Let’s face it, the Internet is a vast wasteland of garbage. While it has changed our lives in many positive ways, it has also created a level playing field and allowed those without something valuable to say to compete evenly with those who do. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach your target audience. The more TV channels there are, the more difficult it is to find something to watch. Content marketing is much the same: too much content, not enough quality. Luckily, there is a way to cut through the noise with something worth tuning-in to: humor!
Getting Consumers to LOL!
Getting people to laugh is not as easy as it appears, especially in print form and in the context of content marketing. There is a definite psychology to getting consumers to laugh–and laugh so hard that they actually make a noise discernible to the human ear. In order to get people to laugh, and laugh out loud at that, we must understand what they are looking for.
Personally, I try to mention Lavar Ball in every piece or writing I create in some shape or form. This is all fine and good, but if someone does not know a lot about basketball, and is not looking for something basketball related, mentioning Lavar Ball, no matter how humorous, does very little good. Instead, one must understand what the consumer is looking for, and use that to make them laugh.
Understanding what a particular target consumer will find funny, what they might find dull, and what they might find offensive is a crucial part of the psychology of LOL. One of my fellow WriterAccess Bloggers, Lynn H, said it best in “Laughter is Medicinal and Humor is Therapeutic to Your Bottom Line.” Within the context of her post, Lynn discusses medical marketing and the fine line between making fun of someone who is sick and making someone laugh. Her post clearly illustrates the psychology in getting someone to laugh loudly in front of other people. There might be a plethora of reasons a consumer is looking for medical information, so you’ve got to be careful. Understanding your target consumer and whether and what type of humor is appropriate goes a long way towards achieving LOL.
It Needs to be REALLY FUNNY
In all Capitals. Getting people to laugh with you (not at you!) is challenging, and much that is written for consumers has to be over the top to get the coveted LOL. Diving further into the psychology of getting consumers to LOL (on a side note, don’t you just love these abbreviations? Writing LOL saves a lot of time over writing Laugh Out Loud, whoops, I just wrote Laugh Out Loud, whoops I did again, thanks Britney Spears), is the idea that by making our branding funny, no matter our industry, whatever product we are pushing, will be more successful.
In his blog for WriterAccess this month, DL M illustrates this idea using the example of GEICO. DL’s point is that GEICO’s commercials are funny, and the humor attached to the brand helps its marketing and identity. While DL mentions GEICO’s use of McGruff as a primary example of this, I like to think of their commercial featuring retired NBA Player Dikembe Mutombo. What does Dikembe Mutombo have to do with Insurance? Not a thing, but GEICO’s overarching campaign has certainly made us LOL. When we think of insurance, GEICO is one of the first names we think of. Perhaps my earlier assertion that the comedic value of Lavar Ball should be mentioned in every article I write is not as far off as I originally assumed?
Laughing at Ourselves
Diving further into the psychology of the LOL, and getting our consumers there, is the idea of being able to laugh at ourselves. Regardless of your feelings on Donald Trump and how has done as President, most people would likely agree that they would view him more favorably if he had ANY ability to laugh at himself. I don’t know about you, but if he mocked his hands or his combover, my opinion of the Donald would SKYROCKET!!!
The idea that our content will actually improve by inviting people to have fun with us (and even at our expense) is not a new concept. In The Serious Business of Poking Fun at Yourself, Tim G uses the example of Lenovo‘s “Tough Season” campaign, which mocked the company and simultaneously increased sales of the company’s tablets by 65% in a year. Humility and self deprecation=laughter=likability=increased sales and success. It’s Psychology 101.
So there you have it! The Psychology of getting consumers to LOL is a laughing matter and with careful thought and execution can be achieved. Now if you excuse me I am going to go return to recording another ROUSING (all capitals intended) edition of my podcast, “Don’t Let the PhD Fool, I’m not really that smart.”
Jason D‘s writing experience is varied. He is currently finishing his dissertation in the field of Criminology on the relationship between psychopathic personality traits and lying. Please don’t let the academic background fool you, Jason will write about any and everything and is well versed in popular culture. He has written for Groupon, MarketResearch.Com, and a variety of other smaller outlets in addition to his academic work. Additionally, he has written a variety of works that he is attempting to get published including a women’s guide to the men in their lives, and a humor book (think something one would find at Urban Outfitters) on having fun at work.