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Is there a place for memes in finance content?

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Serious stuff

It’s time for finance content marketing to get serious about memes. If the US Election 2020 is anything to go by, that is. Democratic presidential candidate and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg is paying social media influencers to create memes — to win over the love of young voters, as reported by the BBC He’s not the only one. Political campaigners have been pursuing influencer partnerships in droves, according to Wired. And CNN has declared 2020 the ‘meme election’ So, why is financial services content marketing yet to jump on the bandwagon? After all, finance brands have a bit in common with politicians (bear with us) — from appearing dry, boring and self-interested if they’re not careful, to having legalities galore to adhere to.  Here, we explain why financial marketers should give memes a chance and offer some tips to make sure they hit the mark. 

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Memes and finance content marketing: made for each other?

This is definitely not a case of love at first sight. From the outside, memes and finance brands look as compatible as bananas and broccoli. Memes? Funny, reckless and irreverent. Finance? Serious, responsible and respectful of regulations.  But, it’s possible to mix the two — and attract tens of thousands of followers. This is already happening with social media influencers, like Instagram star Litquidity whose satirical take on Wall Street, conveyed entirely through memes, has attracted more than 232,000 followers. Then there’s the simply named Investment Banking Memes, which bathes in the admiration of more than 69,000 Facebook fans. So, what can finance brands learn from this success? 

Finance content marketing: getting the meme mix right

Well, some have already been dipping their toes in the water. Like the influencers, they understand the power of wit and humour; but, unlike them, they’re meme-ing, not to satirise, but to win over customers, especially meme-loving millennials (just like Bloomberg).  ‘Perhaps you’re thinking that memes won’t work for you because you work in a serious industry like healthcare where marketing relies on emotion. But consider the possibility of using positive emotions and humour as a way to break the ice and engage with prospects,’ writes Karina Tama on Forbes.  

Consider the possibility of using positive emotions and humour as a way to break the ice and engage with prospects.

  Check out this December 2018 Twitter meme by Starling Bank (UK), which compared the bank with a reliable, romantic lover in four sharp lines, as well as this collection of original memes by Australia’s Perth Mortgage Specialist The latter demonstrates that memes are particularly effective in marketing niche businesses and products. As James McCrae writes on Forbes, ‘Be comfortable knowing that not everybody will understand. It’s about targeting the niche group who gets it.’

Memes, relationship building and finance content marketing

Keep in mind that not every meme has to be about spruiking finance products and services. Lyon and Butler, a Canada-based insurance broker, posts inspirational memes on their social media accounts that help build brand awareness and develop positive relationships. A quick scroll through the broker’s Facebook page reminds you to ‘Make today ridiculously amazing’, decide ‘It’s a good week to have a good week’ and have a ‘Happy Monday’.  Plus, memes can play a role in financial education, which is one of the most important targets of any finance content marketing strategy. Take influencer Haley Sacks (known as Mrs Dow Jones), who’s built a career out of educational memes. ‘My goal is to create inclusivity,’ she told the New York Times, pointing out that when she tried to learn about wealth creation herself, ‘the only videos available’ were ’12-minute long, unedited disasters of men with no charisma and no point of view. They were literally writing on whiteboards with their back to the camera. It was so bad and so boring. And it was all men.’ In contrast, Mrs Dow Jones’ memes are awash with pop culture references, pithy observations and honest questions, like ‘Why does wearing a blazer automatically make me feel 10x more successful?’. Ready to renovate your finance content marketing strategy with some whip-smart memes? Attention-grabbing finance content is what we do

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Jasmine Crittenden
Jasmine Crittenden has written extensively for major finance brands including Westpac, BT Financial Group, Suncorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments – across both digital and print. She’s an expert in content that puts the human element in finance marketing, be it connecting with local communities, inspiring millennials to care about super or clarifying the complexities of personal loans.