3 rules for using humor in marketing

Humor is like horseradish: Used sparingly and in the right context, it can spice things up. But you don’t want too much of it—especially in your hot cocoa.


The key to building customer relationships and brand loyalty is meaningful interaction. But with so much marketing noise out there, how can you make your brand stand out in a meaningful way?

Humor can be a great way to break through the noise. It triggers an emotional response from your audience, which makes funny messages memorable. Think about your own experience: We can all recall a particularly amusing marketing message. It also creates brand personality, which helps customers relate to you on a human level.

Incorporating humor into marketing can be tricky. Laughs are great, but what you really want are sales. Let’s break down the most effective ways to play it for laughs without losing sight of the end goal.

1. DON’T be controversial

Social media, videos, and other brand content like your website can all be appropriate places to inject humor and show a little personality. However, don’t let that personality become offensive or polarizing.

Your goal is to get people to remember your business or brand for what you can offer them, not for your views on something that has nothing to do with your product or service.

2. DO bear your wider marketing goals in mind

Humor has a broad appeal, but it’s not a license to forget your target audiences and the messages you want to communicate with them.

As with all marketing initiatives, research is crucial. Whom are you trying to reach? What do they think is funny? How can you incorporate that into your overall brand messaging and strategy? BlendTec’s “Will it Blend?” viral video series is an example of humor done well.

3. DO keep humor in its proper place

Humor doesn’t work equally across all channels. A joke that plays well on your Facebook page is not necessarily going to work in a news release, where it may lower your credibility with journalists and customers who are looking for straightforward news about your business.

Done correctly, humor can build rapport between your brand and consumers, create shared experiences among your customers, and make your brand truly memorable. Just remember to keep it light, to the point, apolitical, and appropriate to the channel you’re using.

Stacey Acevero is the social media manager for Vocus/PRWeb. A version of this article first appeared on BloggingPRWeb.com.

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