Memes are funny, popular, and very easy to consume. Artistic memes are the latest trend that people don’t seem to get enough of. The reason for their popularity lies in the fact that people can easily connect through these funny pictures. One meme can express so many different things along with tickling people’s funny bones. Virtually unknown until a few years back, artistic memes have taken center stage in popular culture today. The popularity of artistic memes has led to brands and marketers using them as a part of their marketing strategies.
Artistic Memes were considered a fad reserved only for Millennials and Gen Z; however, their popularity has given birth to something called meme-jacking. The term is used for the process through which brands and marketers hijack popular memes and give them their own spin to market their products or services. Brands are now successfully engaging with customers through meme-jacking.
From Netflix to Gucci, brands use artistic memes to build an instant connection with followers and potential buyers.
What is a Meme?
Coined by Richard Dawkins, a biologist, memes are images with humorous captions to highlight various social, cultural, or political observations. Dawkins defined memes as “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” While the phenomenon of memes is new, the concept has been around forever. From architecture to art, memes predate the internet era.
Like most artistic pieces in pop culture, memes have their life cycles. There are three stages in the life of a meme: origin, peak, and saturation.
A meme first originates somewhere on the net and then reaches its peak, where it is repeatedly displayed. Finally, it ceases to be funny and dies a natural death.
How to create winning artistic memes
From social media banners to T-shirts to ads, artistic memes can fit anywhere you want. One reason for artistic memes’ popularity is their ease of use, which is why brands and marketers hijack popular memes and add their twist to hook customers and potential buyers. And the best part of it all, you don’t have to create a new meme; you can simply reuse a trending meme to create your own.
The following points will enable you to create winning artistic memes:
- Understand trends
One of the most valuable lessons you will ever learn as a brand owner or a marketer is that trends keep changing. Nothing is permanent in this world! So, if you wish to make a mark in this ever-changing world, then you have to embrace changes.
In the case of memes, meme-jack the most trending idea and give it your own spin to create something new and funny. The best time to capture a meme is when it is just beginning to get popular.
- Communication is the key
While it makes sense to conduct market research and analyze customers’ needs to better address their issues, understanding and capitalizing on the latest trends can work wonders for your brand.
Memes are an innovative way of communicating with your followers and customers. As a graphic designer, the best way to go about creating a winning artistic meme is to understand its vernacular implications.
- Give it a voice
One reason artistic memes have been successful is because it communicates with everyone at some level. Your chances of successfully creating a winning meme lie in giving it a voice. Be it funny or, cheesy or artistic, memes work best when they are given a voice.
- Think about customers’ reaction
You love the new meme and think it’s going to be viral. Great! But before you jump into meme-jacking the idea, think if your customers will understand and appreciate what you created. If the meme you create fails to connect with the audience, your work will be in vain. Take your time, think about customers’ reactions, and if all goes well, go for it!
What is meme marketing?
Simply put, meme marketing uses memes as a means of stimulating brand narrative. Meme marking is a low-effort and cost-effective way of communicating with customers and potential buyers. Memes are highly shareable, which is why brands use them to increase their engagement rate.
Marketers look to leverage these viral pieces of trending creative work to market their products and services. Most of the work is already done, which leaves very little for brands to work on; hence, marketers find it incredibly easy to add a touch of their flavor before serving it to the audience.
Artistic memes marketing examples
Now that you know how brands and marketers use memes to promote their products or services, it’s time to look at some artistic meme examples.
The Living Potion
Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” album cover went viral as soon as it was launched, along with it drawing a considerable amount of controversy. The Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor wanted to create a meme-able album cover. The album cover depicting 12 pregnant ladies went completely viral, with brands and influencers using the image to give it their own twist.
Perfume brand, The Living Potion labeled each lady with a separate perfume line for a better recall. The perfume brand is a perfect example of how memes can be successfully used to promote products.
Related: Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” album sparks controversy
Netflix Strong Black Lead
The social media team of the OTT platform has mastered the art of creating their own memes. Netflix picks up interesting images from their popular series and gives it a creative twist to come up with some hilarious memes just like the one above. Netflix memes are a great example of integrating popular trends into marketing strategies.
The famous meme has been doing the rounds for ages. The meme died and came back to life several times. The secret to this meme’s longevity lies in the fact that it connects with audiences of varying age groups.
