15+ Ways Your Brand Can Have More Fun this Year without looking CRAZY.
Updated sept 2018
As a business, you have an image to uphold.
And unless you're in comedic entertainment, chances are that image does not include dancing around in funny costumes, singing and telling jokes.
But with the increased focus on customer experience these days as drivers of leads, sales and brand loyalty, is it okay for your brand to be a little fun or even be funny sometimes? Can you do it without losing your brand dignity?
Let's look at some brands who found great success with fun & humor. Then we'll bounce some ideas around to see if we can get your creative juices flowing on how to be more "fun" this year without looking like you've lost your mind.
What is Fun?
Fun by definition, is doing something that is enjoyable, amusing or funny. Different things are fun to different people. This is largely because fun speaks directly to us, to our own understandings, experiences, needs, wants, misconceptions, etc.
This is why having fun gets our attention the way that it does and often makes us chuckle, sigh, shake our heads or muse, "that's so true". Because it is different for everyone, it is infinitely important to know your target buyer personas and consider how they will respond to your various levels of fun.
What is the role of Fun & Humor in Content
It gets attention.
People remember it.
It puts people at ease. When we laugh, endorphins are released into our bloodstreams, leaving us feeling relaxed and happy.
It inspires action, CTR, Impulse Buy, bookmarking the page, and so on.
It makes customers feel closer to you.
It makes customers want to come back. They like this feeling.
People want to share it.
People want to like it.
People want to sign up.
As a bonus:
10. It also helps your content creators stay motivated and engaged for your customer because they're having more fun as well.
These are all great things, especially with social media that allows people to immediately act on this feeling.
But we're not talking about this extreme, unless of course it's in line with your brand.
What do case studies show about it?
Fun works. Endless ad campaigns have used humor to reap the benefits listed above from Mountain Dew, Old Spice, Charmin, Wendy's. And yet, because humor/fun, by design is always fresh and new -- if you do it right -- it continues to work.
These are all big names. So you may be thinking, maybe they can get away with going a little overboard. You're right.
When you try to make your brand more fun, there is always a danger of damaging your brand, especially if you are a traditionally serious brand.
You want to engage your audience and get the above benefits, but maybe you're a little scared of devaluing your brand. So here are some ways to add some fun without destroying your brand.
I'm going to start with some low key ones for the more serious brands to ease into fun in their content and then we'll move into the more outlandish but effective.
Simply figure out where your brand is, where you want to start, and how far you want to go and "gopher" it.
15 Ways to have more fun with content
An analogy is when you compare something you are trying to explain to another thing that is seemingly unrelated. Through connecting the 2 unrelated ideas, you make create a humorous and memorable impression in the audiences's mind. You can enhance the analogy by adding images that accentuate the idea.
Is your Content A Shark Tank? Most people immediately understand what a shark tank is. It's a dangerous place, in which something is trying to eat you. This is not how you want your audience to feel when they explore your content.
So it creates an impression of what content should not be. It should not feel like a place where you, as a marketing professional, are lying in wait to attack when they least expect it.
2. Absurd Statements
Making absurd statements can draw a reader in. Did you really just say that? What's the catch?
Is Exercise Why You Can't Stay in Shape? Of course not. Exercise helps you stay in shape. But obviously there's a underlying message in this absurd statement. It gets attention. People want to read more.
People love stories. Find a way to tell a story about your brand, your brand's founders or something that is going on in the industry. Make it fun and engaging. Teach a lesson. Endear your customers to your brand.
If you are targeting a specific age group, nostalgia is a great way to do it. it is one of the most powerful emotions and it is very effective in convincing potential customers to buy.
5. inside jokes
Inside jokes make people feel that they are part of an exclusive group. It's best to run these through several people though. Because it may make perfect sense to the creator, and totally lost on your audience.
6. Funny Ha Ha Jokes.
You can simply tell a joke. In this case, it should aways have a connection your brand or related through your content for maximum impact. But there's nothing worse than trying to be funny and missing the mark, so again, run it through a few people.
7. Funny Pictures/videos
A picture or gif can say so much. It can instantly bring a smile to your face. Add images that are outwardly funny or force people to look twice to be sure they saw what they saw. Find a funny way to connect a strange image to your content topic.
People love to figure things out. Invite your audience to figure something out, search for something on your site or elsewhere or solve a mystery for a chance to win something.
Don't just put random games on your website. The games should be related to your industry and help expand brand awareness and engagement of your loyal customers. They should be fun and shareable. They should make loyal customer want to come back, sign up for emails to learn of new releases and bond with your brand.
People love to learn if their one of the crowd or an independent thinker. Post surveys and encourage participation.
Brands have had contests forever. Find new ways to incorporate contests into your brand.
Get a funny or endearing mascot that you use in your ads and in content. Give it a background story and develop it as a character. Aflac Duck or Geico Gecko are great examples of this.
13. Celebrate with your customers
If you're local, this might be celebrating the victory of a sports team or developing holiday content for your site.
14. Mild vulgarity
Some companies can get away with mild vulgarity. But know your audience well. Charmin is a good examples of this. They have commercials and content that discuss "poop" in a funny way. Many would consider this a bit vulgar. But they are toilet paper company, so it aligns with their brand.
15. Have some Personality
Have a personality, Or more than one personality associated with your brand. These are in line with your brand but distinct. These are people in your company whether "real" or a bit "put on". They should be seen as real people connected to your brand. But because they are not the brand itself, they have a little more leeway and can be forgiven if they go too far. You can have these personalities competing with each other, playing off each other or engaging different target audiences. By revealing the men and women behind the curtain, you make your brand more approachable and relatable.
Flo with Progressive would be an extreme of this concept. If you remember the Snapple Lady, that's another one. But today's consumers like authenticity. So most brands would not want this person to become a charicature, because their realness is your competitive advantage.
How to know when your fun has gone too far.
Fun in branding is about engagement and customer experience. Customer experience drives leads, loyalty and sales. All of this fun you plan to have should somehow relate back to your product or service so that people can associate the two in their minds. You should have a couple fingers on the pulse of your customer to determine what's working. And what simply goes to far.
By adding more fun to your brand you can improve your customer experience and brand loyalty. But as with anything, taking it too far can have the opposite affect. Know your target. Keep them always in mind. And have a little fun with your brand this year.
What do you think?
Can a serious brand have a sense of humor without destroying the brand?
Can you think of other ways brands can generate loyalty by being more fun?