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The Art of Humour in Marketing: Striking a Balance that Benefits Your B2B Brand 

In the fast-paced world of marketing, humour has emerged as a potent tool for brands to connect with their audience. When used effectively, humour can humanise your brand, increase engagement, and even drive sales. However, like any powerful tool, humour must be wielded with care. In this blog post, we’ll explore the use of humour in marketing and the guardrails brands should have in place to ensure that being funny doesn’t harm its reputation. 

The Power of Laughter in B2B Marketing 

Humour has an almost magical ability to break down barriers and establish a personal connection. When a brand makes its audience laugh, it stands out from the crowd and becomes more memorable. But it’s not just about getting a chuckle; humour can have a profound impact on your brand’s performance. 

When done correctly, humour can be highly effective. Studies have shown that 90% of people remember funny ads, and 69% of people are more likely to click on an email with a funny subject line. In addition, 72% of individuals would prefer to choose a brand leveraging humour over its competitors. Here are some other benefits of humour on B2B brand performance:

Enhanced Engagement: Humorous content tends to be shared more frequently on social media. People love to share something that makes them laugh, which can exponentially increase your brand’s visibility. 

Improved Recall: Consumers are more likely to remember ads that made them laugh. This means that even if they don’t convert immediately, your brand remains in their memory for future consideration. 

Fostering Community: Humour can create a sense of belonging among your audience. When they find your brand funny, they are more likely to engage with it and become part of your brand’s community. 

Positive Brand Perception: A brand that can make people laugh is often seen as approachable, relatable, and enjoyable to interact with. 

The Guardrails of Humour in B2B Marketing 

While humour can be a potent weapon in your marketing arsenal, it’s essential to establish clear guardrails to ensure that your attempts at humour don’t backfire. Here are some crucial guidelines to follow: 

Take the Industry into Consideration: While humour can be a fantastic tool for many brands, it’s crucial to recognise that not all industries are created equal when it comes to employing humour in marketing. In sectors where products or services have a direct impact on people’s lives, such as healthcare, finance, or safety-related industries, a more cautious approach to humour is advisable. In these cases, the consequences of humour gone wrong can be far-reaching, potentially eroding trust and credibility. When considering humour in such industries, it’s essential to prioritise the seriousness of the subject matter. Instead of relying heavily on humour, brands in these sectors might choose to emphasise empathy, expertise, and reliability to establish trust, reserving humour for more subtle and carefully crafted moments that align with their brand’s values and mission. Striking the right balance in these industries is challenging but essential for maintaining the integrity and reputation of your brand.

Know Your Audience: The first rule of using humour in marketing is understanding your target audience. What one group finds hilarious, another might find offensive. Tailor your humour to resonate with your specific demographic. 

Avoid Controversial Topics: While humour can be edgy, it’s crucial not to venture into territory that might alienate or offend your audience. Steer clear of sensitive subjects, politics, and cultural issues unless your brand is known for addressing them tactfully. 

Consistency in Brand Voice: Humour should align with your brand’s overall voice and personality. If your brand is generally serious, a sudden shift to slapstick humour can confuse your audience. 

Test and Iterate: Before launching a major campaign centred around humour, test the waters with smaller initiatives. Analyse the response, gather feedback, and adjust your approach accordingly. 

Be Authentic: Authenticity is key in humour. Don’t try too hard to be funny; it often comes across as forced. Be true to your brand’s identity, and let the humour flow naturally from it. 

Be Mindful of Cultural Differences: If your brand operates in multiple regions or countries, be aware that humour doesn’t always translate well across cultures. Ensure that your humour is culturally sensitive and appropriate for your global audience. 

Prepare for Negative Feedback: Not everyone will find your brand’s humour appealing. Be prepared for negative comments or backlash and have a plan in place for addressing them calmly and professionally. 

Stay Away from Offensive Stereotypes: Avoid using stereotypes or discriminatory content. Humour should uplift and entertain, not perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

Humour is a valuable asset in the marketer’s toolkit, but it comes with responsibilities. To leverage the power of humour in marketing effectively, brands must strike a balance between being funny and being respectful. When humour aligns with your brand’s identity and resonates with your audience, it can lead to increased engagement, stronger brand loyalty, and positive long-term relationships. So, embrace humour in your marketing, but do so with the awareness of the guardrails that will ensure it benefits, rather than harms, your brand. 


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