About Memetic Brand

Broadcast’s monolithic brand identities and the methods that built them (symbolic brand) are being replaced, absorbed by porous, malleable imitations with narrowcast mutations over millions of channels (i.e. Individuals), each with unique frequency but in aggregate beyond the reach of any advertisement.

The replacement is memetic brand.

“A meme, as defined by memetic theory, constitutes a theoretical unit of cultural information, the building block of culture or cultural evolution which spreads through diffusion propagating from one mind to another analogously to the way in which a gene propagates from one organism to another as a unit of genetic information and of biological evolution.  Multiple memes may propagate as cooperative groups called memeplexes (meme complexes).  Biologist and evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins coined the term meme in 1976.  He gave as examples tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothing fashions, ways of making pots, and the technology of building arches. Meme-theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection (similarly to Darwinian biological evolution) through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance influencing an individual entity’s reproductive success. So with memes, some ideas will propagate less successfully and become extinct, while others will survive, spread, and, for better or for worse, mutate.”

February 4, 2008, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

The goal of memetic branding is to develop findable digital footprint on the World Wide Web, embedded with favourable references and links.

Syndication of corporate and product presence can be instigated by corporations and their agencies, but they must activate social media empowered individuals through social networks to achieve maximum reach and a living defense system that neutralizes ideas that negatively impact the brand.  That activation is a function of corporate social capital.

In December of 2007, Google returned two search results (here is one, a great powerpoint) for the term and these references used “memetic brand” to elaborate on the previously established cognitive goal of Positioning (Ries & Trout).

Memetic brand, as a unified theory that may be applied consistently to externally oriented corporate social capital and internally oriented cognitive marketing communications goals is a possibility worthy of further study.

This blog is dedicated to exploring the idea of memetic brand.  It will highlight everything from strategy, to best practices, to inspiration from the fringes of culture and imagination.  Perhaps, in time, reading the Memetic Brand blog will become a source of tweaks for anyone who wants a good idea to stick and spread.

4 Responses to “About Memetic Brand”

  1. stephen byrne Says:


    o i found your definition. how different is this to the branding of social media? brand strategy already assumes a level of control and dominance within any interactivity. “activating social media empowered individuals through social networks to achieve maximum reach” is merely participant marketing or brand advocacy.

    it would be interesting to hear why you think this is different.


  2. Michael Cayley Says:

    “Social media” refers to the content layer.

    “Brand advocacy” or “participant marketing” are also focused on the message. I.e. what consumers say about your brand.

    Memetic brand encompasses the content layer but it asks us to also examine the structural factors that contribute to how and why an idea spreads.

    Brand is a broadcast concept. Whether you are talking about the constraints of a moving side of beef or the 30 second spot, brand is based on sublimination of attributes. The quest is to distill.

    That is contrary to the goal of findability and network omnipresence presented by the networked era of social media empowered individuals.

    Mutation and variance, the anti-thesis of the traditional brand mantras of conistency, continuity and conformity, are the keys to selection, i.e. how brand messages spread. Elaboration and matching a complex search with the right solution at the right time is the new quest.

    Adding memetic theory to the notion of brand, helps us think/focus on the new goals.

    DeBono might call it Po for brand. http://www.edwdebono.com/debono/po.htm

    I elaborate on all of this more in the forthcoming “Introducing Social Capital Value Add”.

    Thank you Stephen for your questions – I hope that you will stick around and help develop these ideas together.

  3. Social Capital Value Add at Canada Blog Friends Says:

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