Era of Memes and Marketing
In this meme culture, how brands & individuals are elevating it as a powerful marketing strategy - with Dagobert Renouf
Hey everyone👋, welcome to the 32nd newsletter.
Remember how that one picture of Senator Bernie Sanders at the US inauguration last year became an overnight meme? Or that “Choose the happy side of life!" cartoon created by Brazilian Genildo Ronchi in 2013 became The happy side, sad side bus meme in 2021. Or the most meme-able show Spongebob Squarepants.
Or how Elon Musk is using memes to help his business revenues and strategy. For him - “Who controls the memes, controls the universe”.
There are endless examples of how memes became part of our life, not limited to companies and marketing teams intensively using them to engage with their customers/audience. And sometimes leading to backlash and creating a bad image for themselves.
In my opinion,
Memes are new generation means of communication.
They spread like wildfire.
They are created with lots of meaning in a form of pictures, GIFs and videos.
They are invincible and dominating the internet effectively.
But their lifespan is small, only some last through a year or so, rest drys off in a few days.
Should or not marketing teams use them?
It’s so frustrating that we can’t fully predict if a meme will go viral or not. As it’s more connected to people’s emotions, it can sometimes negatively affect the brand’s image if the message is delivered in the wrong way.
Though it’s a ride or die at times, memes do significantly help build (or tarnish) a brand’s image. There are companies that hire or have open job roles to create memes. It can be seen how it impacts today’s economy or say Web3 world.
If your marketing team is considering memes as mainstream, it needs to be executed fast. Speed is crucial to make a meme last long, it’s a matter of being in the show altogether or being last.
There are endless communities, Reddit groups, forums, and places to find and give exposure to memes. Sites like ImgFlip and Canva help people create them.
Memes are the best form of free advertisement.
As we are talking about memes and marketing, I have a very good friend of mine, Dagobert Renouf, who use memes and marketing as mainstream on Twitter to build his personal brand and in some way or less it impacts his brand - Logology (get customized logo in 5 minutes). Here’s a little chit-chat with him 👏.
Ritika: Let’s start with how your day-to-day life looks like being a founder?
Dagobert: I built some very strong habits over the last few months, and every day pretty much looks the same. I spend 2.5 hours in the morning engaging with people on Twitter. Then I have lunch and will spend the afternoon (4h) either writing tweets ahead of time (I schedule them) or working on my product (Logology). Then I spend 1 more hour in the evening engaging with people on Twitter.
Ritika: That’s a really good amount of time you spend on Twitter. How did you find your distribution channel for your product?
Dagobert: I basically tried everything under the sun until something worked. I started with Google ads -> failed. Then sponsored newsletters -> failed. So then I started participating in communities like Indie Hackers, Product Hunt and r/startup or r/saas (on Reddit). I got a few sales but nothing that could scale. Then one day I replied to someone’s tweet about how I had built my website, and it got semi-viral which led to a couple of sales on the same day. I was hooked and realized Twitter could be a legit distribution channel for me. I only had 150 followers back then but decided to spend more time on it, since I had no better ideas left at this point. And as I grew my audience and connected with more founders there, sales of my startup started growing too. Then I committed to it full time for the next 6 months (8h per day at the time).
Ritika: 8 hours per day🤯? It looks like a complete job. I can say, after being connected to you for a long time now, your efforts are highly visible. Especially what hooks me is your Memes and how your audience is able to connect your memes with you and your brand.
Dagobert: So it’s actually not the memes that help me the most with marketing my startup. My best performing tweets (in terms of site traffic or engagement) by far are the stories I tell about my startup. This is what gets people curious and through the door. I only did memes for fun at first, and I wanted to challenge myself to make 1 every day. But the funny thing is that people started knowing me for it, as it was pretty unique in « startup Twitter » to do so many memes. And now it’s literally my brand and a big reason why people follow me. So memes don’t directly help with marketing my startup. But they do help build a personal brand that people enjoy and have fun with, and then they get the awareness of my startup through other tweets I post. However, the memes do help directly with conversion, as I noticed humour is really good at connecting emotionally with people. Once someone had a laugh at one of my memes, they can’t help but trust me and my startup. So whenever they’re on the market for a logo, they just immediately go to use my product.
Ritika: Thanks for sharing your wisdom - 3 key advice that you would like to share about marketing.
It's not what you think it is. Marketing isn’t about ads or landing pages, it’s about connecting with another human being. So if you start interacting with someone online and then connect with them, boom that’s marketing. Because now they trust you and are open to any message you want to reach them with. « Marketing » is just doing that on a bigger scale. But deep down it’s nothing more than that.
It is just like building a good product: marketing takes a lot of time and experimenting. So don’t think you can just spend 2 years building your product then marketing in 2 weeks. It won’t work. It will take you months and years to figure out the perfect positioning / messaging / distribution channel. So treat it as something equally important to the other aspects of building a product/business.
It’s easier than you think, so get started now. This goes back to point 1 where marketing = connecting with another person. You don’t need an incredibly advanced strategy to get results. My first win was just replying to someone’s tweet with a link to my website, I got lucky and got 2 sales in 24 hours from that. Don’t overthink it and just start talking about your stuff. Take baby steps to get more comfortable, and if you do it every day… eventually you’ll call yourself a « marketer ».
In the end, in the case of individual person actively sharing meme and their audience can remember them because of the same reason. It’s safe to say your brand, which is connected to you, will directly see the effects of it - maybe in a good or bad way.
“Also, I want to be clear that a flamethrower is a super terrible idea. Definitely don’t buy one. Unless you like fun.” — Elon Musk on his social media, 2018.
After this tweet, the Flamethrowers were sold out. Twenty thousand flamethrowers at $500 a pop meant about $10 million in revenue in about 100 hours. He didn’t have to do much marketing, just a sarcastic tweet was enough.
👋 PS: I’m Ritika founder, product marketer and advisor for early-stage startups, find more here or connect with her here. If you’re a first-time founder looking for curated resources, download here. If you enjoyed this post, read the past issues here. You can also promote your product in this newsletter.
A big thanks for reading & sharing!
thanks for waking people up to the power of memes 🔥