Memes for Marketing: A Nah or A Yah?

Have memes become a little too much?

The dictionary describes the word meme as;

meme
miːm/pronounciation
noun
 
  1. 1.
    an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.
  2. 2.
    an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.

I will concentrate on (2), and that was what it was when first we got acquainted to memes. Some people going ahead to pronounce them as “Meeme( Like how it would be pronounced in Luganda to mean throat…). Memes served their purpose, and they still do.. They have as much power to leave your eyes welled with tears and your teeth plastered on your face.

The reason I give rein to this post however is how memes have obliterated creativity; especially with professionals and social media influencers hoping onto the wagon. It is rather disheartening that what started as a wave of creativity has now sadly translated into the norm as a way to target audiences.. See when first this kind of approach was introduced to marketing; one looked at a campaign or a poster and immediately- it spoke of minds at work. They were tactical well thought up ideas to communicate to the elite community, and now memes to campaigns feel like a sea of lazy minds.

Well this is my opinion; Memes tagged to campaigns relay the message of un-professionalism— A lot more than you can imagine.
Overtime, I have been keen with the performance of some campaigns I have seen on various social media platforms. They start off on a high note, with people interested, some even going ahead to give the campaign a genuine shout-out, and then as though cold wind from the North, a meme, then two, and before you know it, the timeline is covered in all sorts of text, captioned pictures and videos of humor. It is undeniable how people following, especially the ones the campaign was designed to target, even the ones whose interest was piqued, then withdraw.

Now here is the Ugly truth, the one most people want to tell you but don’t see the reason as to why they should anyway; 

  1. Memes will go before you and communicate of your un-professionalism
  2. Memes most definitely taint the brand’s image
  3. Where is the creativity in memes again? Or lets say, where is the creativity in hoping onto something that is already engineered?
  4.  How often have you attended, purchased, a product, concert that’s been marketed with memes?

I am always about brand perception; What people think about a brand will stem from their marketing, from the appeal they experience with the brand, and (especially in these times) what goes up on their social media.
To taint an image comes easier than building it up. And lately with over the top stats reporting how helpful it is to hit the mainstream audience by using influencer marketing, companies are out-sourcing a bunch of influencers on a low budget hoping they can push their agenda—some are not very conversant with content creation and therefore do as they please, sell the brand with memes, have people like and laugh, retweet and share without as much clicks to the company’s websites or ROI.

Mid last year, I ran a campaign with influencers on board, I sought mileage but also that the campaign accomplishes a set target. I created a whats-app group to ease communication as well as share artwork and text(typically cheating exams for them). When we rolled off the campaign, I was perplexed at how these “renowned influencers” executed– It was funny in the beginning but it got monotonous, irritating and as things turned out, the funny messages overshadowed the content. None of these people used the Website links I shared, none read the articles regarding the product that I wanted to communicate about— Content Vs Memes was 4% and 96% respectively. Much as I called off the campaign, I realized that not many people hold dear a brand’s reputation as they do this influencing. Brand image is such a big deal, whatever a brand is related to in any space can be categorized as either gold, silver, bronze, wood or unfortunately as hay and stubble– very expensive or very cheap!!

For someone that is still wondering about memes– here is where a person gets a funny picture or video, captions it in relation to a campaign or an entity and sends it out, yes– I do not refute that back in the day they excellently marketed however lately too many cooks are adding salt to the same sauce, it is now absurdly bitter and they don’t seem to realize that much.

And much as many people will sell you the idea of brand visibility which is very important for any entity, company, project… et cetera, it is important what the brand is visible for. The growing tendency of social media managers, heads of content, and marketing officers letting jokes related to their brand slide, in the end costs much more than their budgets may intend to provide for— i mean would why would you be casual with a pool of jokes from your influencer’s list much less on your timeline are selling jokes? Visibility is very important but let it leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Again, I don’t underestimate the mind of creatives but like the seasons King Solomon speaks about in Ecclesiastes, the clouds cleared and now it is about time we embrace the sun.
My word of advise is; choose your social media managers/influencers wisely. Recently, an online acquaintance shook a table–in his post, he boldly stated “Lately every unemployed person is an Influencer”, this did not go down well with the majority and some were stifled out of “kamooli” to engage him. Nonetheless, if we get back to the drawing table; social media influencers/managers are people task their brain to create content for the online platforms, and maybe the question should be how many people are geared towards creativity and not settling with the wagon? We can not deny that like other offices, this too was infiltrated with many people that may not fully understand the nooks of social media and because of them, the public then carries a stereotype that denies the creatives their deserved recognition.
Lastly, at organisational level,  do not settle for cheap, expensive is worth it in the long-run. Use every opportunity to communicate for your benefit;  and whoever you choose to do that on your behalf should do you justice.

