quality of joke and relatability. If a meme doesn’t have a direct connection to the brand, let it go.

Meme marketing may not be the ideal strategy to use for product conversion. Since it can’t deliver a wide range of purchasing information like key features, price points, benefits and brand connect at the same time. However, it’s a great mechanism for awareness and generating desire because memes invoke curiosity and engagement from consumers.

A good example of this theory in action is the promotion of Sacred Games Season 2 by Netflix. Where this media giant, like a true innovator, hacked the meme game to its own advantage and lead the way by putting the game’s content into popular Netflix meme formats.

Memes for Customer Response

Today, thanks to the internet, brands and consumers can talk directly. This opens up a gamut of opportunities to engage a customer. These conversations would be either an exchange of information, a complaint or a show of appreciation. Each conversation is an opportunity for the brand to build a positive impact with a consumer. If the context allows for it, a brand can use humour and memes in the conversation.

These memes can be text, visuals or gifs. Using memes for responding to customer queries is an effective strategy to deepen the relationship between a consumer and a brand.

Here is an example from Netflix, in a conversation with other brands on social media. Netflix increased the buzz for Sacred Games season 2 before launch with its meme strategy, other brands saw opportunity to capitalise on the trend and engaged with the brand and the upcoming show.

Maintaining meme hygiene

While the shelf life of each meme might be limited, memes as a way of communication are gaining popularity by the day. There are a few key points to keep in mind as you improve your meme-vertising.

  • As a marketer looking to tap into consumer conversation, you need to stay updated with the latest trends and use hashtags that are trending. A meme works best when it is consumed as soon as something goes viral.
  • The trend should fit in with the brand and not vice versa. A meme that organically fits in with the brand culture brings out the humour and engagement. If you try too hard and force fit the brand it will most probably not work.
  • The artwork has to aesthetically match the trending meme style. Many a time, brands tend to refine the visual look to match brand standards, be vary of this as it can take away from the authenticity of a meme and counter play the brand impact. We also know that gen-Z in particular, values authenticity so it’s especially important if you’re trying to reach that market.
  • Distribution of this meme across the relevant social media channels and also meme pages is key. If a brand meme is catching the public eye then amplification via online media, meme pages and influencers can take the effort to a whole new level of engagement.

As a brand manager or a marketing agency that is looking to build the best meme solutions for your brands you can use some tools to be prepared with upcoming trends. With Meltwater Media Intelligence software, you can track trends, monitor key words and phrases in news and social media and get instant updates and notifications. This can help you catch the latest information first and get you ahead of competitors in your meme game.

If you want to understand how to use Meltwater for your brand, drop us a line for a free demo.