With the recent increase in the prevalence of sadvertising (think commercials where puppies and horses form unbreakable bonds), humor isn’t quite as ubiquitous in marketing as it used to be. While tugging at heart strings is effective, funny and clever marketing is a great way to demonstrate a brand’s personality. Shared humor helps to connect you to your customers, and it certainly makes you more memorable. You can cut through the noise by using wit instead of an overwhelming amount of nostalgia. Check out these tips and ideas:
- Know your audience. This is the number one rule of comedy, and it’s a critical component of your success. Identify what your audience would find humorous, and whatever you do, don’t offend anyone.
- Don’t force it. Instead of starting out with the intent to be funny, identify what message you’re trying to convey. Simplify it first, then try to make it interesting by exploring different and funny ways to share it.
- Make sure it fits your personality. Marketing should always feel authentic, and if you’re going for a brand of humor that doesn’t match your company’s personality, it’s going to sound incredibly insincere.
- Be sure you’re still selling something. It’s awesome if you can manage to make your audience laugh, but at the end of the day, you’re still trying to drive them to your business. Don’t forgo the key message for the sake of humor.
- Identify the problem and then exaggerate it to its extreme. Your customers have a problem, and your business offers the solution. Play with the seriousness of that relationship by exaggerating one or the other.
- Leverage unexpected contrasts. Unexpectedness is at the root of all humor. Play with interesting contrasts and unrealistic situations. What if your business existed during a different moment in time? What if your Millennial-focused brand suddenly became incredibly popular with the 65+ age group?
- Poke fun at yourself through parody. This is perhaps the most tricky tactic. You have to find a balance between showing that you don’t take yourselves too seriously, but you do treat the work that you do with seriousness. However, if you can pull off parody, your brand will be incredibly memorable.
- Let your audience generate the humor. You don’t have to do all of the work. Create a contest or simply ask a clever question on social media to get your audience talking. Having a back-to-school sale? Ask your followers to share their worst yearbook photo on your page. Trying to come up with a contest for Valentine’s Day? Ask them to tell their worst first date story and have your followers vote on their favorite one. If you’ve got a funny question, you should be able to get funny answers.