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Newsletter #914: The “Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Whether you’re a big brand or a small business, taking yourself too seriously makes you look stodgy. A lot of companies aren’t great at having fun, but if you can pull it off, you’ll surprise people –- in a good way. Here are some ways to do it:

1. Poke fun at yourself
2. Make someone laugh
3. Create an experience
4. Check it out: Emergency Compliment

1. Poke fun at yourself

When The Onion hilariously called out some of the tricks used by advertising campaigns to pull on our heartstrings, they used Tide as an example. Then Tide did something cool. They didn’t ignore it, and they didn’t file a lawsuit — they made a video. The ad follows the fake Onion example down to the Indie-song singing puppets and unlikely celebrity endorsement. Tide showed they were paying attention and that they had a sense of humor — which made their response much more likeable than if they had lashed out or ignored the joke altogether.

The lesson: When someone confronts your brand, everyone is watching to see how you’ll react. Using humor is a great way to make sure you look like the bigger person.

Learn more: Adweek

2. Make someone laugh

MailChimp makes your job more fun. On every page, their chimp mascot tells you a little joke or suggests a funny YouTube video, and their Resources page includes a coloring book called “Love What You Do” among other beautifully designed guides. LoopFuse also understands that marketing automation tools can get boring. That’s why they replaced “thinking messages” like “loading” or “updating” with “adding more cowbell” or “calculating the square root of -1.” Tech services aren’t expected to be the life of the party, but that’s what makes these little surprises even more delightful to their customers.

The lesson: How can you humanize your brand with humor?

Learn more: Clever Zebo

3. Create an experience

Not everything you show your customers needs to be carefully packaged, informative, and salesy. Sometimes you can say more about your brand without saying anything about your stuff. For example, if you go into a Puma store, you might hear a red phone ringing. Pick it up, and you’ll hear a cow mooing or a joke. They also have Puma Peepshow boxes in their changing rooms that show random video clips each time you open them. Puma doesn’t care that the wacky stuff in their store has nothing to do with sportswear — it has everything to do with customer experience.

The lesson: People talk about the unexpected, the weird, and the plain-old goofy.

Learn more: Digiday

4. Check it out: Emergency Compliment

Having a bad hair day, spilled your coffee on your shirt, or just feeling a little insecure? This site has just the thing to cheer you up.

Check it out: Emergency Compliment

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