“The secret to humor is surprise.”
Using humor in your storytelling has the ability to make your story memorable. However being funny is definitely an art when telling your story. There are many pitfalls and as a brand storyteller you need to be careful you bring your audience on a journey they are comfortable with.
When telling a humorous story it is best to keep your intended audience in mind. If ever in doubt about the sense of using humor the old adage “ if in doubt leave it out” definitely applies. I have listed 5 areas you should consider when telling a humorous brand story.
1. Start With A Problem
The funniest brand stories show how a problem is overcome. The humor lies in the approach to the problem solving and the misadventures that occur along the way. The key to the best humorous brand stories is to make your audience relate to the brand on a human level.
By showing some self-deprecating humor a brand shows its human side. We all want to relate to the brand on a human level so this approach to brand storytelling when done well is going to be a winner.
2. Keep It Authentic
Humorous brand storytelling is not a license to mislead your audience. Keep your storytelling authentic and reflect the reality of your brands ability to solve a real life problem. Whether your story is an image, a blog posting or a video the humor has to enhance the storytelling and give your audience that something extra makes the humorous content work for you.
3. Keep It Memorable
A funny story is a way for you to help your audience remember your story. When using humor in your storytelling you need to ask yourself will this make my story more memorable? You also need to ask yourself are you creating a positive memory? All storytelling has to have the ability to make your audience stop what they are doing and think your brand has a story worth hearing.
4. Remember Your Brand Values
It is not enough to be funny, your storytelling must reflect your brand values. It is unlikely your audience will easily accept a humorous story from a brand that is alien to what they expect from your brand. All brand humor should be in line with your brand values.
5. Test Your Humor
Always test your humor, as what people find funny can be very subjective. Too often these days people offend their audience by getting it wrong. It is easier to test what may be considered funny on a selected audience than have a PR issue over badly received content or worse again content that is perceived as downright offensive.
Bringing It All Together
Sometimes when using humor we look for a formula. After all Plato himself said “There is no harm in repeating a good thing.” The problem with this approach in humorous storytelling is that it probably won’t work because much of being funny is all about surprise as mentioned at the start. Being funny is often about delivering that unexpected twist the puts a smile on your audiences face. When done well a humorous brand story has the ability to capture your audience’s attention and make you stand out from your competitors.