What Do You Meme?

By Joe Phelan

naturalpastels / Pixabay

When Richard Dawkins first coined the word ‘meme’ in his 1976 bestseller The Selfish Gene, there’s no way he could have predicted that, forty years later, the term would be hijacked and appropriated by legions of online content creators looking for quick laughs and internet stardom.

By any memes necessary

In the writings of Dawkins, a meme is an idea, behavior or practice that spreads from person to person within a culture. In content marketing terms, it’s something going viral, but in the real world.

In Dawkins’ definition, a meme mutates – or evolves – randomly, and only perseveres if it is beneficial or in some way advantageous to people. Examples could include anything from building techniques to types of fashion, religious interpretations to certain ways of speaking. Instead of something being passed on genetically, a meme is something that is picked up by the individual during their lifetime, imitated, and then strategically utilized.

In modern meme culture, however, the emphasis is not on something changing naturally, but on editing, refashioning or refining something – be it an image, a video or a phrase – deliberately. The goal is not to replicate or repeat, but to actively alter. The premise of the online meme is to find a core theme – generally a character or phrase – and then utilize it in a variety of scenarios.

Despite differing processes, the outcome of Dawkins’ meme and that of the online content marketer are the same; it spreads, and subsequently, can be said to have ‘gone viral’. We’ve spoken before about techniques that are used by companies and individuals alike to get their content in front of as many eyes as possible, but what, if anything, can organizations get out of meme culture? Is it something they should be getting involved in via their social channels, or is it important to refrain, and therefore retain a sense of professionalism?

The question is simple: should companies be using memes?

Speaking to the audience

As a content agency, we’ve spoken before about the importance of speaking to your audience in a way that will resonate. If you want to evoke an emotional response or encourage someone to take an action via content marketing, then you need to engage them. Understanding what appeals to them and what will pique their interest is key.

How to talk to your audience is something that should be settled early on in the formation of your company. Developing a distinctive culture and deciding upon a tone that reflects your values and culture is incredibly important. Of course, there is room for development and modification as you grow or diversify, but you want your content to, at all times, speak with the genuine voice of the company.

With that in mind, you must consider how your audience will react should you start to post memes. Is it something they’ll engage with? Would a meme fit with their perception of your company and what you’re trying to say, or would it stick out like a sore Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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