Brands’ Meme Marketing Makes Sentiment Analysis More Important Than Ever

Kimberly Surico |
 01/20/20 |
4 min read

Brands’ Meme Marketing Makes Sentiment Analysis More Important Than Ever

Memes are always in style – at least in recent times they are! And brands are catching on to the power of these viral visuals, using memes for marketing. This makes sentiment analysis more important than ever, as not all memes are created equal, of course. And they certainly do not apply to all audiences. So, here’s how to sort that out, along with meme “must haves” and “must not” tactics you’ll want to avoid.

Meme Must Haves

If you haven’t seen memes everywhere, you haven’t spent much time online. These trending pics of celebrities, favorite tv shows, current events, unfortunate regular people and confusing mashups of any of those elements, have become viral online more often than any form of content.

And the reasons why they’re so shareable are easy. Good memes are:

Relatable. They capture ubiquitous moments and boil them down to basic components.

Relevant. They work along with your brand’s persona and enhance it in the mind of consumers. For example, chopping onions is something that everyone who cooks can relate to. Some complete the task quickly and move on too other ingredients without a fuss. But others? Not so much. And it’s super relevant, of course:

chopping onions meme used by kitchen utensil brand

Good memes make us laugh. They’re often shockingly hilarious. And that laughter can be uncomfortable, as it comes at someone else’s, or our own, expense.

Sometimes they make us think. A popular misconception around memes is that they always need to be funny. They do not. Some are inspirational quotes accompanied by powerful images that stop us and make us consider our place in the world. And a brand’s place in ours:

memes used for brand marketing

Get at the underlying sentiment. Ever see a meme that captures how you really feel about something? There are endless handy templates to get you started, no need to reinvent the wheel. The trick, of course, is understanding what is truly relatable, relevant and personally impactful to followers. And that requires sentiment analysis, if you want to get it right.

Sentiment Behind Good Meme Marketing

The emotions that memes can capture span the entire human condition, from serious to hilarious. The conversation is extensive and overwhelmingly positive. Exploring social sentiment around memes in general, with a simple search in your sentiment analysis tool, bears this out:

social sentiment around memes in general

You’ll want to understand attributes, emotions and behaviors specific to your audience before creating memes. And you’ll want to know who is influencing them too! Many brands engage with influencers to have them share memes about the brand. This boosts the relatability factor ten-fold (at least).

“According to Bloomberg, brands like Netflix, Uber and JetBlue are turning to meme marketing on Instagram. In many cases, they’re partnering with meme accounts like MyTherapistSays and allowing them to generate memes using their name and logo.

In exchange for surrendering creative control, and anywhere from $7K to $20K per campaign, brands get the opportunity to go viral across social media, . . . Paid memes see engagement rates of about 30% across Facebook and Instagram, far above the rates of 1%-15% seen for influencer or branded content posts.”

Finding influencers is easy in NetBase. Not only that, but you can track how well they’re actually resonating with their followers, so you don’t run the risk of paying big bucks for an inflated follower count 

Power of Authentic Intel

An authentic, properly vetted influencer will enhance the insight you’re able to gather about your target consumers, and add an extra level of assurance around communicating with them appropriately. As their partner, you’ll be capturing their user engagement data as well, after all. And it’s super informative.

tracking how well influencers posts resonate with followers ahead of partnering them with meme promotions

The last thing you want is to touch on a trigger issue unaware. That not only alienates your audience, it makes you appear out of touch and insensitive. And this brings us to the “must not” list . . .

Meme Must Nots

As important as your “must do” list is, there’s an equally important “must not” checklist to keep in mind. Too many brands see their efforts fall flat – or worse, damage their reputation with consumers. This is unfortunate, as a bit of forward-thinking (and this list) could’ve prevented it

Don’t force it. Your competitors are ‘meme marketing,’ so you should too, right? Wrong. Forcing something that feels off is not a good idea. Wait for the right opportunity. If you’re listening to accurate social sentiment insight, it will come and the wait will be worth it.

Humor isn’t always a good fit. Many brands try to be funny and miss the mark. The result can come across unintentionally insulting:

Gucci meme marketing that was somewhat insulting to its audience

Have a point. Why are you making this meme? Ultimately, it really needs to tie back to some point about your brand – support a message or advance a cause that’s key to your mission statement. Otherwise, you’ve been viral for 15 seconds and there was no lasting connection made to your brand, so the real opportunity was lost.

Don’t overdo it. One meme per week is enough, brands. If you’re sharing daily quips, you’re going to dilute your message to the point of absurdity.

And trust that there’s nothing absurd about memes. They’re the next wave in Millennial and Gen Z marketing and your brand needs to master the art of the meme or get left behind.

Just be sure you’re using accurate, transparent next generation AI-powered social insight to inform your efforts or you’ll attract ire instead of accolades. Don’t worry, we got you. Reach out and we can show you how!


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