It’s a funny thing. Most businesses are scared of using humour as a tool in their armoury of connecting with consumers.
When was the last time you actually laughed (not just smiled) at something on a B2B website?
Or let out a chuckle when you opened an email that was trying to sell you something?
Sure, you’re right. Most of the time, when you’re trying to persuade someone who’s intelligent to buy something, resorting to jokes probably isn’t the smartest move.
After all, what was the last thing you bought from a clown?
But, on the flipside, isn’t the day-to-day grind enough to warrant the occasional humorous aside?
It’s something that could make your business and/or brand stick in the viewer’s consciousness longer than simply joining the crowd.
“When the World Zigs. Zag.”
It’s a tagline from a Saatchi ad for Levi’s black jeans. Added when the corporate hirers were horrified that their ad agency hadn’t even included a picture of their jeans in the ad.
Its sentiment holds true today; often the most effective means of grabbing attention in a crowded world is by standing out.
What is “fun” anyway?
Enjoyment, amusement, or light-hearted pleasure.
And who doesn’t fancy a dose of that every now and again?
Some companies even consider it a useful tool in creating an atmosphere of success at work (see here).
Many more decide to have “dress-down Fridays” where staff can relax and wear their out-of-work attire one day a week. It’s a way of releasing tensions, allowing personality and character to shine through, and create a positive atmosphere.
Being funny can achieve the same effect with your customers, not just your employees.
Humour does seem to fit more easily with B2C companies; like the terrific (I think) new TV ad for Warburton’s bakery.
With its references to film and literature, innuendo aplenty, and Peter Kay’s over the top performance, it’s a modern classic (here’s the ad).
Just think though, behind your B2B communications it’s real people who are reading, listening and (hopefully) paying attention to what you have to say.
The same people who’ll see ads like Warburton’s when they unwind in the evening.
Don’t they have a sense of humour too?
One that can be tickled by sensitive appeal every now and again?
You don’t have to be as blunt as the bread ad. Subtlety will likely be key with this audience.
Look at Google’s search page. Every day, different in different countries (to tap into cultural differences), there’s a different cartoon image celebrating something. Often, it’s an anniversary of someone or something you’ve never heard of. So by exploring what the image is about you learn something new.
And why would you be using Google search? To learn something new. Nicely tying into their daily dose of Google Doodles.
Couldn’t you harness humour for your business?
It wouldn’t have to be daily; you might think of doing something on a weekly or monthly basis. It could widen your appeal, make you appear less unfeeling, unconnected to your customers and potential customers.
Sometimes being too straight leads unintentionally to humorous responses. Like those answers school children come up with when they interpret questions literally. (Used in our title image, or take this for a genius, unarguable answer – though not what the examiners were looking for).
Think about it could work for you. How to show your funny side every now and again. And create a stronger connection between your business and target audience.