How to use memes in your marketing strategy

Ah memes. For all of us Social Media buffs, the meme is an inescapable presence and one which we cannot ignore as we scroll our way through pages and pages of status updates, ads and videos. Although they enjoy immense popularity amongst some younger Social Media users, they are also reviled in other corners, often by those who view them as somewhat tacky and lowbrow. There are however those rare forms of meme that manage to unite all internet users, through their cleverness and wit, which to a marketer can be incredibly powerful if tied in with a brand and a message. The question is; do memes even fit your brand look and feel in the first place? It is all very well creating a clever and funny one, but if memes by their very nature (quirky, silly, and brash) don’t fit your brands image, there’s not much point in using them. There’s also a very real chance your audience might just not understand memes in general. So, just briefly, what is a meme? A meme is a picture with a witty slogan attached. It is always culturally relevant and connotes a relatable situation or attitude on a large scale. And how do we make them? Well, it is quite a simple process, comprising of three key stages. Firstly, you must select an appropriate image, then add appropriate copy, then finally make the meme easily shareable across all Social Media platforms, you want it to be used on. You then need to generate your meme. You can do this via the likes of Photoshop, pixlar or even simple paint. All you need to do is upload your image and then begin typing your message over the top. Memes are at their best when they look a bit homemade, that is their charm. As long as they encapsulate a cultural ideal and are instantly relatable and identifiable, then they will work. You want your easily identifiable and shareable image, to link back to your website in order for it to generate traffic to your site. But what kind of image should you select? There are already lots of popular meme images out there that have a proven track record. The likes of Sean Bean in Game of Thrones and Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka, already gain a lot of shares and clicks, when coupled with relatable often brand specific slogans. The only problem is that a lot of Social Media users are getting sick of these images, which to some have become over exposed. If you do use one of these tried and tested images you must be able to link it to what is discernible and unique about your brand and take the meme in a direction that it has never been in before, giving it a new and original stamp. Virgin used the image of the first pumping baby at a time when it was considered fresh, new and exciting. The contrast between a multinational company and a commonly shared and used meme, worked exceptionally well. It connected a big company with the general public and the results were an improved brand image for Virgin and it kick started a successful campaign. You could also search for a meme that is current and trending and jump on that band wagon whilst it is popular and current. That will associate your brand with hipness and youth culture, if that’s the audience you are looking to connect with. Your third option is to use brand new images that have been designed specifically for your brand and your content. Although you won’t be instantly recognisable you could still be relatable and create something unique and effective. When it comes to copy, the best memes are those that are fun and humorous. You want your audience to look at the meme and laugh because it’s “so true” and then click share. Bring context to the image and inform the reader of an attribute relating to your brand that is summed up by the meme image. Avoid being too clever, remember that the average internet user has a short attention span and if your joke doesn’t resonate first time, no-ones coming back for a second look. You must be accessible through your language as well. The more inclusive the better and don’t be offensive.


Memes can be highly useful if you want to market your brand in a quick and cheap way. By simply creating a picture and slogan that reiterates your brand’s message and values, you can catch the attention of a Social Media audience that are amused and inspired by the relatable and current quality of the meme. This will prompt sharing and retweets, increasing the reach of your brand and/or product. Through memes you can increase your online presence.