Meme Marketing

How Companies Are Using Memes and Sarcasm to Market to Millennials

By: Schuyler Swanson

In today’s world, technology is king, and the rapid ways in which it has transformed society and life as we know it can be seen everywhere. From self-driving cars to online shopping to electronic toothbrushes, just about every aspect of our lives seems to have been made easier thanks to technology. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Changes brought on by this new technological age have in some ways made things easier for marketers and in other ways made things much more difficult. While reaching consumers has perhaps never been easier in the history of mankind, getting people’s attention on the other hand, is proving to be much harder. The ease of getting information to the consumer has led to consumer’s getting bombarded with so much information they don’t know what to do with it, let alone are able to hardly process it all. According to a 2017 article on Forbes by Jon Simpson, Americans see an average of anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. After reading that number, think to yourself, what was the last 10 ads you saw? Most people probably won’t be able to remember, and that is why attention is so valuable for marketers today. Another problem marketers have been experiencing in this new age is marketing to millennials. A generation who grew up with technology and online advertisements, marketers have had to evolve to adapt to this new generation. There is a great infographic on the USC Dornsife website that breaks down a lot of the ways in which millennials differ from previous generations. A couple of stats that stand out are that when compared to Generation X and the Baby Boomers, millennials make up the smallest percentage of radio listeners, spend the least amount of time watching television, and make up the smallest percentage of magazine and newspaper readers. On the flip side, almost 90 percent of millennials spend time on social media and 82 percent of them interact with brands or retailers on social media. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of millennials follow their favorite brands or retailers on social media and another 38 percent discover brands or retailers on social media. If these numbers are any indicator, the key to reaching millennials may very well be through social media, but it can be a tricky path to take. Appealing to and garnering the attention of millennials on social media platforms while not coming off as robotic, out of touch, or ‘trying too hard’ takes careful balance and a solid understanding of millennial culture, millennial humor, and how millennials think. There have been a few big brands recently, most notably fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s and Burger King, who have been able to pull this off on Twitter using memes, trending jokes, and lots of sarcasm with tremendous amounts of success. Below I have a few of my recent favorite tweets from brands that were able to put up some pretty big numbers.

One of the advantages of brands using social media is the ability and ease it gives them to interact with consumers, customers, or fans almost instantly. This allows them to hear more customer complaints, answer more questions, and as we see here, have fun joking with fans. What’s amazing here is a two word response from SunnyD racked up over 78,000 retweets and 346,000 likes, bringing a lot of traffic and looks to the brand for little to no cost while making people laugh at the same time.

Social media can be a crazy place, and sometimes some of the things we see on there literally make absolutely no sense at all. That’s the humor in it though, it doesn’t have to make sense. Sometimes the more random the better, and Burger King fully embraced that with this tweet.

Another example of this is yet another SunnyD tweet seen above. Something else that is becoming more and more common in this sphere is big brands having regular conversations with other big brands. Not only is it comical to see Pop-Tarts and MoonPie having a random conversation with SunnyD, but it makes the brands appear more friendly, down to Earth, and human to the public.

      Perhaps no one has perfected using social media as a way to better reach millennials as Wendy’s has. They have steadily build up a reputation for roasting people, whether it be an ordinary customer or Mr. Peanut. Some of their tweets may appear to be pushing the boundaries of what we would normally consider is acceptable for a big brand to say in public but we are in a new age. Pushing the boundaries and breaking out of that stereotypical corporate mold helps brands stand out and appear rebellious, something that is very attractive to the younger aged millennials.

In conclusion, social media is likely to continue to play an important part in how brands market towards millennials. It is cheap, efficient, and a lot of the times you don’t even have to actually be promoting or advertising a specific product of yours to grab the attention of consumers. It is not always easy though, as one mishap can lead to a PR nightmare, so while it can be lighthearted and fun, marketing on social media still always needs to be taken as seriously as marketing on any other medium would. Additionally, social media, like technology in general, is always rapidly changing and evolving, so in order to keep the consumers attention on this platform, brands have to be in a constant state of change and development to keep up with the platform and target audiences.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/08/25/finding-brand-success-in-the-digital-world/#40b964e9626e

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Modern Dating Is Kind Of The Worst

Modern dating is kind of the worst. I’ve been catfished by someone I thought was a hot British journalist, been ghosted so hard I question these guys existed to begin with, and recently discovered that I’ve also been a victim of “breadcrumbing.” Don’t know what these terms mean? You’re one of the lucky ones.

