Lighten Up! Using Humor in Marketing Communications


Research shows that humor is a sure way to connect with people. Laughter has also been reported to make people more responsive to messaging. Humor creates openings for connections. According to a 2013 Nielsen Survey of Trust in Advertising, nearly 50% of respondents report that humor resonates above other approaches to content.

Lightening up your messaging can improve connections with your target markets. Consider using these various forms of humor:

    Truth. They say the truth hurts, but the truth can also be really funny. One of the most successful forms of humor is parody. Is there something inherently funny about relationships between vendors and clients in your industry? Can you create a video highlighting this?

    Exaggeration. The humor in most things gets better as it gets bigger. Exaggerating common problems or experiences can get people laughing.

    Contrasts. When you bring together two things that don’t go together, it can be funny. Think about the Sprint commercial where James Earl Jones read the texts written by teen girls. His deep commanding voice saying things like “OMG!” and “Adorbs” was very funny! Extreme contrasts are funny!

    Look at Me. Make your marketing fun and interactive. Communicate with your target market in unexpected ways. Comic books and activity books are just two examples of how you can think outside the box and get people to look at your marketing materials.

    Keep it Real. Telling real stories in a humorous way can grab the attention of consumers. What does your business do to help your clients look good? Conversations between you and your customers about how your product or service works can be infused with humor.

    Surprise. Humor resonates most powerfully with younger demographics. A parody of how people respond in a certain situation can be surprising and quite funny. How can you shift expectations by using a parody in your business?

Apprehensive about using humor in your messaging? Start small and test your messaging internally to get a response. Consumers are looking for a real connection. Humor breaks down barriers and creates the connections you seek.

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