Why brands should use memes for customer engagement and not product selling | The Financial Express

Why brands should use memes for customer engagement and not product selling

The most successful companies in the world, from Netflix to Gucci, are using clever, creative memes to instantly engage their audiences and acquire new customers

Why brands should use memes for customer engagement and not product selling
Modern online communities are ideal vectors for spreading these inherited cultural traits.

By Taaran Chanana

In today’s internet-connected world, memes have evolved into a decentralised source of cultural currency that can be found on almost any social media platform. People often skip ads whenever they can, but using humour and well-known media in marketing can get the attention of people who are hard to reach. Memes are meant to foster interaction and bring people together through the spread of a message that is universally understood.

The most successful companies in the world, from Netflix to Gucci, are using clever, creative memes to instantly engage their audiences and acquire new customers. The online networks of today are perfect vehicles for disseminating such ingrained cultural norms. When a message is well-received, it can go viral and eventually reach every corner of the globe. The appropriate kind of viral memes can be used to increase brand recognition, attract new customers, and even enter new markets. 

Successful memes are able to encapsulate a unique moment, idea, or feeling in a simple graphic that can then be passed across the internet. However, it is essential to remember that memes should be used to engage your consumers and not to sell your products. 

So, to begin, what exactly is a meme?

To explain the transmission of ideas through imitation and modification, evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in 1976. Over the course of time, memes are widely disseminated and serve to bring people together via the shared experience of humour. Memes are pieces of online content that are widely shared on social networking sites; they commonly take the form of a GIF or a static graphic that mimics a trending idea, term, or phenomenon, and they sometimes contain text superimposed on or over the image. With the right kind of attention-grabbing memes, you can build brand loyalty, expand your customer base, and even break into other markets to achieve similar goals.  

Modern online communities are ideal vectors for spreading these inherited cultural traits. If a message is particularly well-received, it can quickly spread around the world. The most popular memes are those that successfully capture a specific event, idea, or emotion in an easily shareable graphic. The best ones create a sense of camaraderie among the audience, as everyone enjoys feeling part of an inside joke. Additionally, various communities appropriate memes and modify them in order to make them uniquely their own. Expert storytellers like digital marketers, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and creative professionals can use meme marketing as a low-cost strategy for producing content that gets attention and shares. 

What is Meme Marketing?

Marketers of all stripes are increasingly turning to memes in an effort to foster a sense of community among their followers, deepen their connection to them, and cement their brands in their minds. Meme marketing is the practice of promoting a product or service through the distribution of memes. It’s a lighthearted method of interacting with your consumers and expanding your brand reach. The virality and popularity of memes gives marketers a significant advantage in communicating with their target audiences online. 

Target Demographic: When crafting your memes, it’s crucial to keep your target demographic in mind. Attempting to please everyone will result in a lacklustre response. Most people seem to believe that meme marketing will be successful exclusively for brands targeting the Millennial and Gen Z generations, who are the most active internet users. Memes, however, aren’t just for youngsters, according to statistics. Memes are shared by around 75% of people aged 13 to 36, with 55% doing so weekly and 30% doing so daily. As a result, it is critical that the memes’ content be both intellectual and humorous. 


Brand Recall: One of the main benefits of employing memes is the increased reach that can be obtained. Most people can relate to memes, and when hashtags are used well, they may spread quickly and widely. Meme content, in particular, is much more shareable than advertisements and can therefore help you expand your brand’s reach. Memes have a significant impact on memory recall because people tend to retain information only if it is either really important or particularly interesting. 

Social Media Following: A good meme can make you put down your phone and give it your whole attention. Posts that are shared by friends or that make us laugh out loud are more likely to remain in our minds. Even if not all of the users who enjoy your memes end up being clients, they will still think about your brand and check out what you have to offer. In addition, memes are a great way to increase your social media following as well as your engagement (likes, shares, comments, and brand recall). If a service or product is occasionally tied to a meme, it’s possible that users won’t mind. Keeping a level head is essential. 

Why should you avoid using memes for product selling?

Consumers in the digital era tend to shun advertising and promotional content, as evidenced by the dramatic fall in click-through rates and conversion rates in digital advertising. Marketers face challenges in getting their messages seen by customers. Previous studies have shown that consumers typically ignore commercials by clicking away or skipping them entirely. Although millennials are known to avoid commercial and sponsored material, 84% of them are swayed by user-generated content like memes posted on company websites. To promote a concept or message through the use of humour, sarcasm, and quiddity, a piece of material may take the shape of an Internet meme and be disseminated in a variety of ways (including animation, GIF, tag, image, text, or video).

However, even while memes are all the rage at the moment and can help businesses reach their intended audience, there are certain caveats to keep in mind. First and foremost, don’t force it; instead, focus on being genuine. It is important to achieve a balance between appearing cool and coming off as trying too hard to your audience. Make sure you incorporate trendy memes to boost your chances of becoming viral. Using memes that have reached their peak popularity will make your brand look dated and uninformed, which can have a catastrophic effect on your business. Moreover, forced memes or direct product advertising memes do not inspire tagging or sharing among audiences and are frequently ignored. There is a fine line between being relevant to your business and pushing too hard. If your content does not correspond with your consumers’ existing knowledge and expectations of your brand, you may even lose followers. 

Memes are about making your brand unforgettable so that your audience remembers you, participates with your content, and ultimately maintains track of your social media. If you sell your product directly through this medium, you will never develop a feeling of community among your target audience. The audience will simply not care enough to buy or engage with your brand because it will be of no interest to them, and your brand will be just like any other commercial. Therefore, it is important to use memes effectively.

The author is MD and co-founder of MemeChat. Views expressed are personal.

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