Now I’ll be the first one to say that I’m at fault for getting myself into these situations. At one time I had three dating apps on my phone and I would rely on them for the majority of my interactions with the opposite sex. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s addicting.

But what I’ve learned from my friends, and through stories from friends of friends is that we resort to these apps to connect because people simply don’t interact with each other in the same way anymore. We’re so used to hiding behind our screens that the simple act of going up to someone and introducing yourself in person is not only petrifying, it’s unthinkable.

If there’s one belief modern dating has instilled in me is that I am replaceable. You better be absolutely perfect because one wrong move and you’re out of here. You’re left swiped, ghosted, unmatched. You better not seem too interested because then you’re desperate, weird, even crazy. But if you seem too hard to get, he’ll get bored, honey. He can find someone to take your place with the swipe of a finger so you better not mess things up for yourself.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. We normalize the concept of spending time with someone, getting to know each other, giving the impression that we’re interested, and then vanishing without a trace. It’s rude and unfair, but the worst thing about it is I’ve done it right back. Last week I was walking to class when I simultaneously crossed paths with a guy I had ghosted and a guy who had ghosted me. It’s a weird and shitty thing to do, but we continue to do it because we’re scared.

When did we get so scared that ignoring someone until they get the hint has become the norm?

Listen, I’m not here to tell you that romance is dead. I strongly believe that it is alive and out there for those who seek it. Although dating apps have certainly twisted the concept of dating, they are not the issue. The issue is letting our own fear compromise the standard for how we treat others.

Modern dating is exhausting. It can be infuriating to keep up with the games and the new technology created to find your next boyfriend, next hookup or next person you text for a while only to end up constantly making awkward eye contact for the rest of your college career. But modern dating is still dating. It was weird and awkward and scary back in the “good ol’ days” and it’s weird and awkward and scary now. There’s just a few more pixels involved.

 

Written by Michelle Dufflocq Williams

Photography by Adrian Sava

Your Complete Instagram Guide to Missoula, MT

In  today’s day in age, any experience (for the most part) is accompanied by sharing that experience on social media. Missoula, Montana is known for it’s beautiful rivers and mountain ranges, however, it is also considered the cultural center of Montana. With an eclectic downtown scene, distinctive dining and strong sense of community, Missoula has a lot to offer as far as experience, both on and offline.

As an Instagram enthusiast myself, and a believer in the #DoItForTheGram mentality, I am all about curating an aesthetic and a strong social media presence. So I present to you your complete Instagram Guide to Missoula, MT to help you navigate the most aesthetically pleasing AND high quality hot spots around town.

Coffee: Black Coffee Roasting Co. 

img_2902img_2903The winner as far as aesthetics and quality coffee in Missoula goes, is definitely Black Coffee Roasting Co. Not only do they provide organic, craft roasted coffee while operating with sustainability, but they’re ambience is seriously on point. With a hipster-chic vibe and insanely good lighting, this is definitely the spot to go if you want some good latte art on your feed.

Walk in the Park: Greenough Park

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Greenough is a true gem, nestled just up the Rattlesnake and covering 42 acres, it is a peaceful place to go on a bike ride, run or, of course, go take photos. In the fall, Greenough is a paradise of colorful trees and crisp autumn air and a complete winter wonderland once the first snow occurs. It’s also just generally beautiful all year round, so if you want to go on a nice walk while taking amazing photos along the way, Greenough is the park for you.

Eats: Caffe Dolce

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As you may be able to tell, I love a good #FoodPorn flatlay. Caffe Dolce is by far the best spot across the board for breakfast, brunch, lunch AND dinner. Not only taste-wise, but to get a gorgeous food pic with minimal effort. Since Caffe Dolce’s establishment is made up of mainly windows, the lighting will always be perfection. Not to mention their tables are the ideal background color and texture, which is essential for any successful flatlay. Oh yeah, and the food looks pretty good too.

