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Should you plug into humour to boost your brand?

Jason Freeman | 04 Oct, 2022 | Return|

Engaging with Humour in Difficult Times

At time of writing there seems to have been very little to laugh or even smile about in 2022. A series of events that don’t need to be re-described here have brought a high degree of economic uncertainty and the pound is currently in freefall.

And, of course, climate change and its effects are matters of significant apprehension and furious debate.

We have written before about how Twitter accounts such as Jefferson Group and Factory Now have sought to counter the generally gloomy outlooks in the media on the state of the nation. They have done so by posting consistently positive news about UK manufacturing and inward investment. Once again, we applaud them for doing so.

But should businesses go one step further and, as well as being positive, inject the element of humour into their target audience engagement.

Even in these difficult times, and perhaps all the more because of them, we would say yes.

Using humour in marketing can be scary

Image: Joe Pesci seems to take offence at being called funny in Martin Scorsese's 1990 mob classic, Goodfellas. Image copyright belongs to Warner Bros. Image used here to illustrate how reactions to humour are not always simple to predict.

Countering Negatives

At a time when there are many things we are told to be anxious about across the media and social channels, humour can be a welcome diversion. Brands that can use it effectively can stand out and be appreciated. Of course, humorous posts online need to be sensitively handled, well crafted, relevant and timely. The inherent dangers of potentially creating offence may make some businesses wary of using humour, which is a pity because that fear can lead to opportunities for positive brand awareness and stimulating engagement with target audiences being lost.

Humanising Your Brand

Social media has created fantastic opportunities for engagement and interaction and has encouraged businesses to take new approaches to marketing across all channels of communication, including plugging into humour. Back in 2018, Social Media Today published an article titled “7 Key Characteristics of a Human Brand” which is as relevant today as it was then. It provides useful insights on how brands can and have created an excellent rapport with their target audiences. We want to pick out three tips as being particularly useful, with relevance to both the B2C and B2B environments:

Be a good storyteller

The author says that “stories help us to understand and make sense of the world, and the same can be said for your brand.” This is true and content that carries a strong narrative is likely to have a positive impact. It can get people involved in what you do and how you do it.

Incidentally, this is why BBI Brandboost believes that case studies are an invaluable vehicle for storytelling and which is why they feature prominently on our website.

Achieve the right tone of voice

How you say something can be as important as what you have to say. The crucial factor is that it must be consistent with your brand’s identity, but this does not have to be restrictive.

Understanding that audience segmentation is no longer based around 5 groups, (A,B C1, C2, D) but instead focused around hundreds of interlinked social tribes, values and behavioural traits is vital when executing a marketing strategy. If you can understand your target audience, their interests, values and behaviours, you can create edgy, satirical marketing that will appeal to them and that you can stand by.

Be something

It is important to communicate your brand’s personality, but you need to be authentic and consistent, otherwise the message will be confused and lack credibility. This is where understanding your audience and maintaining your brand identity comes into play. As long as these two are in harmony, implementing successful marketing strategies and campaigns shouldn’t be too problematic.

Making people laugh can be a powerful way to engage with them but this may not be appropriate for all brands. Humour can be seen as trivialising the message, and if the humour is communicated through satire or sarcasm, then brand marketing can move into dangerous territory. This has been seen time and time again from many big name brands.

Not keeping up with current trends and social shifts can mean some brands just get it wrong, as in the case of Brew Dog. This again highlights the importance of understanding not only where your audience are currently, but also where they will be. Look into social trends to see where the tides are changing and where you can maximise your marketing impact.

Effective and Focused Communication

BBI Brandboost offers a range of online marketing services that can drive successful marketing narratives and achieve positive brand perceptions across all media and social channels.

We believe in focused communication that relates strongly to the target audiences and have worked successfully for clients in many industry sectors. Contact us to discuss the ways we can help your business generate positive and engaging messages to achieve your marketing goals.

About the Author

Jason Freeman

Jason Freeman

As a hands-on company director, Jason inspires our team with his visionary approach to marketing coupled with his impressive technical expertise. A stickler for detail with an eye for design and a talent for writing, Jason is as adept at creating eye-catching marketing material as he is at planning the strategies behind goal-surpassing marketing campaigns.

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