Emojis, abbreviations and memes: Forward progress or backwards slide?

I admit, my initial inclination was towards the latter. But as I paused to reflect on the driving forces behind them—the desire for simplicity, speed, connection—and their influence on marketing campaigns, I arrived at the conclusion that there are several “truths” that twine them all together:

Truth #1: A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words.

In marketing, there’s often a predilection to over-explain things. The more words, the better. Really SELL the reader on what you’re pitching. And as a writer myself, I naturally gravitate to words. But the prolific use of memes and emojis in social media suggests that a succinct, well-constructed piece of creative can speak volumes. A potent potion of words and images that conveys in moments what paragraphs alone cannot.

In business, the lesson translates this way: Challenging ourselves as marketers to find the simplest, most effective way to connect with our audiences. Focus more on THEIR needs and less on OUR products. Demonstrate how our “wares” make life better for them. It requires a disciplined approach to putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes and critiquing every image and every word through their eyes. It’s not an easy task, but the payoffs can be huge.

Truth #2: Memes get to the point—quickly.

Social media tools have become the new shorthand in the digital age. They convey in 10 seconds or less what would probably have taken 20 characters or more to write—and even more importantly, require less time for the recipient to digest. And let’s face it, who has an extra five minutes to spare these days?

Someone once told me: “Simple is hard.” I couldn’t agree more. Creative should be intuitive and resonate with the audience instantaneously—no small feat. For copywriters, this means leading with benefit statements and leveraging a thesaurus for those perfect synonyms. In design, it requires originality and choosing powerful visuals that propel the message forward. Getting to a final piece that gets to the point quickly can take time at first but, once the habit has formed, will come much more readily in the future.

Truth #3: Great creative inspires action.

How many times have you re-tweeted/posted a clever meme? It appealed to your sensibilities, so you just had to share it with others? Such is the power of effective creative.

Cutting through the clutter in today’s crowded space isn’t easy. There is no shortage of distractions and demands. And while many online campaigns include remarketing efforts that shepherd customers through to purchase, we must first create those strong initial impressions. Strategically designed creative can combat customers’ decision paralysis and spring them into action. (For more on the topic, read this article by Forbes: The Science of Decision Making.)

In Short: MIM (Make it Memorable)

While memes and emojis probably aren’t the best marketing vehicles for your organization, the principles behind them can serve as good guideposts:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it short.
  • Make it memorable.

Whether working with your company’s internal creative team or an outside agency, remember to act as your audience’s advocate when reviewing creative. Apply these principles, look at the work through the customers’ lens, and ask yourself, “Is this truly meme-orable?”

And if you’re looking for fresh, results-oriented creative, contact DepartmentC today to learn how we can help you create killer creative campaigns: creative@departmentc.com

Don’t forget to connect with DepartmentC on social for more meme-spiration!