On the Town: Plonk

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As a grandma at heart, I’m no expert on the Missoula going out scene. However, I have to say that Plonk scores major points as far as experience, quality and Instagram-ability goes. The classy, big city atmosphere and gorgeous drink presentation are sure to elevate your feed into #InstagramGoals status.

Shopping: The Hip Strip + NOBO 

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Missoula has an awesome local shopping scene. With an array of unique and high quality boutiques, it’s definitely worth exploring when you get the chance, specifically downtown on The Hip Strip and NOBO (aka North of Broadway.) These areas are abundant with quirky shops, gorgeous boutiques, great places to eat and lots of Insta-worthy alleys tucked away perfect for that #ootd!

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Something Sweet: Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

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I know, I’m a true Big Dipper fan at heart too, however, there is no denying that Sweet Peaks brings it in the aesthetics department as well as well as their super unique ice cream flavors that make you go “huh, that sounds weird but also kind of good so I’ll try it.” If you want to capture a cool cone, venture over to Sweet Peaks. Don’t worry, it’s totally okay to cheat on Big Dipper every once in a while, especially if you get a good gram out of it.

Outside: The “M” Trail

img_2993img_2992 Now, I’ll admit I’ve only ever hiked the “M” in high school gym class, and once on a first date when a boy made me, and I was still in the “pretend to not be high maintenance phase” of the relationship. Needless to say, I don’t hike very much. But Missoula is the place for hikes, hiking and hikers so I had to include some kind of hike in this guide, to prevent getting Birkenstocks chucked at my head. All jokes aside the “M” trail is a beautiful hike, which is accessible to all levels of hiking ability and it takes a pretty damn good picture too, I must say.

 

I hope you enjoyed this Instagram Guide. Now you’re all set to go snap some #goals worthy IGs! But don’t forget to put down your phone to really appreciate the wonderful place that is Missoula, Montana. #Blessed, indeed (hate me yet?)

 

Do you have any favorite spots around Montana that didn’t make this list? Leave me a comment to let me know!

 

Photography by Michelle Dufflocq Williams, Aline Dufflocq Williams, McKenna Munden, Cloth & Crown, Betty’s Divine, Our Life Experiments and the University of Montana.

Social Sharing Can Help Your Business Boom

Right off the bat you may be wondering, “Why would I ever want to create a blog or website?” to which my response would be, “Because you can monetize it!” Setting up a website is more simply done than you may think. It doesn’t take years locked in a dark basement learning how to write code to produce something you can be proud of (I am using WordPress, which is fairly simple and includes tons of useful tools). We all have our own hobbies and interests that we engage in each day, why not try to make a little cash? You may be an artist, a musician, athlete, poet, video gamer; whatever your hobby may be, there is a community of individuals who share that passion. Starting your own website is a great way to build traction within a community and develop awareness of what you do. By creating a blog, and fine tuning it through social media, you will learn more about what you love, you will meet people who share your interest, and you might be surprised to find that you truly enjoy it. Hanging your thoughts out for the world to see can be a little uncomfortable at first, but realizing that people are actually listening is a satisfying reward. Following are a few website creation and sharing tips that I hope can get the creative ball rolling.

Do Your Research, Create Content People Want

Diving in and immediately promoting your interests, or business, may seem like a good first step. However, many of us are overwhelmed and turned off by another’s attempt to sell us something. Your website shouldn’t focus solely on you. Your content should be developed around what potential users find interesting; can you spot any trends? If so, take advantage of trends and catch a wave to success. Do research on your subject, become a knowledgable voice in your field.

Use images to break up chunks of text, and make pages more attractive
Use images to break up chunks of text, and make pages more attractive
Another effective way to position yourself amongst the current big dogs is to watch them. What are their goals, who are they reaching out to, what are their strengths, are they failing to meet a market need on which you can capitalize? By developing a well-rounded understanding of what potential viewers like, or don’t like, you can tailor your content to cater to those needs.

