Last week I blogged about memes as a means of branding. Memes are icons or phrases with universal meaning such as the red cross of the Red Cross organization.
I suggested that some marketing advisors embraced the idea of associating a product or service with an existing meme such as Prudential has done with the Rock of Gibraltar. I then stated that Iâ€™d be very careful in associating your brand â€“ or incorporating a meme into your brand as Prudential has done â€“ because the meme by its very definition is not unique.
I still hold to this premise. But I must expand my thoughts to say that a meme can be a really powerful brand element or association if youâ€™ve created it. In other words, if youâ€™ve established and promoted your brand through a unique graphic, audio or text element that has become a meme through your presentation of it, and through peopleâ€™s acceptance of it, youâ€™ve got a winner.
Another way to say it: youâ€™re practicing viral marketing. (As an aside, is it a coincidence that viral and virile have the same root?)
So if youâ€™ve created â€œwhereâ€™s the beef?â€, or a bald-headed, house-cleaning genie, or â€œyouâ€™ve got mailâ€, you may be gaining brand equity. (Just a warning, though, the toy bunny with a drum is most often associated with Duracell even though he belongs to Energizer Holdings.)
Still, finding a unique way to express the essence of your brand is vital, whether that icon or tagline ever becomes an authentic meme.