The Role of Memes in Modern Business and Design

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Memes are fun, easy-to-understand, and one of the best ways to promote a brand. They provide a sense of comfort, familiarity and serve as a doorway through which audiences can easily walk and become lifelong customers of a company. But for some brands, the use of memes can seem like a strange and foreign way of promoting their product, and they may not have the first idea of how to go about generating memes.

Luckily in 2021, there are a number of services and resources that make creating memes for your company a simple, step-wise process. In this article, we will discuss why the use of memes is essential in the modern business world and how to go about making a meme for the uninitiated.

Why Use Memes in Business Marketing?

Memes have a number of benefits that might not be immediately obvious to those who are unfamiliar with meme culture:

  • Memes are free or extremely inexpensive to use. Meme pictures are generally already widely circulating on the internet. Therefore, there is no need to use up a lot of time and resources to create an original picture, you simply need to come up with a creative message that fits the picture and promotes your brand.
  • Memes are born to be shared. “Meme-Sharing” has become a trend amongst friends, colleagues, and family from all different backgrounds. Memes are quick, easy-to-digest messages that reach the intended recipient instantly and can then be sent off or shown to the next person, all within a minute or less. Contrast this with a blog post or a news article, where a person has to set time aside to read an article in order to understand the message. In the digital age, it’s a no-brainer which type of message most busy people would prefer to receive and share.
  • Memes show that your brand is relevant. The use of memes by businesses is almost a necessity at this point. Consumers want to support brands that keep up with current trends. Few shoppers are interested in giving their business to a brand that seems out-of-touch with society and pop culture.
  • Anyone can participate in the meme-making process. Anyone who follows the news can have a successful presence in meme culture. All you have to do is be on the lookout for interesting and noteworthy stories as you come across them. Take, for example, the most recent U.S. presidential election. There were tons of memes made about each of the candidates and those associated with the campaigns, such as the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head during the debate with Kamala Harris. This meme went viral, and it just goes to show that one should always be ready for the next trending meme. This also goes for popular movies. Any still frame in a movie can be effectively made into a meme with a little bit of vision and creativity.

How to Make a Meme

The actual process of making a meme is made incredibly easy through the use of meme generator services such as this one. You need only add an image, add a caption or two, and the program will do the rest. However, there are many other factors that must be considered in order for your meme to become an effective marketing tool:

  1. What message do you want to convey? If your goal is to promote a new product or service, the meme you make should have an obvious message that leads clients toward that end goal. For example, the simple use of a still frame of Liam Neeson as he delivers his famous line in the movie Taken immediately stimulates recognition in those who are familiar with the movie and conveys a sense of importance and urgency. The use of a clever substitution in place of the line from this movie that everyone knows will make your meme memorable and drive traffic toward your brand.
  2. Who is your audience? You should have a good idea of who you’re trying to reach and create your meme with this audience in mind. While it’s not critical that everyone recognizes the picture in the meme (some pictures relay the intended tone regardless of how well-known they are), you can create a feeling of “insider understanding” through the use of a recognizable meme within your customer base. For example: if you primarily sell skateboards to teenagers, a meme using Cloris Leachman that promotes your brand may not have the same impact as it would with an older audience who knows who she is immediately upon seeing her. Instead, making use of a more recognizable figure in the skateboarding community, such as Tony Hawk or another prominent skater, would likely lead to a much stronger interaction between audience and brand.
  3. What channels do you use for your marketing? Social media is where memes tend to shine. However, memes can certainly be incorporated into blog posts, newsletters, and other similar mediums. As long as it doesn’t feel awkward and forced, memes can essentially be used anywhere for your marketing purposes. Even outside of marketing to an audience, memes can be effectively used by employers in company-wide emails to provide information in a way that feels more informal but still delivers the message appropriately.
  4. What’s in your “meme library”? If this is your first time dipping your toes into the meme scene, you may not have gathered any memes to be used as part of your marketing strategy. This is not a problem and can be easily rectified by a quick internet search. You can, quite literally, search for anything you’d like and find a meme related to it. Consulting listicles, such as this list of 2021’s best memes that outline the most current and popular memes, is another good place to start.


In the modern business world, memes are an essential component of every successful marketing strategy. Fortunately, the process is affordable, easy, and has only a very small learning curve.

Iggy is a designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques, collating creative website designs, and writing about the latest design trends, inspiration, design freebies, and more. You can follow him on Twitter

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