Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Comedians About Branding

They have more in common than one might expect

Jim Jeffries skit about gun control is a great example of someone sticking to a value while also remaining on-brand. Netflix
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Comedians are unsung heroes of society. Their work keeps us humble, grounded and helps us see certain issues from a different perspective, all while putting a smile on our faces.

Comedians and video marketers have more in common than you might think. Both need a recognizable voice, awareness of current events and a granular understanding of their audience. This past year was a huge year for video, and we can expect the trend to continue in the future. Here are three indispensable lessons video marketers can take away from comedians.

Tone as a weapon

Tone is a subset of voice used to add flavor to the messaging based on the intent, channel and audience. Tone is an extremely powerful weapon for explaining pain points, discussing solutions and prompting action.

Comedian JP Sears is known for his satirical sketches on a wide range of fads and trends. In his “First World Problems” sketch, JP uses his signature sarcastic tone to discuss many of the problems we face living in the first world.

About 90 seconds in, the video takes a drastic turn from the hilarious mocking of upper-class problems to focus on one of the most detrimental issues facing human life: the lack of clean water. In what began as a comedic sketch, JP uses the power of tone to do a 180-degree turn to compassionately promote his and Charity Water’s joint efforts to bring clean water to those who desperately need it.

Through the use of tone, JP was able to convey to his audience that their problems are marginal compared to the less fortunate, illustrate the depth of the clean water crisis and prompt people to take action in a fantastic example of influencer cause marketing.

Tone of voice is a critical element in any comedy routine. Similarly, it is just as important in a video marketer’s ability to present the message, hook viewers and evoke the intended response.

Take a side

Thanks to this age of social media and the constant connectedness we live in, the boundaries between business and social issues are more blurred than ever. Nowadays, we see brands and public figures take sides every day.

Comedians need to be opinionated to generate reactions. Wisely taking a side on trending issues is necessary to get noticed and build a following. Take Australian comedian Jim Jefferies. His famous take on gun control turned him into one of the biggest names in comedy.

While he certainly lost fans with this bit, it elevated his fame and gained tons of support from those in favor of gun control.

According to a study by Accenture, nearly two-thirds of consumers want businesses to take a stand on cultural, environmental or political issues. As a video marketer, there’s no denying that taking a stance on a social issue is risky. The key is finding an issue that is relevant to the majority of your target viewers and taking a stance that reflects their ethos. Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign with Colin Kaepernick was an excellent example of this concept.

With the right premeditation, making a bold statement about a social issue can do wonders to build a dedicated following and give them a deeper rationale for choosing you over a competitor.

Pinpoint the human truth

The common denominator that makes any comedian successful is their ability to find the human truth relevant to their audience. The human truth refers to the consistent social and psychological qualities that motivate humankind, regardless of experience or belief.

For a comedian to resonate with their audience, they need to have a firm understanding of the general mannerisms and everyday realities viewers associate with. While primarily known for his hilarious dad jokes, comedian Trey Kennedy is an expert at using situational humor to highlight the little human truths of certain demographics.

In video marketing, your ability to pinpoint human truths is key to speaking your audience’s language, delivering authenticity and building confidence that you are the solution to their problems. In other words, you need to see viewers as people before customers and understand them on a personal level. If you can nail the human truth in your videos, success is around the corner.

“Know thy viewer” is the golden rule that both comedians and video marketers must follow. The end goal of a comedian is to make people laugh, whereas the goal of a video marketer is to promote a brand. The process to meaningfully accomplish these objectives is very similar. If you are feeling stuck in your video strategy, watch the highlights from your favorite comedians. From a marketing standpoint, they know more than you think.


@KevinSvec9 Kevin Svec is a senior copywriter and chief content strategist at E2M Solutions Inc.
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