by Luis Marquez
Once seen as juvenile and immature, GIFs and memes are now a staple in a lot of brands’
social media strategy. These new tools have shown the potential of showing much more
emotion, feeling, and humor than your run of the mill emoji. They’re a great way for any brand to
gain exposure because they demand more attention than your average picture or graphic.
In 2015, people on Twitter shared over 100 million GIFs to further express and communicate
amongst themselves. GIFs have become so popular among the population that both Twitter and
Facebook had to create their own GIF search engines.
We live in a new age where people don’t want to be advertised to, they don’t want to watch
commercials or see ads all over the place, they just want the stuff to be there and they’ll
somehow get the stuff. For a company or organization, that puts them in a tough position. How
are they supposed to market and sell to these people without marketing or selling? Well, you
hide your tactics in GIFs and memes.
Audiences, especially young audiences, want humor from a brand, they want brands that don’t
take themselves too seriously and can have some fun. Also, with attention span being at an all-
time low, GIFs and memes, make consumers stop for a bit and recollect the information that
brands are putting out there. It’s a cunning ruse, but it’s an effective way to get a message out
while still not necessarily advertising and selling. If a brand can engage audiences with a
moving image that says it all in five seconds or less, then they’re doing something right; high
reward, minimal effort.
Also, it’s not just about selling anymore, it has become bigger than that. Companies and brands
now have to start a conversation and engage with their consumers and potential consumers.
Memes and GIFs are exceptional conversation starters and always have potential to go viral
with the ability to give brands thousands of impressions and instantaneous free publicity.
GIFs and memes have increasingly become popular in the sports world. The sports world has
adopted the usage of GIFs and memes as if they were the inventors of the medium. The sports
world really is the perfect fit for GIFs and memes though. There is always something happening
in sports that can use GIFs or memes, the NBA, for example, has a culture that has been
intertwined with memes, like the crying Michael Jordan meme or the Kevin Durant “you the real
MVP” meme. Plays can be turned into gifs so that video doesn't always have to be utilized and
can be easier for a consumer to view. A lot of times sport teams will make reaction GIFs out of
their own players to stay brand specific and not having to give publicity to another entity.
Being unabashedly biased right now, I believe that the Los Angeles Kings run one of the best
Twitter feeds out there because of their use of witty and creative GIFs, in the last 6 hours they
have used 10 GIFs demonstrating game play and the accomplishment of Dustin Brown scoring
a hat trick. During playoffs and important games, they will use GIFs to trash talk their
GIFs and memes can only help your brand, but you have to be sure to use them correctly and
almost have a nonchalant feel about them; don’t force them on your public. Relevancy and
timing are also very important when using GIFs and memes, there is always a time and a place.
Never use a GIF or a meme to announce something that has a serious tone and manner. Follow
your heart and these basic rules and you should be golden when it comes to using GIFs and
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