If ever there was an industry that could use some help in not taking themselves so seriously, it would be financial services. So why are so many credit union Boards and CEOs against using humor in marketing and branding?
It can’t be because humor is unpopular.
From court jesters to comedians, humor has always been part of human civilization, and it certainly hasn’t let up as our preferred choice of entertainment has moved online. How many chain email jokes have you received over the years? How would YouTube have ever gotten its start without funny videos to share?
We know that humor drives conversations.
A good joke-teller can break the ice anywhere. The funniest Super Bowl ads are the ones talked about at work the next day. We also know that humor drives clicks online — readers are drawn to funny content, they share that content, which in turn increases clicks — and the memes that go viral are usually the funny ones.
Humor is a quick way to establish a bond.
And isn’t the role of marketing to make a connection between between you, the marketer, and a consumer? “This (ad/post/video) made me smile. They understand what I like.”
Sure, humor isn’t always funny to all people.
It can be irrelevant, irreverent, even inappropriate at times. And there is a huge difference between the slapstick of The Three Stooges and the wit of George Carlin.
Yes, some people might believe humor has no business in a serious business such as financial services. Which I find ironic, since businesses that take themselves too seriously become natural targets for humor. (I Googled “humor in financial marketing” and got “about 124 million results” in 0.16 seconds. Most were jokes about banks.) My guess is that any reluctance to use humor is more about control — humor is too unpredictable, and can’t be buttoned down.
But humor is part of our experience as humans, and credit unions need to be as human as possible.
Besides, banks have corporate and stodgy down pat.
Which makes it even more fun to go for the grin.