There is a lot written about definition of a brand. There are hundreds of books and every management thinker worth his salt has a definition of the brand. For very, very long, each one of those definitions have stood the test of time. As it happens always, there are brands that refuse to believe that there is any theory they need to adhere to, and they are rewriting that theory actively.
HUMOUR AT THE CORE
Today, the brand is simply a meme. Meme is “an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations”. Essentially, the word has roots in the Greek word ‘mimea’ and was used by Richard Dawkins in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’.
It does sound like a lot of meme-crap to call brands as nothing but memes! Allow me to explain - some of the most successful brands of today are nothing but memes. Take the new Homelane ad that is running on IPL right now, where MS Dhoni is speaking about #TakaTakChakaChak as the brand promise. For a service that is high involvement, high skill and high financial outlay, this advertising is memorable only because MSD is creating memes about himself.
Have you seen Ranveer Singh and his high energy dance for Jio Broadband? That dance is a caricature of the man, and the only thing that sticks in the consumer’s head is a strange dance and even stranger reaction from cricketers. This is nothing more than a meme in the true sense.
THE KING OF MEMES
The king of memes is the brand called CRED. There is very little that you do not like about the CRED advertising. It’s well crafted, genuinely funny and even a new celebrity like Olympian Neeraj Chopra acts very well. But does the audience even know what the brand is all about? Or is there no need for the brand to tell and the prospective users to know? All they need to say is ‘Download CRED’. What is CRED and why download CRED are conversations that are not needed to be had.
There are many benefits for the brands when they become a meme. The battle for relevance need not be fought at all. If you are an established brand, the brand name will be recalled and your marketing task will be achieved. If you are a new brand, then search will explode and the brand will not need to do anything more. The brand doesn’t need to make claims that will help users either switch or stay with it. Consumers too are very forgiving of brands that are a meme. They consume it for the moment and move on from there.
Maybe this article too is a meme. It may have made you smile, but that’s about all it did. Long live memes!
(The author is Co-founder and CSO, Bang in the Middle)
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