They're usually posted by people I follow but every once in a while, a brand will post a meme and add their own spin on it. When it's done right, those are the brands whose content I engage with the most.
What was once considered a trend reserved for Millennials and Gen Z has now evolved into an effective way for brands to engage with their audience.
Let's talk about what meme marketing is, how you can leverage it, and see examples of brands getting it right.
What is meme marketing?
Meme marketing is the use of memes to promote your brand narrative. It’s a fun, low-effort way to connect with your audience and increase your engagement rate, as memes are highly shareable.
A quick background on memes – they’re concepts, behaviors, or ideas that spread on the internet. A meme can be any type of media format, including a GIF, video, text-post, or basic image.
The truly successful memes spread like wildfire. That’s exactly why marketers want to leverage these already viral pieces of creative for their own marketing.
Another benefit to meme marketing is that it’s low effort. Most of the work has already been done: It’s being shared all over social media and it has a clear concept. All you have to do is fit the meme to your brand and hit "post."
Furthermore, memes help bring communities together. Not only are users tempted to like and comment on them, but they also want to share them.
Now that we know the benefits of using meme marketing, let’s get to a few examples of brand memes in the wild.
Black wojak memes started spreading on the interwebs in the fall of 2020. It wasn’t until December of the same year that it went viral, with users creating their own version of the hilarious meme.
Kai Collective was one of them.
The concept behind this particular meme– I say particular because there are multiple variations of this meme – is simple: One Black girl meets another Black girl, they bond over something and become friends.
Kai Collective made its own version of this meme to highlight its product, a print top. Instead of simply adding the text, they took it one step further by adding their clothing and making it a truly custom meme.
A meme list wouldn’t be complete without Oprah Winfrey.
This one came from from the highly viewed special "Oprah with Meghan and Harry."
In addition to the iconic line – and quite possibly best follow-up interview question of all time – "Were you silent or were you silenced?" this image quickly made its rounds on social media.
It shows Winfrey raising her hands up in disapproval and looking away.
Haircare brand Ruka Hair created its own version of the meme to point out a major pain point for gel users.
Memes are so popular because they’re relatable. If your brand is brainstorming meme ideas, think of your user persona. What are some challenges they deal with? How are they approaching those challenges?
You’ll probably find a humorous, meme-worthy answer.
I’ve seen this meme die down and come back to life many times over the past few years.
One look at the picture and you understand exactly what’s going on: The man featured in the middle is distracted by someone who walks past him while he is with someone else.
Hydrop.io, a water company based in India, created this meme to depict how its target audience views various types of water. And, they dive further into this idea in the caption by highlighting the benefits of alkaline water.
Sometimes, the meme speaks for itself. In this case, you can use it to supplement a message you want to share to your audience.
Here’s another example of how the interview that attracted 17.1 million viewers resulted in multiple memes for our enjoyment.
In this case, Mexican restaurant Black Rooster Taqueria took a simple approach to share its value proposition: Why deal with bland, cold flour tortillas when you could get fresh, authentic corn tortillas?
If you’re just discovering this brand, this meme tells us a little bit about them while garnering a quick laugh.