The minute I graduated from college I could feel the seriousness of life begin to creep in. I needed a job, and for that I needed a car. Sitting in the dealership, I stared at the stack of papers in front of me, realizing that, yes, I actually had to read them and try to understand them. This would be the first time in my life my signature would really hold me to something. And the rest of my life was probably going to be filled with documents I might struggle to understand. This first moment of “adulting” (there have been many others since) felt seriously heavy.
How do I work through all that seriousness? For me, it is now and always has been, to rely on my sense of humor. My ability to see the laughable in what might at first feel insurmountable helps me bring my head back down to earth, put things in perspective, and motivate myself to tackle it. Finding humor is human, after all, and I find it’s a particularly effective way to frame a challenge, whether it’s personal or connected to the branding projects I work on here at Intrinzic.
Why is humor such a powerful emotion? I think there are three reasons:
1. Humor bonds us
If I am meeting someone new, my first goal is to laugh with them. Not only does it make our interaction more enjoyable, but it breaks down barriers. If we have laughed, we have connected – and that is fundamental to forming positive relationships, which is key to the vitality of a brand. After all, we want to buy from people we like.
2. Humor is healing
Humor relaxes the body, boosts the immune system and triggers the release of endorphins. And we can’t help but spread a little bit of that to those we love. That’s why when we see a funny super bowl commercial we want to share it. Harnessing the willingness of the masses to share funny content is a powerful tool for advertisers.
3. Humor is persuasive
If you have ever had to talk about a difficult subject you know that a little humor can help. It helps shift perspective, to see situations in a different light. Humor can make your audience more receptive to not-so-great news. It can help you get your point across with less effort and make it better understood by others.
Who in the branding world is using humor best these days? Here are my top picks.
Clorox’s campaign “Life’s Bleachable Moments” is a hilarious campaign that focuses on the outrageous yet relatable messy moments of home and family life. Clorox brings humor to something we all dread – cleaning up a germy mess.
Zendesk is a customer service software provider that’s hailed for their humorous marketing that shifts perceptions about the customer and product support industry. Zendesk tells the story of their brand and their culture through humorous vignettes that convey the intangible experience and benefits of working with them.
Browsing through corporate stock photography can inspire laughter. But not the good kind. Stock photography is known for being cheesy and dry. Demonstrating their self-awareness, and giving the world a chance to laugh with them, rather than at them, iStock partnered with Twentieth Century Fox to promote Vince Vaughn’s 2015 movie Unfinished Business. Together they created a series of 12 images that show the movie’s characters Photoshopped into staged corporate stock photography, seizing the moment to poke a little fun at themselves and introducing their products to a wider audience.