Humor is a great way to convey your message. But if your comedy doesn’t land well, an attempt at humor can do more harm than good to your brand.
Here are three ways to use humor (or not) to make your content pop:
1. If you’re not funny, don’t try to be.
“Hopefully at this stage of your life, you are aware as to whether or not you are a funny person,” Mike Pacchione said in a recent interview. While Pacchione is an expert on public speaking, the same thought process applies to your marketing content.
Are you funny? Is your wit tied to sarcasm? Dry humor and sarcasm don’t always land well in the written word — and that includes on your website, social media or in advertising campaigns. Misunderstandings are much more common when we communicate by words alone, be it via text, email or social media. So pay attention to how your humor will land and avoid missing the mark with your audience.
And if you’re not funny, Pacchione offers up a great solution: Fake it ‘til you make it. Gather funny video clips and quotes for inspiration, or to post to your social media networks. You may not be hilarious, but you sure can pretend to be funny.
2. Use humor to reach the audience you want
If a customer thinks you’re funny, they’ll be friendlier toward you. That’s just human nature. And it extends to products and brands as well. When an ad makes you smile, laugh or just generally feel better after viewing, those feelings are then associated with the brand.
One of the most successful brands at using humor to sell a product is the Dollar Shave Club, a business that started out mailing cheap razors to men and quickly was able to expand their offerings after their hilarious ads began going viral.
Their marketing is edgy. (And that’s not just their razors! I know, I know. I’m not funny.) But that’s the audience they are going after and they’re very direct about targeting that audience. They drop the f-bomb, use images and words with double meanings and are very precise in targeting the customers they want via the humor they use.
This ad, released just two months after their product launched, is a look at where their humor started and how they hit their core audience immediately.
3. You’re here to sell, not just entertain. Do both.
While entertaining your customers is grand, don’t lose sight of the fact that in the end you need them to buy your product and to do so you need to promote your product.
This is a favorite ad of many of my coworkers:
Despite having watched this ad maybe 50 times, I can never remember what it’s for. I remember the humor, but the brand is lost to the unicorn pooping rainbows. (To pull this link I googled “rainbow pooping unicorn.” I still don’t remember the brand.)