The meme humorously depicts how people view different types of water.
The luxury purse brand, Telfar used two different stills from the film “White Chicks” to create an artistic meme. This is a perfect example of using existing media for your benefit. The best part about memes is that you can create one if you do not find something that fits your brand or products.
How to use memes in marketing
Social media marketing boils down to one point: engagement. Be it attracting your audience through online branding merch or creating appealing content: a marketer always seeks to create engagement. Today, memes are a marketer’s best friend. When your marketing efforts don’t add up, you can always trust the power of memes.
The following points will guide you in successfully using memes as a part of your marketing strategy:
- Find relevant memes that go with your brand personality
Before you set out to meme-jack, exploring various kinds of memes makes sense. Relevant memes that are in line with your brand personality will increase engagement manifold. Apparel brands and other online creative marketplaces have a huge selection of memes because they have followers who see memes every day. But, if you are a brand with a less playful persona, you have to ensure that the memes you use are on the money.
Using irrelevant memes could backfire because it makes you appear tone-deaf. While memes have their positive side, using them without analyzing their meaning could mislead the audience.
- Pick the right spots for your memes
Like everything in life, memes have their proper places. If you want your brand to turn into a meme machine, you have to know where to use them. Apart from social media, memes can be used within blog posts, email marketing, and your website graphics.
In blog posts, memes tend to improve SEO rankings. Along with making your blogs attractive, memes foster your brand’s voice.
Apart from being one of the most effective digital marketing channels, emails can be used to share memes. Popular memes can be used in emails to promote a product and announce an event.
- Timing matters
Memes come and go in a wink of an eye, which is why it is crucial that you keep up with the pace. As a marketer, it is important that you pick the right memes at the correct time. No matter how good a meme is, if you choose to work with it when it is on the decline, your brand may appear untrendy. That said, retro memes make you look contemporary if used the right way. However, if you have decided on using a popular meme or one that is about to hit the peak, you need to play your cards wisely.
- Do not hurt people
Being offensive can be a huge drawback whether you are in the start-up stage or are an established brand. As a business owner, you must think about how your followers and potential buyers may react to a particular meme.
Asking the following questions before meme-jacking would help you avoid any unpleasantness caused by a meme:
- Is the meme hurting the sentiments of a community or a group?
- Does the meme include offensive language such as slurs and insults?
- Could the image evoke negative emotions?
If the answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” you should reconsider using the meme.
- Meme rules (unofficial)
A catchy meme can do wonders for your brand; however, a meme done wrong could turn into a nightmare for brands. Following certain unofficial meme rules can help you stay out of trouble. The following guidelines could help you create catchy memes:
- Keep it sweet and simple.
- Make them short.
- The meme should be recognizable after modifying it.
- Using easy-to-read text is the key to popularity.
- Keep the meaning of the meme intact: changing them in any way would only confuse the audience.
- CTAs must be avoided when creating your meme.
- Keep the images of the meme untouched.
Interesting Read: 5 ways to make the most out of your digital PR strategy
Tips: Marketing with artistic memes
Let me begin by pointing out that there are no set rules on marketing using memes. However, there are a few points that can help you market your brand or products effectively.
- Know your audience
Whether it is about building your brand or selling your products, or just creating a funny meme, knowing your audience is important. And how do you know who they are? Research! Conducting research not only sets you in the right direction but also allows you to customize your products and services according to who your target audience is.
For example, if you are targeting millennials, creating memes that they could relate to holds the key to your success.
- Add a touch of originality
The idea behind using popular memes is to leverage brand awareness. While it is good to use memes to engage your audience with humor, the intention behind creating these short funny images is to boost brand recognition. The best way to use memes as a marketing strategy is to customize them according to your brand personality.
- Keep up with trends
Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this a few times, but the reason I do so is to let you know the importance of trends. Memes are the prime example of trends changing quickly.
The best way to discover what is trending is by exploring popular social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Once you manage to grasp what is trending on social networking sites, you will be in a better position to design memes that will have a high chance of going viral.
Artistic memes are not going to disappear very soon from popular culture. Artistic memes are not generation-specific because they make sense to everyone who uses social networking platforms. Brands, big and small, have realized the potency of artistic memes, which is why they have become an integral part of every marketing campaign.
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Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.