If you’re anything like me (born pre 80s), you’re a little fuzzy on the whole “meme” thing. You know one when you see one (because they LITERALLY pop up everywhere), but you’d have a tough time actually defining the term “meme.”

Fear not! Google supplies this definition:

Meme /mēm/ (noun) — a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

The first meme that sank into my consciousness was ““McKayla’s not impressed.” Remember that Olympic gymnast’s smirk/scowl? It began viral dominance with text written over it:

Soon followed by inserting her into images like this:

People love memes because they’re short, visual and create a shared cultural experience — something that is increasingly rare in our highly stratified, niche and individualized culture.

Which makes memes GREAT for using with employees.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a meme is worth a thousand memos.


How might employees have responded if, during the “McKayla’s not impressed” frenzy, you had sent out this?

Laughs, probably. (Definitely surprise that you’re in touch with the zeitgeist.) At the very least, employees would have:

     1) enjoyed reading a company policy and

     2) been reminded of that policy every time McKayla’s face popped up in their feed.

The fact that your audience is surprised and laughing while learning pays long-term dividends.


Due to the brevity of memes, they can be used to introduce, reinforce or remind employees of a topic. They can be emailed, tweeted, posted to Facebook or Instagram and even printed out and hung around the office like it’s 1996.

The best aspect of memes is how easy they are to make. I border on hopeless when it comes to technology, and I taught myself to make a meme in approximately 2.3 minutes. (Head over to imgflip.com and you’ll be on your way!)

I post a new meme each Friday that you’re free to use with your team. (Let me know if there’s any topics you’d like to see in the future.) Also, share any memes that you make with the group on the Resonate Pictures LinkedIn page.

Together, we can make memes a compliance staple, bringing laughs while improving our workplace environments.


Bryan Belknap, an award-winning screenwriter, is Creative Director at Resonate Pictures, which specializes in story-based training and branding films. He will be speaking at SCCE Compliance & Ethics Conference in Las Vegas.


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