We try to keep things inclusive on the QLP blog. We scour the World Wide Web for news, analyze trends and data, and stay up-to-date on marketing methods, so that whether you’re a small business owner or a marketer for a Fortune 500, there’s something for everyone.

Sometimes, though, we narrow our focus a bit to talk about promotional products, because we think promotional products are part of a balanced, effective, supercharged marketing strategy (and also because, spoiler alert: we are a promotional products company).

Recently, we realized that there might be something holding us back. When we thought about the ways that the promotional products industry innovates, we found one area where our industry is seriously suffering: a lack of promotional product related memes.

Memes (pronounced “meems,” incidentally one of my childhood nicknames) existed long before the internet. A meme once meant “an element of a culture passed from one individual to another” (like repeated design elements used in architecture from ancient Greece to modern era). In our digital age, it’s usually used to refer to “an image, video, or piece of text on the internet.” They tend to be easy to create and easy to share, with a witty or clever message.

We’ve talked about memes on the blog before, specifically about how marketers can use them to grow their brand presence and engage with a community. And we think they can do the same thing in and around the offices and emails of promotional products companies!

Customer Engagement and Marketing

Lots of brands use memes as part of their marketing – Snickers has a “create your own meme” to go along with their #EatASnickers marketing tagline, and it seems like one pistachio company has adopted them as their go-to marketing strategy. We love keyboard playing cats more than most, but we’re not about to let a humble nut show us up.

To get in on the meme game, we whipped up a few informational and clever memes that would get the attention of any customer shopping for promo products.


Humor and Morale

Memes don’t have to be funny to go viral or be popular, but we tend to think the best ones are. Shared humor in a community builds up relationships. In an office community, it contributes directly to morale, work ethic, and attitude. Simply speaking, it can make a sometimes stressful work environment more enjoyable.  Making common misunderstandings or office and industry jokes into memes can keep stress in check and bring teams together.

(To be fair, we work in an industry with a lot of stress balls, so we kind of have the market cornered on stress relief, but it’s also hard to bond over the shared experience of squeezing them. You win here, memes.)

Visual Storytelling and Branding

Branding is a kind of storytelling, the public account of a business’s personality. Even though the main business of a promotional products company is to build up the brand of other businesses, it still has its own brand to consider.

If you’re the kind of brand that wants to be known for working hard and playing hard (like QLP and lots of our friends in the promo products industry), memes might be the perfect way to share some of that clever, fun-loving spirit around your company or on your social media pages and blogs.

Memes can also create better brand recognition. A well-placed, clever meme will get your customer’s attention, but a meme is more than just distraction. A relevant meme serves as a way to connect your brand to a familiar image or idea and therefore makes you memorable to your customer.

Why the fuss about memes? Mostly because we’re invested in making the industry better, even in simple or goofy ways. Partly because it gave us an excuse to scroll through endless meme image searches. But we consider ourselves conversation starters – starting dialogues and asking questions that will keep pushing our industry in the right direction and keep things from getting complacent (this is probably a good tip for any non-promotional product companies out there too, because, like I said, we’re here for everyone).

Memes aren’t any kind of groundbreaking technology or a shiny new social media platform, but they are a mostly free, easy, and accessible way to encourage creativity and humor in our industry.

When it comes to creating comradery and being cool and creative, we think that industry-specific memes can help the promo products business in a big way!  Plus now we’re finally filling the void of promo item memes. We took too long to get to this point, honestly.

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over three years of experience in the industry. Her passion for writing has led to a BA in English & Communications from Aurora University and work published for the Advertising Specialty Institute and The Bolingbrook Sun Times.