Memes and their importance in marketing - why are they so popular?
Memes rule the modern internet. They are present everywhere - on social networks, in news websites, in private messages of Internet users. They cover every possible topic, from sports to lifestyle to pop culture. They are a sociological phenomenon, and the patterns of their dissemination are studied by scientists who deal with epidemiology on a daily basis. Interestingly, Internet marketing specialists also deal with their analysis. Why do memes play a big role in advertising? We invite you to read the rest of the text.
What are memes?
Before we go any further, it's worth recalling one of the best definitions of a meme coined by Glen Grant:
Memes - infectious patterns of information duplicated by parasitically infected human minds and modifying their behavior, causing them to spread this pattern. Single slogans, melodies, icons, inventions, and mods are common memes. An idea or pattern of information is not a meme until it causes someone to duplicate it. All knowledge imparted is memetic.
When reading this description, some social networking site certainly comes to your mind. This is a good step, because it is this kind of media that has given memes the perfect environment to spread. The essence of Facebook, Twitter and other websites consists in sharing various content - texts, music, videos, photos, etc. Other forms of sending memes are e-mails, websites with pictures and direct communication between internet users - through communicators built into social media portals or being separate applications.
Memes in Marketing
Surely you will associate such phrases as "such things only in the Era", "you are indistinct - take Rutinoscorbin" or "last". These are texts from advertisements that have become a permanent part of the everyday language of Poles. They have been functioning in it for many years - some of them have already forgotten where they really came from. Their popularity is a huge success for the marketers of these brands - because consumers themselves, of their own free will, began to spread the promotional message. This contradicts the established image of pushy commercials that nobody wants to read or watch. Popular advertising memes greatly enhance brand recognition, and in addition evoke nice associations related to it. It makes the name of the company enter the colloquial language, becoming its permanent element, something natural.
But there is also the other side of the coin. The company may as well become the negative hero of dozens of memes that are shared massively on social networks. This is a disastrous turn of events for the brand, because Internet users can be ruthless when mocked. It is worth citing the example of a certain producer of cold meats who got into a stupid dispute with a famous blogger who is a strong opinion leader. At first, the conflict was known to "only" tens of thousands of regular readers of the blog, but thanks to mass-produced mocking memes, millions of Internet users learned about everything - on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. In this way, in the eyes of the masses, the name of this brand has become synonymous with embarrassment, lack of self-criticism and a disastrous approach to consumers.
There is also another trap - a situation in which the memes released by the company begin to perform a different function than the one intended by the creators. It happened in the case of the McDonald's spot, where the words “maybe chips for that?” Were mentioned. This saying has become in the mocking memes a reference to the poor position of young people on the labor market, who very often, after graduation, are forced to earn a living in fast food bars. In addition, this expression has entered colloquial language and is used when someone wishes to ironically criticize someone's exorbitant expectations or demands.
How to Avoid Branding in a Negative Meme? First of all, you should be careful when interacting with social media users.When running a Facebook profile, you need to respect them and take their opinions into account. Designing well-thought-out advertising campaigns that do not have weaknesses that can be used by competitors and mocking, anonymous Internet users will also help a lot. Certainly, you cannot make the mistake of the aforementioned sausage producer - the lack of self-criticism combined with the willingness to drag people to the courts does not pay off.
How are memes made?
As you can see, memes can become very powerful weapons. The only question is - how to use it? Is it possible to design a meme at all? The answer is yes and no. On the one hand, you can brainstorm and come up with an incredibly catchy text or picture. On the other hand, however, there is no guarantee that it will gain popularity and be virally distributed in cyberspace. It is fair to suppose that the huge success of the aforementioned advertising memes was more a coincidence than a deliberate act. It just happened - the neat text appealed to the public, who began to share it with the rest of the world in the most natural way, i.e. by implementing it into their daily lexical collection.
Naturally, this does not mean that you do not have to try. It is worth putting a lot of effort into creating marketing messages - they must be witty, interesting and original. It may be a good idea to (wisely) use the pop culture references that are the content of most memes on the internet. Word and association games are readily read and disseminated. Once a given advertising message is created, it must be skillfully introduced into the network - preferably via social media. You can also use one of the several well-known sites with funny pictures - either by uploading a meme directly there, or by purchasing a native ad (well integrated into the content of the page).
Memes in marketing - summary
Many books and studies have already been written about memes in pop culture, the Internet and marketing - it is worth reading them to educate yourself in this matter and be able to wisely use the powerful power of viral content. But be careful with fire - a little inattention is enough to experience great image loss, becoming a negative meme hero.