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Branding with bad behavior? Try a Meme instead

Lessons in brand and reputation management Suarez bite style


One of the best examples of a brand gone bad is the Suarez Bite that launched thousands of jokes and Memes.

World Cup fans would remember the day they saw Luis Suarez, Uruguay’s best offensive player make history… but for all the wrong reasons – he went and bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the Italy versus Uruguay match.

Suarez has been officially charged on this account by FIFA and while the matter was being investigated, the media as well as football fans had a field day and the jokes got better and better.

For example, the ABC News Headline innocently reads “FIFA Charges Luis Suarez for Biting in World Cup”. The fun starts with the byline “Hungry for a Win?”. Luis Suarez Appears to Bite Opponent followed with an image of Suarez biting – a good reason to apply for the Right to be Forgotten.  That day I found the above meme on Suarez which has played on the zombie apocalypse and famous star Keanu Reeves.

Brazil’s 2014 World Cup was a high-scoring tournament featuring late goals, comebacks, full stadiums and winning goals made by substitutes at the 11th hour or in extra time but the bite took the cake in that day’s play.

With the subsequent 4 month ban on Suarez, I wonder how long it will take for him to recover his reputation.


Beware of Red Cards – Oops, Red Flags

We all know that we have to be careful with what we say or do in front of others – didn’t our parents tell us that when we were growing up?  Once the deed is done, it cannot be taken back no matter how many clarifications and apologies are offered.

In a similar vein, what we post on social media stays forever and even if you do delete a post, photograph or comment, it would already have circulated to others at the speed of lightening and the damage done.

I addressed this in my post Are you ruining your brand with red flag posts?  where we looked at the what, where and how to say and do on social media and offers tips on what to post on the Big Four social media platforms to help you get your brand across in the best positive light as well as a few red flags to avoid, even if you personally think it is funny.

Each social media platform has its own set of rules and manner of engagement but there are certain common rules which you need to follow.

No racist or gender comments

No swearing or cussing

Be careful with your humor

Is my post appropriate?

Ask yourself, if my parents or kids saw what I have posted, would I feel uncomfortable?

Your personality is a key part of your brand. Just as in the offline world, you need to be careful how you present yourself in the on-line world. The basic rule is to pay attention to what you are saying, or writing.

It helps to post relevant content that builds your professional brand but what about putting in some humor with a message? What if you are tired of re-sharing other peoples’ posts, quotes and jokes? You want to do something original?

For that I suggest creating Memes.


Make Your Brand memorable with a Great Meme

I love good memes because they are funny,  and show the clever use of words -a good branding point.

Meme, pronounced ‘meem’ is a concept, behavior or idea that spreads usually via the internet. It is usually a visual like a picture but it can also be a video, phrase, word, story, quote, or a hash tag.

The word “meme” comes from the 1976 book The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, where the term meant a unit of cultural knowledge that is passed between people. On the Internet, the term has come to be synonymous with funny images with clever (or not so clever) captions.

The best parts about memes are that if they are good, they stand the chance of going viral. Most memes are humorous and given the short attention span of viewers, they are quick and easy to consume and share.

It’s like the good old days when we used to share jokes over emails and often still do but with online memes, you can reach a wider audience of like-minded individuals who would catch the joke. So if a football fan sees the meme on Suarez, they would catch the joke and share onward.

Marketers use it all the time and you as a professional can do it too. Here’s an example, from my auditor days, when clients treated us as demi-gods.

Karmic Ally Coaching example of an audit meme

Memes are easy to create – I did my example on Power point although you can create them using free online software such as memegenerator.net.

I go into more detail on  memes in my program Crack the Code to Your Professional Brand & Create an Awesome Online Presence but for now, know that the only real essentials are to have a sense of humor and know who you want to get the joke.  Done the right way, you can look forward to likes, shares, pins repins, tweets, comments – the works!

Do you use memes for enhancing your professional brand online?

How well does your intended audience respond? Do tell me in the comments box below!


Written by: Vatsala Shukla


Update: This post was written in June 2014 following the Suarez Bite incident and has been updated for relevance.

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Meet your coach

I believe the world would be a better place if high achieving professionals accepted setbacks and challenges to their careers as Wake Up Calls to embark on a Journey where their empowered course correcting actions create a New World Order that encompasses achieving their career aspirations & potential with authentic life balance.

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who’ve hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with customized strategies and tactics that deliver results.

When my clients first reach out to me, they are not in a very happy place, needing clarity about themselves, their desires, chosen vocation and what will give them peace of mind. They are drawn to me for the very reasons that I highlight in Who Is Karmic Ally Coaching.

Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

I really get it, because I’ve experienced that dark night of the Soul. I know firsthand the outcome of getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to other aspects of my life.

I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, corporate politics, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

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1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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