It’s impossible to deny that humor makes everything better in life. This rule can be successfully extended to advertising and marketing. How many of us chuckled seeing a goofy ad watching late-night TV or browsing the web? How many of us laughed at the iconic Budweiser “Wazzzuuuppp” advertisement campaign from the late 90s and re-enacted it with friends? The thing is - when you laugh you are more likely to remember things!
That's why humor is a perfect way for the audience to perceive the product and associate themselves with the advertised item or service. Humor creates a sense of comfort for the client, it makes the interaction more casual and smooths out the “corporate” message of the interaction.
Despite the clear benefits of using humor, it must be used appropriately. There are some rules to follow while applying humor to marketing interactions. To take liberties with Uncle Ben's quote to Peter Parker - “With great humor comes great responsibility”.
First, know your brand. Before using humor to interact with your audience, assess if it is necessary or useful. You must know how your business is perceived and how to naturally integrate the playful message in your interactions with clients. Instead of diving deep sending comedy special scripts to your email marketing list - start slowly and test the audience’s reaction with relevant KPIs (key performance indicators - the data you need to make decisions). Also, make sure to get a second opinion on the marketing copy.
Next, you have to be funny! That should be a no-brainer! Many companies and brands perished making bad jokes and looking silly online because of the poor interactions with their clientele. Although a bad joke is not necessarily destructive for your business, it may hurt you in the long run by weakening your connection to the audience. It can go as bad as a client hitting the “unsubscribe” button and sending your comical efforts into a marketing limbo. The audience can always tell when you’re forcing, overcomplicating, or joking about something out of your depth. So ONLY go through with the joke if you believe in it. Do not follow trends blindly and do not go out of your character. Chances are that your clients know you personally and they will expect genuine communication from you. There is nothing sadder than receiving an over-processed “corporate joke” email from someone who doesn't give a damn about what was written or their client’s reaction. You have to know your audience to successfully use humor.
Finally, It is important not to try to please everyone! You will always have people on your list who will not respond positively to your comical efforts. Humor is extremely subjective. As long as you’re getting positive feedback from other clients - keep doing what you think is right.
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