December 17, 2014 / Melissa Faudree


Meme is not a new term or concept. In fact, the term has been around since the 1970s. Evolution biologist, Richard Dawkins coined the term in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins said that our ideas, concepts, and behaviors can be replicated and spread to others. How do we define a meme today?

What is a Meme?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines meme as, “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” More often memes are images or videos but may also be a word or phrase. Today, the Internet spreads majority of memes using an image and a clever phrase. These content pieces become viral as they appear in our social media streams. Often times these memes are meant to be funny or sarcastic.

My favorite and hopefully the easiest example to understand is Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat originated when her picture was posted to Reddit in the fall of 2012. Since then her fame has sky rocketed into memes and other parodies. Grumpy Cat has a coffee drink called Grumppuccino, a book entitled A Grumpy Book, a movie, and is now the spokeswoman (or cat) for the Friskies brand. You can find Grumpy Cat paraphernalia just about anywhere today.

Grumpy Cat

Why Should I use Memes for Marketing?
People love visuals and memes can help capture and engage your audience with a sense of humor. The great thing about memes is they are free and easy to create. Businesses can use memes to promote a new product, a promotion or special, advertise their blog or mailing list. You can create memes for other everyday events such as holidays, days of the week, motivation or even current events. Whatever you are promoting, make sure it is unique and ties back to your brand.

It might seem obvious but memes should not be your main marketing strategy. They are meant to be a tactic and should be used sparingly. Please have good sense when you post these on social media so that you are not offending your audience or bombarding them with a bunch of memes. Have fun when you incorporate memes into your marketing. Why else would you want to use memes for marketing?

Memes are all over the web and social media, which makes them extremely popular and trendy. Utilizing memes for your marketing helps show that your business keeps up-to-date with current trends. Generally, memes appeal to younger audiences so make sure you have a clear idea who you’re targeting.

Shows Personality
Memes are a great way to show your creativeness. People want to see the fun side of a business because it shows that they not only have a sense of humor but they also like to have fun. They aren’t always all business. It is important to note that not all businesses should utilize memes for marketing. It may not fit their niche.

Memes are a way to connect with your audience. If you provide content that provokes emotion such as humor, you can establish a connection with your audience. Memes are popular across social media and your audience will recognize and relate. This allows people to engage, interact and SHARE. After all, the purpose of memes is the share with others across social media. So make sure that if you create a meme for marketing your audience can share easily.

What are some of your favorite memes? Share with us in the comments below!