The Science of Humor and Why Brands Should Use It More


With technological advancement and digitization of businesses, customer expectations from brands have been evolving for a few years. However, the last two years drastically changed what they expect from companies and brands. Businesses, too, have been working hard to keep up with these changing expectations. But ultimately, meeting their expectations boils down to making customers happy, which leads to trust and better sales. Several things go into making customers truly happy, and one of those is humor.

Oracle, along with Gretchen Rubin, recently conducted a study Opens a new window to understand what it means to be happy from a customer’s perspective and the role humor plays in marketing, advertising, sales and service so that businesses deliver a better customer experience (CX). A key finding from the study was that 45% of people hadn’t felt true happiness in over two years. The study also found that using humor required understanding the customer better.

The key findings are discussed below. Let’s take a look at what makes humor click when it comes to branding and communications.

See more: Setting a Strong Foundation for Personalized User Experience

The Last Two Years Changed What It Means To Be Happy

The study showed that the meaning of being happy has changed for 86% of the surveyed people over the last two years. There haven’t been many things to smile or laugh about over the last two years as many things that made people happy were lost. About 45% of respondents hadn’t felt real happiness in over two years. About 25% don’t know or have forgotten what true happiness means. 

The study further found that 88% of consumers wanted new experiences to make them laugh or smile. About 78% were even ready to pay a premium to feel happy. About 53% wished money could buy happiness, and 89% tried to become happy by shopping online.

Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Interactions Must Change

People now want a sense of normality and expect brands and businesses to make them smile and laugh. About 78% felt brands could do more to make them happy. About 91% even preferred brands to be funny. This means humor in customer interactions is a serious business.

However, businesses haven’t done much in this regard. Only 20% of brands use humor in their ads, while 90% of consumers would more likely remember funny ads. Further, 16% of businesses use humor to sell, but 77% of consumers would more likely purchase from a sales representative who is funny. About 24% of companies use humor in their email marketing campaigns, while 69% of people said they would open a brand’s email if the subject line were funnier.

Smiles and Laughter Bring Rewards

Smiles and laughs have become important to building business and customer relationships. If customers are not smiling, then they are walking away. According to the study, 48% of consumers did not believe they had a relationship with a brand if it did not make them laugh or smile. About 41% would even walk away if the brand did not make them laugh or smile. At the same time, consumers will also reward brands that use humor. About 80% of consumers would buy again from a brand that embraced humor, and 80% were more likely to recommend it to others. About 63% would also spend more with the brand.

Brands Need Help To Get Humor Right

The study found that while companies realize the importance of humor, they are also afraid to use it. About 89% of businesses believed they could make their customers smile or laugh. But 95% are afraid to use humor when interacting with consumers. This is primarily because it is hard to get humor right. A bad joke can get the brand “canceled.” About 45% of consumers said they canceled a brand because they felt offended. Humor requires an understanding of the cultural nuances, which in turn, need pinpoint precision. They need data and insights to get the humor right. 

However, businesses don’t seem to be equipped for it. About 85% of company executives didn’t have data, insights, or tools to deliver humor successfully. About 55% would be more confident using humor if they had better customer knowledge and visibility, and 32% would be more confident if they had advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). 

This means you require knowing your customer and putting the intelligence into action to deliver humor and make every interaction matter.

How To Use Data To Improve Customer Interaction

  • Know your customer

To improve your customer interaction, you should know your customers better. This begins by bringing all their data on a single platform. A good customer data platform (CDP) provides you with a single view of your customers across marketing, advertising, sales and service so that you can offer experiences that are more meaningful and relevant to them.

See more: 4 CDP Trends That Will Drive the Industry in 2022

  • Deliver contextually aware and relevant advertising

Use customer data to reach the right audience in the right environment and measure your campaigns’ impact for total success.

  • Execute personalized campaigns for each individual

Data can help marketers in multiple ways. It can help deliver relevant messages, personalize subject lines within the emails, and even send the messages at the right time based on the individual’s preferences. It also makes sure you are not sending too many emails frustrating the person.

  • Create buying experiences that are easy for customers

Use solutions that use data to deliver buying experiences that are easy for customers. This could be providing the most relevant product recommendations or connecting the data with inventory systems to ensure fulfillment as promised.

  • Provide customer service that improves customer satisfaction

A brand’s perception is many times shaped by the kind of customer service they provide. Hence, use data to deliver proactive service, limit marketing messages to unhappy customers, route incoming service calls to the right agent, and schedule/reschedule the field workforce.

Make Every Customer Interaction Count

People want a reason to smile today and expect brands to deliver it. This means adding humor to your customer interactions has become crucial today to win sales. But this requires data, meaning you should know your customer and apply that knowledge each and every time you engage with them. Following the steps mentioned above can help you improve your customer satisfaction and experience, thereby winning you more sales.

How are you using data to deliver humor in your customer interactions? Let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .


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