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As our social media feeds swarm with cat and dog videos, it is hard to imagine our digital lives without memes. While many of us may think that memes are a recent cultural fashion, it is a fact that the term “meme” was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976. The word “meme” is a Greek word which means “that which is imitated”. According to Google Trends, memes are so commonly shared that they are becoming a more popular search item than “Jesus”.

Richard Dawkins argued that the term “viral” can not only be used for infectious diseases, it can also be used in social settings. Meme can be defined as something that spreads through a culture like wildfire. Today, memes have taken over our digital world. What makes them special is their ability to communicate feelings and situations through pictures or animation. Because of its popularity the concept of memes is now adopted by almost all brands who are trying to find a place in the digital world.

It is a fact that the younger generation spends almost 2 hours online every day. Memes are popular among this generation and it is a high possibility that these young people spend their time sharing memes while online. This gives brands good opportunities to engage with their audience and even attract a few customers.

There is a downside to brand marketing or advertising on social media because nobody wants to see branded content in their feed and would rather skip over it and go back to the entertaining dog and cat videos. The people have busy lives and they spend their time on social media to get entertainment, not to see ads of brands.

If done correctly, meme marketing can prove to be very successful. It is interesting and can be used to share something of value to the audience. Memes tend to work for brands because they are designed especially for social media platforms. They provide awareness for a particular product or brand while also entertaining people. This is why memes are not considered overly promotional. Because of its entertainment value, the audience is keen on sharing it with their friends and relatives. They are able to relate with memes. The sharing of memes gives your brand promotion, awareness and value.

Since the value of meme marketing is known, the bigger question is, how do you do meme marketing correctly? Memes either have a long life circle or a short one. It is possible that memes that have been used too many times, loses its value and does not have the same effect on people. To effectively use an existing meme, brands should keep themselves updated and should know exactly what is trending. The picture on the meme might be the same, but the content should be original.

A reactive meme commonly used to respond to people or brand, trying to fit in with a community they are familiar with is “How do you do, fellow kids”?

This idea was used by the American firm, “Bagel Bites” and turned it into a marketing strategy.

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However, memes lose their value very easily if it is copied. If you do not wish to use an existing meme, you may create your own. This might be difficult to promote because they are new and are not recognised by the audience.

Some excellent examples of meme marketing are:

Netflix:

Netflix has always been interactive with their fellow social media platforms. Apart from meme marketing, Netflix also uses internet lingo with its audience. They know how to present themselves on any social media platform. They have created a sub-account named “Netflix is a joke”. This page is specifically used specifically for meme marketing:

Disney:

Disney has always concentrated on children and adults alike. But considering their popularity on social media, they have also taken to sharing memes. This step by Disney has garnered mass-engagement on their social media platforms because they cater to their audience according to geo-location.

Memes can become an integral part of your marketing strategies and help you promote your brand.

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Manvi Jain

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