Want your business to stand out from the crowd? Well, I’ve got news for you. Reading 1950’s Marketing Techniques for Dummies won’t cut the mustard anymore.
But you know what might?
Having a personality.
There are very few subjects that can’t be made funny. Even death isn’t immune from a chuckle or two.
But what does humour in branding give you that’s so important? If your copy and content have always been a bit straight-laced or very similar to what your competitors are doing, but your business is chugging along nicely, why should you risk trying something new? Why is humour often overlooked when it can be so powerful?
Let’s take a look.
Humour: A Versatile Branding Tool
In today’s competitive marketplace, brands are constantly seeking ways to stand out from the crowd and connect with their audience on a deeper level. Humour can be a powerful way to achieve these goals for the following reasons:
It creates a memorable and positive brand association: When people laugh at your content, they’re more likely to remember and associate your brand with positive emotions. And who doesn’t want that associated with their business?!
It builds a real connection with your audience: Humour can help you break down barriers and create a sense of camaraderie and rapport with your audience, making your brand feel more relatable and approachable.
It builds trust: If you use self-deprecating humour to own your mistakes, this transparency will make your audience trust you more. This leads us neatly to the next positive…
It diffuses negative situations: Once you’ve built that trust by being funny, it also helps to lighten the mood and defuse any sticky situations that might rear their heads. Just ask Marks and Spencer how being straitlaced worked out for them when they went up against Aldi (or read about it below).
It humanises your brand: This also allows you to show the human side of your brand, which instantly makes it more authentic and relatable.
It enhances creativity and innovation: The easiest way to keep your content and copy fresh and engaging is by being innovative. Humour allows you to do that with ease, and it also keeps people coming back for more to see what you come up with next.
It puts off the Boring Billy’s: If your humour puts some people off, that’s great! They probably weren’t the kind of people you wanted to do business with anyway. Humour is extremely effective at capturing the right audience for you and repelling the audience you don’t want. You won’t even have to try and weed them out; they’ll take themselves away, saving you time and money on unnecessary ‘safe’ marketing.
Examples of Brands Using Humour Effectively
Some brands have mastered the art of using humour to their advantage. Here are just three examples of chef’s kiss marketing that uses humour to full effect:
What do you do when Marks and Spencer, one of the UK’s most beloved brands for nearly 140 years, sues you for copyright infringement on their Colin the Caterpillar cake? You take the piss out of them, obviously. And not in a subtle way, either. This was less ‘shots fired’ – more an intergalactic battalion of merciless, crippling humour bombardment.
The public lapped it up, so Aldi kept ramping it up.
The hashtag #freecuthbert went viral, so they added jail bars to their Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake box. They released a limited edition version of their Cuthbert cake to benefit a cancer charity, and then cheekily invited M&S to join them in giving money to charity, not lawyers.
The result? Aldi won the 2021 Marketing Week Award for Social Media Advertising. 1,400 pieces were written about #freecuthbert. User-generated videos on Cuthbert vs. Colin racked up 30 million views on social media, and their Twitter followers grew by 30%. This equates to about £5 million worth of free advertising.
As for M&S, their news consideration scores plummeted by 134%, they lost out on 2.72% of business, and they had protesters outside some of their stores.
SURREAL: Think you can’t make cereal funny? Think again. Surreal has got the humour in its marketing nailed down so well that it collaborated with three other businesses for Halloween, chucked out everyone’s colour palette and formatting, and still made it work for everyone.
They’ve taken a traditional form of physical advertising that was falling out of favour and made it relevant again. People love their cheeky, close-to-the-bone billboard advertisements that are just this side of legal. The Ronaldo campaign is a personal favourite.
RYAN REYNOLDS: The one-man funny marketing juggernaut that is Ryan Reynolds. Whether he’s promoting the latest Deadpool movie, Aviation Gin, Mint Mobile, or Wrexham A.F.C., Reynolds’ charm, self-deprecating wit, and oddball humour have raised the profile of all of these brands tenfold.
Aviation Gin was sold to Diaggio for £610 million in 2020; Mint Mobile was sold to T-Mobile earlier this year for $1.35 billion; and, until 2019, when they were overtaken by Joker, Deadpool and Deadpool 2 were the most successful R-rated movies of all time.
See? Funny Makes Money
Humour can be an extremely powerful tool for branding when it’s used correctly. If you’re looking for a way to make your brand truly stand out from an ever-increasingly cluttered online crowd, then using humour in your marketing and branding isn’t a bad place to start.
Book a FREE 1:1 consultation call with me to have a chat about your ideas for making your copy and content funny and your business more respected and profitable.