I'm a firm believer that brands are not built on products, but on how they make people feel. Once we establish our brands, purchases and loyalty follow.
Successfully positioning a brand means creating a positive emotional connection with the audience. According to a study from Watermark Consulting, brands that prioritize the customer experience strongly outperform their competitors. The stronger the connection, the stronger the likelihood of a purchase and eventual loyalty.
The Human Touch
Without a recognizable brand, products are much more likely to be overlooked, which means the companies behind them cannot grow.
Audiences crave human connections. As companies grow and layers of bureaucracy develop, those connections become harder to find. All the polished marketing and customer service voices start to blend together, leaving an opening for truly authentic brands to claim the attention of an audience starved for humanity.
To strip away that mechanical front, we, as marketers, need to turn to an essential ingredient of human communication: humor.
According to Nielsen, 47% of audiences say humorous ads resonate the most. Dollar Shave Club, one of the most famously funny brands, didn’t achieve a $1 billion acquisition through quality products alone. By developing a likable personality that humanized the brand, the young company accomplished massive growth within just a few years.
Just this year, KFC successfully used humor to bolster its brand recognition. It noticed that only 43% of fast-food ads were linked correctly to the brand that produced the ad. KFC brought in “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Darrell Hammond and others to impersonate the brand's iconic Colonel Sanders in ads — and it worked. KFC enjoyed a 31% increase in consumers correctly linking its ads to the KFC brand.
Humor allows people to experience our brands in a personal way. When half of every buying decision is emotional, not logical, creating that bond is essential. By developing campaigns that are less about winning customers and more about making friends, our brand messages can live beyond the initial period of consumption.
Blending Personality and Information
The more positive the brand association, the greater the likelihood we'll build long-term customer loyalty.
Even in our most laid-back campaigns, however, data is critical. As marketers, we need feedback on strategy, particularly in the early stages of discovering how we should present our brands.
In humorous branding, data acts as the audience laughter that tells us which jokes work and which ones bomb. By testing different hypotheses across multiple channels, audiences, and locations, we can eliminate what doesn’t resonate and discover a central brand personality that is effective across the board.
Omnichannel marketing is gaining popularity, but companies are failing to take advantage of cross-platform opportunities. Not every piece of information should be included on each channel, but forming the same connection across different bridges presents a consistent front to multi-platform audiences.
The most successful campaigns focus on universal human sentiments. Implementing global campaigns in local markets adds a personal touch to otherwise corporate-seeming brands. By localizing globally effective themes and reusing messaging, we can repurpose existing work while doubling its effectiveness.
Even the smallest local efforts should rely on data to determine their effectiveness. When deciding whether to sustain, change, or kill a campaign, we should turn to the information we collect to see whether our messages are generating the value we expect.
Together, humor and data can quickly take a brand from boring to memorable. By creating relatable content and refining its delivery across platforms, we can transform our brands into engines of consumer loyalty.