Humour in B2B, seriously?

Discover the power of humour within B2B with a few practical tips.

Fact: we all like to laugh. Unless you turn out to be a robot. Laughing makes you feel good and puts things in perspective. But how about B2B? Do those B’s stand for business and burst-out-laughing or rather for business and – um, boring(?).

Let’s face it, everyone has a reason to avoid humour and comedy. However, you would miss out on a lot of benefits.

Wait a minute, using humour, me?  

We get that reaction all the time. Customers like a laugh, but when it comes down to it, they prefer the more ‘safe’ way for their campaigns. Some things they struggle with:

  1. “Help! I’m actually not funny at all. It’s too difficult. Just leave it.”
  2. “I don’t sell sodas. I’m not going to convince my clients with some jokes and antics. They want facts and figures.”
  3. “They’re not going to take me seriously. Humour is for clowns (and clowns are creepy).”
  4. “And what if they don’t get it? Or I insult them? How am I going to handle that?”

Well, this is why humour will work for you too

We (yes, also your customers) are all people. And humour, that’s just a natural part of life. It’s a social medium. It’s an icebreaker, a pacemaker. It’s much harder not to use humour – than to use it. And humour can also play an important role in your B2B communication.

  • Humour plays on emotion, it makes your audience feel good. And makes them even more open to your message. And yes, that is scientifically proven.
  • Humour gives your brand and campaign a personality. One that your audience will grow to appreciate.
  • Humour makes your brand more human. You are no longer a B2B enterprise, but a company with actual people. A company that creates trust. And trust always leads to profit.
  • Humour ensures that you stand out from the rest. It makes you distinctive, and thus more successful

Alright, alright, now just tell me how to use it

Here are a few tips to give your campaigns a fun twist in a good way:

  • First of all, find your voice. How do you communicate as an organisation, and what kind of humour fits with that? Subtle and nuanced? Or rather IN-YOUR-FACE and rebellious?
  • Show a slice of life. Appeal to situations that clients experience on a daily basis, both at work and in their private lives. From crying babies to c… – Um, critical customers.
  • Get to know your target audience. Afraid to use humour? If you know who you’re talking to, you’ll feel better about what you can and can’t do. Try to remember your customers well. Listen to your sales colleagues. Take the time to really get to know customers (persona’s anyone?).
  • Are you communicating to a foreign market that you don’t know yourself? In a country like Thailand there are a lot of other ideas about what is funny and what is not (laughing with royalty is out of the question there). International agencies or networks can advise you. At BBC, for example, we call on our E3 partners.
  • The element of surprise. Hit your target group with humour they won’t see coming from miles away. Clever humour requires time and patience. Turn things on their heads and then again. It’s the only way to stand out from the competition. A first genius idea? Awesome! Now take it a little further.

Humour is really serious business. So next time you’re going to sell something, be sure to add a touch of feel good.

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