Are you looking to generate more interest in your business, and stand out from the competition? In this increasingly competitive business environment, it takes more than just letting people know what it is you do. You must communicate your unique talents and abilities in a way that really shows them off. Word of mouth and referrals are the lifeblood of successful businesses, and it takes meaningful and compelling actions to get noticed, remembered and recommended.
If you’re new to business, you’ve likely been told that you should develop a catchy name and tagline, as well as develop an elevator speech and eye-catching headlines. However, we’re not all inclined in this way and can find that putting in hours of effort may not result in any change. If that sounds familiar, here are a few ideas you can use to create marketing messages that hit home and get you noticed.
What you need to know is that powerful marketing conveys a message far deeper than just the words used to spell it out. Structuring that message is essential, but often overlooked. What do I “meme?” In the 1970s, Richard Dawkins, a biologist from Oxford, introduced the idea of a meme into our culture. Similar to a gene, the concept is self-replicating. While memes don’t replicate biologically, they get passed on through the sharing of ideas. The basic unit of cultural transmission, prime examples are songs, slang words, and fashions. Memes propagate by leaping from brain to brain via imitation.
In the mid-1990s, another book, “Rapid Response Advertising” by Australian advertising expert Geoff Ayling, builds the case for the importance of memes in marketing and advertising, arguing it is the missing piece of the big puzzle. He stated that a meme “operates through the process of chunking complex concepts or ideas down into a simple, easily communicable unit.” This is ideal for marketing messages, which can be constructed as memes to communicate the benefits quickly and easily, enticing increased exposure and business.
Marketing memes accomplish four things:
- They actively transfer specific information.
- They’re immediately and obviously beneficial.
- They’re ultra-simple.
- They’re easy to remember and pass along.
When all of these elements are in place, marketing memes work like magic. Imagine you’re at a party and have just used your marketing meme to answer an enquiry about what you do for a living. Perhaps the person asking doesn’t need your services, but understands immediately what you’re talking about. Half an hour later, they approach you with a friend in tow, introducing them as someone who can benefit from what you offer. When memes are developed and delivered effectively, this happens frequently.
This is a prime example of why the concept of a meme can be applied to virtually any marketing message. People will be able to understand you easily, and you’ll attract more attention, interest and business. Don’t worry about clever slogans and witty catch phrases. Clarity, simplicity, brevity, and descriptiveness are the key to making direct and memorable connections.
It’s also good to know what a meme isn’t. They are not just a goofy slogan or play on words. In fact, a dead meme is one that confuses – we’ve all seen them in magazines and on billboards. Memes offer clarity, and are easy to remember. Dead memes leave you saying “huh?” before you forget about them entirely.
Without having to figure anything out, the message should hit home for your audience right away. Headlines, taglines and slogans aren’t always meme worthy, but they can be. Use vastly successful companies such as Federal Express as inspiration, and create a meme for your business that communicates the benefits you offer just as powerfully as their slogan does.
Memes can be used whenever you need to communicate what your business does quickly and effectively. They’re easy, they highlight the benefits to the customer and they prompt a response. If that response isn’t immediate, it’ll be in the near future as effective memes are easily recalled.
So how do you discover your inner meme? Explain what is so special about your talent or service. What makes you different from everyone else. Think of what will have immediately appeal to your target demographic and give them an added bonus.
Marketing memes can be worked in in various ways. You might be able to slip one into the name of your company. They’re especially effective in taglines, or in audio logos, which are brief versions of elevator speeches that you say out loud when you get asked what you do.
Memes are, of course, also incredibly useful in headlines for adverts, flyers and letters. They’re also great to use in presentations. In each circumstance, your meme might be presented a bit differently, but should always communicate a similar message with impact and simplicity.
So how do you cook up a powerful meme for your business? It’s an art form in some ways, but there are a few basic guidelines:
- Ask what your clients get as a result of using your services.
- Don’t worry about the wording initially, just brainstorm.
- Broaden your thinking and consider working with a group of friends or clients who are familiar with what you do.
- Take longer, core ideas and break them down to get at the essentials you want to communicate.
- Revise, revise, revise and your message will become snappier.
- Consider both solving a problem and offering a solution. You may be able to work in both, or choose one over the other, but do so consciously.
- You’ve got a meme!
Once your meme is developed, it’s time to test drive its effectiveness. But how will you know whether it’s working? If it’s eliciting positive responses, is generating follow-up questions and encouraging dialogue.
Consider this. When you get asked what you do, say, “I have a company called _______. We help ________.” If the response is that of interest, insinuating “that’s great!” “More businesses need that!” or “You should talk to my friend, the director of ________ business.” It’s a good indication you’re on the right track.
However, if the response is asking what you mean, or why companies or consumers need what you offer, chances are your meme could use a little more work.
A meme is the core expression of your business, which is why you want to use it everywhere possible. Make it the tagline for your business cards and stationery. Put it in your email signature. Even answer the phone with it. Remember, memes are designed to help prospective clients understand what you can offer them. With a little work, anyone can create a powerful meme for his or her business. Start with a core question “what are the results you produce for your clients?” Next, refine it to a simple and memorable phrase. Finally, apply it to all your marketing mediums.
Highly effective marketing messages describe the benefits of a business in a way that is simple, straightforward, and easily recalled. Write down a few sentences that describe what your business provides. Break them down to the absolute essentials. And once it’s ready, use it! Incorporate it everywhere, and when people ask what you do, use it as a way to start a conversation.