Creativity Magazine

Humor Gets People To Lower Their Shields

By Mrstrongest @mrstrongarm

In her post about how humor can drive marketing success, Kathy Klotz-Guest writes that “as content marketing explodes, so too, does the volume of noise. You have about 7 seconds to grab attention.”Humor Gets People To Lower Their Shields

Then she said something that really caught my attention:

Laughter lowers the intellectual shield your busy prospects have up all day just to survive the messaging onslaught. Humor opens up a space for connecting because it disrupts the expected pattern.
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Which conjured up the following:

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Humor Gets People To Lower Their Shields

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Neil Patel thinks humor in marketing works for three reasons: it forces people to lower their defenses, it helps you connect with your audience, and humorous content often leads to sharing.
Humor Gets People To Lower Their Shields

We’re skeptical about ads. We’re constantly bombarded with them, so we raise our shields. Humor catches us off guard. We find ourselves laughing and a bit more open to someone’s marketing message.

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Tim Washer points out that a lot of comedy comes from pain. When we use humor to address a prospect’s problem, we’re showing that we understand his point of view. Tim also maintains that if you can make someone laugh, then you’ve made the most intimate connection you can make.

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In her article about boring big brands that use humor, Kim Speier notes that humor can be especially helpful to companies in highly-competitive or saturated industries. She asks:

“What better way to stand out from those that sell a product or service of similar quality and price than by letting your company’s personality shine?”
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Charmin bathroom tissue, State Farm and Allstate insurance, Old Spice deodorant, and Clorox bleach all use humorous ads to get attention.

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You might be tempted to say: sure, humor’s fine for big brands with big budgets, but not for small brands with modest budgets. On the contrary: LinkedIn’s Jason Miller says humor helps level the playing field between big-budget creative ad agencies and a smaller clever marketer.

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Digital marketing expert Ann Handley concurs: “Small businesses might be challenged with limited budgets and resources, but they nonetheless have an advantage when it comes to creating humorous marketing. Big companies generally have more bureaucracy and longer approval processes, making it difficult for them to be nimble or edgy in their marketing.”

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Nonprofits don’t have to settle for boring, either. Check out this video by the Calgary Humane Society. It has more than a million views on YouTube.

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Humor does carry some risk. Comedy is subjective– you can’t please everyone. You need to understand your target audience and how they’re likely to respond. Here’s a good rule of thumb. It’s from a book called The Humor Code by Peter McGraw & Joel Warner.

It’s not whether or not you’re funny, it’s what kind of funny you are. Be honest and authentic.
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In other words, be yourself. Stick to humor you’re comfortable with, and respect your audience.

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Are there other advantages to using humor? Yes: humor gets shared, and it projects confidence.

Humor Gets People To Lower Their Shields


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