When creating a blog it is important to remember that everything you share doesn’t have to be in print. If you have art you would like to share, heard a great new song (maybe you made one!), or saw a funny video, chances are that others exist in this world who will also find similar content interesting. Don’t be afraid to speak to your audience with passion. You have got to do something to break through the noise of a competitive market. When planning to speak to a group it is important to ask, “Why should they listen?” You have valuable things to say, but so do a million others. Pair that with peoples’ limited time, and it becomes clear that being unique is very important when getting someone to take time away from their day to pay attention. Understand your fans so you can produce something that matters. Be inspirational, be different, and aspire to talk to your audience in a way that is not only interesting, but also valuable enough to share.

Social Media Sharing Can Drive Magical Results

Social media sites are great platforms for sharing with those who are interested in what you do. People today spend a shocking amount of time on their mobile devices, computers, and social media sites. If you are dedicated to providing entertaining content, technology of today allows us to speak to millions at the touch of a button. That is POWERFUL. However, it will not always be easy and you may experience some failures (but that is ok, because they can be fixed). You may be surprised that your sweet new website fits seamlessly into this advantageous ecosystem designed for sharing. Social media is the best way for you to begin developing awareness of your message. Again, messages to your social media community should not be self-promotions. Do not become another advertisement that is ignored by your followers. Trolling for attention is not attractive either, so be mindful of their needs. Plug in to the topics that they are already interested in. Become content that users are excited to see because it provides them value.

Social Sharing
Connectivity across social networks provides great opportunities.

Think of your website/blog as the center of a bike wheel. Social media are the spokes of your wheel. Create social media accounts for your blog, and promote information that is useful to your audience. Link your posts back to your site, and on your site provide links back to your social media. Each piece exists to support the other; and without one, the other loses its potential. Each of these pieces exist as a contribution to a bigger picture, your real life and business. You don’t always need to create all the content you promote. You have friends, and family, who are doing cool things. There are other individuals in your field who are setting trends and influencing change. Share what others’ accomplishments and explain why you think it is cool or relevant. Promoting others generates interest surrounding the topic, which is good for you and good for others. Do not be afraid of elevating the field, because in the process you will elevate yourself. More people genuinely interested in a topic also means more potential ears for you to attract.

Another great feature to social media, and website driven sharing? It is measurable. There is a long list of tools that can be used to measure how interested a community is in your cause. Google and FaceBook both provide software programs that will help you paint a clear picture of the way people consume your content. You can see whether or not people interact with your posts, how long to they spend on your site, where do users typically access your content? These are just the tip of the iceberg of web traffic measurables. Measuring your users interest may seem tedious, and at times painful, but allows for us to make our messages better. Did your last blog post flop? Are visitors rarely visiting more than one page on your site? You can either guess-and-check, say a prayer and hope it fixes itself. Or you, can use simple analytic tools to do better next time. Create your site with an online platform like WordPress, Foursquare, or Wix, and they will likely have plugins that allow you to measure and optimize content. Google has powerful tools for measuring online behavior. Find groups and forums that are have a shared interested in your topic, share your content with them, and use tools to measure who is responding. Provide more content to those who seem inspired. Alter messages so that they aren’t landing on deaf ears. It is smart to deploy two strategies with the same goal, and compare the two. What worked? What didn’t? You can start to play a game of leap-frog toward improvement.

Creating Interest Takes Time, Don’t Get Discouraged

Chances are unlikely that you will create a good blog, link it to your social media, go to bed, and wake up to the new FaceBook. Your content may be spectacular, your messages on point, and you may truly be making an impact on those who are listening; but considerable growth will take time. Hopefully you have chosen to create around something you find enjoyable, because success will require a dedicated involvement. Your content must be consistent; both in what it applies to and your timeliness. If you have begun to generate some interest, you better begin to generate more content! This is where all the available measurement tools come into play. Pay attention to trends, to your audience, and to your instincts. Encourage people to share by creating a community, and providing that community with something they enjoy. At first it may seem daunting, but as the pieces begin to fall into place it becomes pretty cool. You just mind find that in the process of providing others with something they enjoy, you can stumble upon something new and surprising that you enjoy. When you find it, pursue it. Don’t give up, just get better.

Be patient, and listen to feedback, while growing followers.
Be patient, and listen to feedback, while growing your followers.

If you are interested in more content regarding individual growth, and business development, please check out my blog @ Protect Our Roots