ZOG Digital’s Thomas Stern shares how brand’s can leverage humor to drive user engagement and conversions.

This article was originally published by Business.com

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Developing a human presence in today’s digital age can help differentiate your brand and build stronger connections with users.

Even large brands like Google have chosen to not take themselves too serious by leveraging clever humor to deliver their industry-leading content and service offerings. Balance your strategy and delivery to provide users with an experience that provokes engagement and boosts conversions.

Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Define Brand Tone

The tone of your content sets the stage for how users will experience your brand. This creates a lasting impression for how users will remember your brand and develops expectations of consistency across all channels. Find the right tone and voice by experimenting with a balance of smart and valuable content paired with approachable and relatable delivery.

Many brands have developed a memorable digital presence by leveraging a strong, inviting tone through clever delivery. MailChimp is known for incorporating humor into their digital experience to reduce user frustration and differentiate their brand from its more structured competitors. Its style guide outlines a transparent look into the mix of quality services and approachable humor that has established them as a leader in the field.

Aarron Walter, director of user experience at MailChimp, explains the benefits of evolving their primate platform into a more human experience to keeps users engaged and coming back:

“Treats and discovery are an important part of the design process in the user-experience team that I lead at MailChimp. We’ve discovered that humor laced into copy, the personality of Freddie the MailChimp, and many easter eggs tucked into the workflow can transform an otherwise mundane task into an experience that people look forward to, and sometimes even miss.”

Oreo offers another great example of how a strong brand voice can transform a 100-year-old brand into something worth talking about. To celebrate this milestone, the brand decided to develop a campaign called Daily Twist to reenergize the brand and build connections with consumers through engaging imagery and a strong, consistent voice across all channels.

Each day, Oreo released a new photo with an often-humorous spin around trending topics happening that day. This real-time engagement resulted in a 280 percent increase in shares on Facebook, millions of impressions and Facebook views, and the highest brand buzz increase of 2012. The success of this campaign helped cement Oreo as a digital leader in social content and an authority for leveraging humor to drive engagement.

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Encourage Engagement

The goal of your content is to provoke an action from users. Using humorous and clever content encourages people to let down their defense and listen to your message. By lowering apprehensions, you can encourage users to engage with your brand and invest time with your content.

Utilize approachable content to drive on-page action like newsletter signups and email lists on your site. A little personality can go a long way to drive action and increase time on site. By developing a brand personality through strategic tone and delivery, users will be more likely to remember their experience and stay engaged with your brand.

Retain Users at Critical Points

Often brands experience user drop-off throughout the customer lifecycle due to issues with engaging content and usability. By incorporating humor into your brand’s personality and content strategy, you can minimize frustration and keep more users invested throughout the sales cycle.

A great example is the use of clever error pages, like a 404 page for broken links on your site. Often, users who land on an error page when navigating your site may become frustrated or leave altogether. You can improve your user experience and customer retention by implementing a creative error page that utilizes humor to soften the blow of a site error.

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Increase Exposure

While there is no secret sauce to going viral, many brands find success in creating content that entertains users. Increase the shareability of your content by using clever delivery across more engaging content mediums such as photos and videos.

Old Spice is yet another great example of transforming a brand commonly associated with your grandfather into something that engages a wide range of target audience segments with outlandish campaigns. Their use of funny videos marketed toward both men and women created a movement of conversation that helped Old Spice reinvent its brand and claim market dominance as the top selling body wash.

Their follow-up “response” campaign, which personally addressed users in the same fun fashion, is noted at one of the most successful viral campaigns ever created and helped claim Old Spice as the number one most-viewed branded YouTube channel of all time.

Conclusion

Ther are risks for brands experimenting with a playful tone. Do your research to understand how to best connect with your target audience segments and find the right voice for your brand. Regardless of the execution, a human personality will carry your brand to better relationships with users that drive conversions. Use humor to enhance your marketing delivery but remember that you’re probably not as funny as you think you are, so leverage your full team, testing, and data analysis to find what works best for your brand.

Regardless of the execution, a human personality will carry your brand to better relationships with users that drive conversions. Use humor to enhance your marketing delivery but remember that you’re probably not as funny as you think you are, so leverage your full team, testing and data analysis to find what works best for your brand.

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