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Brands have realised the power of memes to market their products and services to audiences online. Today, more and more brands want to create highly-shareable memes and viral videos or sketches that cleverly integrate brand-related messages. They approach original content makers and the owners of highly-popular social media pages to create and distribute these memes and videos on their platforms, to be assured of organic reach for this content. However, making memes to effectively promote a brand is not as easy as it seems. It requires expertise and if not planned and executed properly, brands can come across many challenges along the way. Here are some of the challenges branded meme creators are likely to face:

‘Clean’ humour vs sarcastic, provocative content

Let’s face it, not everything on the internet is tasteful. Content that is snarky, sarcastic, or not-so-decent gets shared widely. And memes that have a double meaning or indulge in some adult humour also become very popular. However, when it comes to creating a meme for a brand, creators have to be very careful and adhere to brand guidelines. Most brands will not want to be associated with provocative messages, don’t want to use slang, and do not wish to offend anybody. Hence, the challenge is to create sketches and memes that are ‘clean’, wholesome and family-friendly, yet funny and likely to appeal to audiences widely. This is a balancing act that requires a lot of skill and creativity.

Niche vs massy appeal

Virality is achieved only when a piece of content is highly-shareable. A lot of people must find a meme relatable enough to forward to their friends, co-workers and family members. This poses a challenge when we are approached by a very premium brand with a very niche audience. We have to create interesting memes keeping in mind both the requirements of the brand, and the tastes of our audience. Over time, we have learnt to work within these constraints and deliver clever content that will be still be understood and appreciated by a mass audience.

Direct plug vs subtle brand message integration

Many times, brands approach meme creators and video makers with a very specific requirement to integrate their brand message directly, upfront and centre. For example, a brand may insist on a mention of its discount/promotional offer in the first 10 seconds of a video, or a clear logo or brand slogan displayed prominently in a meme. The challenge with this is to create a direct association without putting off audiences. A recent Forbes article said, “According to a recent study conducted by the McCarthy Group, 84% of millennials said that they did not like traditional marketing and, what’s more, they didn’t trust it.” Integrating an offer too early on in a video can lead audiences to drop off, reducing engagement, and aggressively-branded memes may not be shared as readily by audiences. So as branded meme makers, we tread a thin line and need to create content that packages a brand message, places a product, or pushes a promotional message, smartly.

Catching the trend-wave, fast

While creating memes or topical videos and ‘on-trend’ articles, time is of the essence. Imagine you are a brand that wishes to ride on the FIFA wave with posters that refer to the football match from the night before; you will need to partner with an agile and creative team that can quickly create memes after the match, overnight, so that topical content is ready to be distributed in minutes or hours after the event. We partner with brands and have entire teams on standby, watching trends on Twitter, breaking news, and keep a close eye on happenings in the country and around the world, to leverage the most juicy and viral happenings of the day to create memes that are sure to be seen, liked and shared. By becoming a part of the conversation as it happens, brands can leverage the full power of memes and build social currency via current videos and sketches.

But the good news is that all this hard work pays off. The digital medium offers immediate feedback so brands can quickly pivot and change their strategy if need be. And the measurability of the online medium means it is completely transparent. As a brand manager, you know exactly how your money is working for you, and at a glance you can track clicks, views, shares, and conversions so you can ensure that your meme-based marketing campaign is getting you the maximum reach within your budget.

 (Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)