Using Humor in Marketing

The key to building brand loyalty and customer relationships is meaningful interaction.  Unfortunately, with all the marketing noise out there it can be hard for your brand to stand out in a meaningful way.  Humor can be a great way to combat this noise.  It is the most under-appreciated and most effective tactic in communications.  By triggering an emotional response from your audience, humor makes funny messages more memorable.  This helps customers relate to you on a human level and creates brand personality. For your brand to succeed, you need to connect with the public on an emotional level.  It can be tricky to incorporate humor into marketing.  Laughter is great, but what you really want are sales.  We live in a very serious world and humor provides us a mental break.  Without losing sight of the end goal let’s breakdown the most effective ways to play it with laughter.

First, don’t be controversial.  Don’t ever let your personality become polarizing or offensive.  Videos, social media, other brand content and your website can be appropriate places to add humor and show a little personality.  You want people to remember your business and what you can offer them, not your views on something that doesn’t have anything to do with your service or product.  If your humor isn’t consistent with the message you’re trying to get across then don’t use it.  When it comes to explaining complex subjects use humor creatively.

Second, keep your marketing goals in mind.  Humor has a wide-ranging charm about it, but don’t let it distract you from the messages you want to communicate to your target audience.  Do some research before you begin.  What type of people are you trying to reach out to?  What do they find funny?  How can you incorporate that humor into your overall brand strategy and messaging?  If its forced humor than its probably not funny and you can count on it failing.  Often, humor is unintentional.  Keep it short and simple.  This isn’t stand up comedy.

Third, keep humor in its proper place.  As we all know something one person finds funny might not be funny to someone else.  A funny joke on your Facebook page won’t always work in a news release because it could lower your credibility with customers and journalists who are looking for information about your business.  There is an extremely fine line between offensive and edgy. Jokes can be misinterpreted and depend on timing and delivery for their effectiveness.   Be careful it doesn’t inadvertently offend.  Whatever you have planned make sure it can’t be misconstrued as sexist, racist, etc.  Pick your targets carefully.  Stay away from religious or political issues.

As long as you consider these tips humor can build connections between consumers and your brand, make your brand truly memorable and create shared experiences between your customers.  Just remember that humor is a way to get people to pay attention to your message.  It is not the message.

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