Tag Archives: branding

Sh*t Memes Say About Your Brand

From the Sh*t Girls Say video series, to Big Birdbinders and bayonets images created during the internet memesrecent U.S. presidential debates, Internet memes have become an extremely popular way to influence and participate in social discourse and pop culture.

There have been a lot of articles written lately about what it means for a brand to “memejack” or hitch a ride on a popular meme to raise awareness and associate your product with a cultural idea that has spread virally.

How memes can help or hinder your marketing efforts

A lot of meme marketing success relies on timing and execution. When used properly, memes can help a brand to resonate with a particular audience, making its personality seem more humorous, playful or youthful in nature. When done wrong, the joke can turn very quickly on your brand and potentially damage your company’s reputation.

Even worse, a brand could get innocently dragged into a meme, forcing companies to react quickly to control the narrative.

Below is a look at some recent meme marketing hits, misses and innocent bystanders of 2012.

When a marketer hits it out of the park

A ‘memenouncement’: Rather than issue a press release in May 2012, SEOmoz, an SEO software company, used a series of memes (with images of the Dos Aquis “most interesting man in the world” character, Willy Wonka and Jean Luc Picard) to illustrate its recent success in raising $18 million in series B funding. Check out thefull memenouncement here which received a lot of positive reviews.

Memevertising: Often, viral images or YouTube videos become memes and inspire marketers to create ads that resonate with the message. A recent example is Virgin Mobile’s Success Kid campaign which ran earlier this year. The company did a great job tying the marketing message to the meme which represents either “success or frustration,” according to KnowYourMeme.com.

When good memes go bad

Poor timing or taste: Some brands are often just too late to the meme marketing party. For example, there were hundreds of parodies created of the Sh*t Girls Sayvideo series that launched in late 2011/early 2012. The brands that followed the trend early on got lots of positive reactions from their customers and followers (like this video for Sanuk Footwear). Those that posted videos much later, or didn’t quite hit the mark, seemed either offensive or caused Sh*t People Say fatigue. This parody video says it all.

Mixed messages: Earlier this year, McDonalds tried to create its own meme and get people to share nostalgic stories about Happy Meals with the Twitter hashtag #McDStories. Unfortunately, as Forbes puts it, the hashtag became a “bashtag,” where many people used the opportunity to air their customer service complaints and other grievances about the fast-food restaurant chain.

When your brand is just an innocent bystander

Amazon and Avery binders:Shortly after U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney mentioned in the second televised debate (this past October) that he had been given “binders full of women” to hire for his cabinet when serving as governor of his state,fake customer reviews started popping-up on Amazon.com product pages for Avery binders.

While many of the jokes about binders were hilarious, it’s tough to say whether the reviews helped or hurt the brand’s reputation. According to this article, the company’s stock price closed lower on the NYSE on the days following the debate. However, the company reacted a shortly after the hoax by posting a joke on its Facebook page, saying “we’re hearing a lot about binders today!”

This tongue-in-cheek comment garnered lots of likes and showed that the company was being “good sports” about the incident.

These are just a few examples to get you thinking about how meme marketing could work for your business. Do you have any best practices to share? Please post them below.

A version of this post was originally published on the Jugnoo blog in November 2012 and has been republished with permission.
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The end of online display ad sales as we know it?

Yesterday, AdAge.com published an article indicating that Facebook advertising sales growth is projected to decline year-over-year – from 104% growth thisImage of a road sign indicating a new direction year to 21% growth in 2013. While 21% year over year growth is still good, it’s quite a significant drop from 104% two years prior. However, this doesn’t spell the end for Facebook’s revenue growth. The company is actually seeing a rapid increase in year-over-year sales for “Facebook credits.”

What this data might indicate is that there is a limit to how fast a company can scale the growth of display advertising revenue from brand-focused advertisers online. You see, many advertisers who are focused on “performance advertising” have seen a decline in click-through rates on Facebook ads over the years. At the same time, the cost-per-click for those ads has gone up. As a result, performance-driven advertisers have become less interested in Facebook campaigns.

While Facebook claims that it is making a play for branding and social CRM dollars vs. performance ad revenue, they haven’t quite yet figured out the best way to monetize social display advertising. As a result, it may be harder to scale brand advertising the same way that performance advertising can be scaled to date.

So, where is the lion’s share of online advertising dollars going today? While search and e-mail remain the most reliable channels for generating high ROI, there’s a new game in town that could turn the “traditional” online display advertising industry on its head. That game is called Ad Exchanges – which are basically platforms on which you can buy and sell display ads in real-time via an auction (similar to stock exchanges). This new method of media buying could change the rules and roles for all parties involved – including the ad agencies and media sales reps.

Over the past few months, I’ve met a lot of technology, media and analytics companies who are looking to get into this space. It’s definitely a trend worth watching. For more information about Ad Exchanges and how they could change the industry, check out this article entitled “Don’t Look Now: Classic Disruption Is Taking Place In Advertising,” from AdAge.com.

Stay tuned for future stories about this growing trend.

Canadian Crowdsourcing Superheroes

crowd at a Toronto FC gameMany people have heard of popular crowdsourcing businesses like Threadless and CrowdSpring. However, you may not have heard of some of Canada’s budding companies in this arena. I thought it was worth noting some of the Canadian superheroes who are leading the charge in developing crowdsourcing technologies to support market research efforts.

The benefits of why a brand may want to crowdsource for future marketing and product innovations are simple. Companies are able to harness the wisdom of the social web and engage with groups of people to define and refine what they need to do next as a brand. Here’s an outline of two emerging Canadian crowdsource-focused research companies.

1. ChaordixChaordix is an enterprise-based crowdsourcing software platform and service. According to their website, the Chaordix platform was developed out of their own crowdsourcing research efforts – with input from a 50,000 member crowd. Their enterprise platform helps companies to uncover product innovations and consumer insights. Chaordix’s definition of crowdsourcing is “a way of engaging groups of people to submit, discuss, refine and rank ideas and submissions for a specific question posed by an organization.”  Here is a link to a video produced by Chaordix which explains why crowdsourcing matters.

2. TrendHunter – TrendHunter.com boasts that they are the world’s most popular trend website. They gather hot trend information from the “collective insight of 42,000 crowdsourced trend experts.” With millions of views of data, TrendHunter is able to identify which trends are about to take off. Their founder, Jeremy Gutsche, recently published an award-winning book entitled Exploiting Chaos. This book helps to explain how companies can spark innovation during times of change.

Here’s a video from TrendHunterTV which explains how their platform works to help companies to identify the hot trends in their industry:

Both of these companies were listed as part of Canada’s top 20 hottest technology companies last year by the Canadian Innovation Exchange. It will be interesting to see where they both end up in a year from now.