Always remember, even the smallest choice shall determine how your audience perceives your brand.

Imagine this post full of memes though

my-life-has-meaning-now

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Leave me your thoughts in the comment section… I would love to hear them. Thank you!!

Are Boda companies restoring the order that had long eluded Traffic Officers?

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Photo by; Pius Enywaru

Safe boda, Uber boda, Taxify and the latest baby, Dial Jack have revolved talk about Motorist transportation around Uganda’s Capital. Want to evade traffic, are you in a hurry?, you are just an app away/ an order away, to say the least.
Over the years, there has been a growing trend of motor accidents, particularly because the boda riders are reckless in the sense they seem to not have the patience to wait until the lights flash green, they without consideration of the passenger will just speed at the junctions as though it is child’s play, and as a result, majority of lives have been lost in a twinkle of an eye.
Social media platforms quicken means as to how people respond to queries through hashtags and campaigns,  and that was the case when Entebbe Municipality MP Tumusime Rosemary lost her daughter, Doreen Tashobya and a one Patrick Businge in a motor accident where the boda boda the two were riding on collided with an Isuzu lorry carrying Sand in June 2016. Social media was awash with heartrending pictures that were taken of the deceased by onlookers. That started the #RideWithAhelmet move and what was initially a cry of the few spread like a wildfire; everyone calling out to youths that were the majority users of boda bodas to purchase helmets.
It was not long before holding helmets was not only classy and trendy but also a result of the #RideWithAHelmet campaign among young people. But a short while after, the consumers then started to complain of how expensive the helmets were.

Simultaneous to the helmet campaign, Uganda Police also intensified arrests of boda men that rode with no helmet and an extra one for their passenger all in a bid to reduce deaths and lethal damages caused by collisions between road users. This is no-longer an occurrence you will see being done by traffic officers

And that is how Rapa Thomson Ricky alongside his colleagues Maxime and Alastair founded  a community of entrepreneurs and boda drivers working together to improve professional standards across the urban transportation industry in Africa.

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I speak for Safeboda because it offered me my first experience off this digital motor-boda experience. They picked up the idea; sold it to some boda men, told them of their vision and how they would be benefiting being part and parcel of it and like all marketing downs; some bought into the idea and other boda men shunned it. The community of Safeboda riders has since grown and therefore has there been a birth of several other companies.
And now, at every junction, you will see either light green, orange, or black and white reflector jackets all waiting until the traffic lights permit them to go. And (un)luckily for the freelance Boda Bodas, they have to wait too because more often they are blocked, and now what was a swarm of boda bodas speeding past the traffic lights is an order, an organization and respect of life.

This month last year, I was over in Kigali, Rwanda and (don’t you be rolling your eyes on me already) I was mesmerized at what I saw–the order, the respect, the non-complacency and a people that adhere to the rules. Man, that hit hard, because where I was coming from, you dictated how you sat on a boda boda and whether or not you wanted that helmet on your head–most customers do not!! And yet here I was, in a foreign land and yes, the rules were that if you wanted to use the boda boda, you had to sit with your legs across and with an helmet on– Such a challenge

And now here is Uganda, what the state should have implemented for the safety of its people, the boda companies are and much as they are baby steps, I am very persuaded they will work. If the main intent is to reduce the soaring number of deaths by road accidents, this will work if the proprietors of these start-ups inject as much determination in making it work, when they focus on how much impact they are creating in society, it will definitely work.

Get to Know about the different Boda Companies, and perhaps go ahead and download!

Stranded, how about you Dial Jack?

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Access the SafeBoda website

And lately, have I seen an animation with Apass Narrating how Uber works?.. Must have been so.. I have personally not used the app, so I am not in position to tell all about it.. However read about it and download it here–> uber

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And lastly, Taxify— Everyone close to me uses this app. I was out there minding my business when a message from a friend from my close circle goes like “Chic, do you know Taxify charges half the price of a normal Boda? A journey that would cost you UGX.4000 would be UGX. 2000? Hahaha,,, with these numerous taxes coming up, check out the Taxify, it might turn out to be your fave app..

Just Incase you have any doubts; These Boda riders are taken through thorough training on how to handle customers. They are given first aid training, customer care and relations training too as well as groomed on issues of appeal. That is why the service provider will email you seeking feedback on how your ride went— you have all right to report misconduct, mistreatment and anything that does not satisfy you as a client.

With that said—get your favorable app today and avoid any unforesightedness..