• Aditya Somaiya

Memes and Marketing

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

What are memes?

“A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme.”

The word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene as an attempt to explain how ideas replicate, mutate and evolve (memetics). Internet meme was first proposed by Mike Godwin in the June 1993 issue of Wired.


Memes and Marketing

Public relations, advertising, and marketing professionals have embraced Internet memes as a form of viral marketing and guerrilla marketing to create marketing "buzz" for their product or service.

Memes can become an effective way to engage with your brands communities and here are few things that brands need to do:

  • Finding the sweet spot

It’s important for the brand to find a space of what it stands for and what matters to its consumers, only those areas should be used as subjects for memetic marketing

  • Cultural sensitivity

The brand also needs to be conscious of cultural nuances where it is not seen as offensive and offending to its consumers

  • Limits and guardrails

Memes push boundaries of communication, and its up to the brand and its owners to know how far of a push is good for them

  • Don’t get greedy

The focus on memetic communication needs to be only consumer engagement, be true to the format and don’t try to drive brand proposition when there is no fit

  • Driving culture

A strong brand is the one that drives the culture forward, memetic communication provides the brand a great opportunity to do so, but on the other hand, it can become regressive as well, the brand needs to be conscious of the intent v/s impact of its communication and change course when needed

In the end, memes are a fun and engaging way to reach out to your community, push the limits to an extent and get creative.


Aditya is passionate about building brands that consumers love and use e-commerce to scale business. Aditya can be reached at aditya@ensosbusinessconsulting.com


#brand #marketing #culture #communication

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