Likes: Good Sense of Humour

Picture yourself at a party. You’re talking to a member of the opposite sex; they look great and appear to be quite interesting.  In the middle of conversation they accidently use the word ‘suppository’ instead of ‘depository’ (imagine that!) You laugh, understandably. They duly acknowledge the mistake was made, and ensure they will do all they can to ensure the rest of the conversation will be free of errors. Stunned by the sterile response, you take an awkward sip of your drink and hope to be bailed out as soon as possible. From the other side of the party, you hear chuckles from a conversation you’d much rather be part of.

Now, not all business-client relationships can be represented in the above analogy. But some can. Too often many businesses will avoid showing a sense of humour out of fear of appearing ‘unprofessional’ when in reality it can be taken as a profound display of respect for your customer.

People are savvy. They know (and are likely weary of) ‘corporate’ and ‘marketing’ speak. Addressing them in this tone may make them feel like they’re being talked down to. But engage with your customers on their level, and you’re not only checkmating their cynicism and respecting their intelligence, you’re also demonstrating you understand them.

Famous news-parody publication The Onion boasts an enviable readership demographic – 18 to 44, 26% with an income over 100k and 35% with an advanced degree. This hip parody paper has started producing ads.  Only these ads feature The Onion’s biting satirical approach. So what brave company would pay to be publicly mocked by the world’s most renowned satirists?

You might have heard of them – a company called Microsoft. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was famous for being terrible. If you weren’t aware of that and the armies of keyboard warriors that perpetuated this opinion, let me get you up to speed with this ad for the latest version of Internet Explorer. With almost 3 million views at the time of writing this and an overwhelmingly positive response – this just shows how beneficial being self-deprecating can be.

This approach isn’t limited to mass-advertising. It can be applied to day-to-day transactions.  Displaying a sense of humour demonstrates intelligence and confidence – give your customers the credit they deserve and you might be surprised by what it does for your brand.

– Jakub

Tune Your Message To Match Your Audience

Each year towards the end of May, I begin the search for a humorous birthday card for my friend. I know him well and we have a similar sense of humour. So instead of giving him a standard birthday card, this year I opted for a “Commiseration” card. After signing it with a line about losing his youth to the hands of time, it’s good to go. Now, I wouldn’t dare do this for my mother – but that’s because I know how to tune my message to match its audience.


When a new client first joins us, the first question we always ask is “who are your callers?” For instance, I recently spoke with the owner of a vacuum cleaner wholesaler. With some probing he was able to inform me that the majority of his callers are small business owners (usually vacuum cleaner retailers), male, over 40 and always excited about the latest new model.

To make sure that I tuned his messages to match his audience, we agreed on the following. The voiceover artist would be male and sound of a similar age to his callers to convey expertise and trustworthiness. Because callers could be on hold for as long as two minutes while staff investigated stock, it was important the wait felt as short as possible. Messages would therefore be scripted of varying length, some shorter and some longer, to make it harder for the caller to discern how long they’d been waiting. The music would come from our Blues & Country collection (see here) as the client felt this genre best suited the musical tastes of his listener. And the tone of the scripting would be authoritative. Facts and statistics on performance would be littered throughout the scripts as this was what his audience responded to.

If you find yourself needing to write a promotion or put together a customer profile, here are some of the questions that I recommend asking yourself prior to writing:
• Is my audience predominantly male or female?
• Old or young?
• Who are my competitors marketing to? What kind of customers are they targeting?
• What do my customers like to do in their spare time?
• Which industries are they drawn from?
• What type of language will they respond best to? Formal or casual?
• Are they driven by rational or emotional motivations?

By understanding who your audience is, you’ll be better positioned to make a connection with them and hold their attention. You might even like to put together a short survey to give to your current customers in order to understand them better!