Playful marketing as part of your marketing strategy

Corporate marketing can have humour too
on Tue 8 Mar


Some time ago I was doing some research for a community workshop that I was creating to help re-brand a town (like you do) and I came across an interesting little line about marketing strategy and changing social attitudes.  This was:


“This is accompanied by an equally significant shift from the work ethic to the play ethic”


This got me thinking about how “unbuttoned” businesses have become – literally in terms of dress down Friday - which now seems to be dress down Monday to Fridays. In step with this, marketing is increasingly both playful and humorous.


Social media has definitely helped with this because we know playfulness is a great connector. The clever memes and the witty repartee is enjoyed and then shared  - all of which helps  corporates become more personal and personable and connected to their customers.


The Guardian newspaper explained this rather well:“The play ethic is an attempt to kick-start a new conversation about how we bring creativity and dynamism into the heart of everyday life”


What's in it for you?


Isn’t that great ammunition for a marketing strategy? To KICK-START a conversation about your business rather than someone else’s business?!


Unfortunately, there’s less evidence of that playful creativity on a lot of websites where the language leans towards the turgid and corporate because entrepreneurs are perhaps afraid to loosen their ties in terms of copywriting and images. 


Those of you who‘ve attended my copywriting workshops will have heard me lamenting that sedate approach by most British entrepreneurs and have gone away with the words “Tap your inner American” ringing in their ears!


At first glance, it seems easier for creative companies.  At the core of my brand are cheerful rubber ducks and the exploits of these ducks on my Twitter account have actually brought in new lovely clients. As one observer recently said  “What a powerful example of how authentic branding works. You not only get attention, but get it from the sort of people you enjoy doing business with”


Yes that’s absolutely true.


But what about more “traditionally serious” companies?  One Accounting client threw caution to the winds and asked me to completely re-brand them.  Their website does not show a single spreadsheet, calculator or business suit.  Instead we have lime green radios which talk about “spreading the good news" and eggshells with faces on to promote their “cracking good payroll service.” 


Their marketing is similarly light hearted and friendly, and it’s working . By removing the “professional services shield” between themselves and their potential clients they’re growing very nicely thank you and have now had to move to larger premises and take on more staff.


Some brands, of course, have always put play at the heart of their marketing look at the sassy,  tongue in cheek ads from Virgin Airways and the Meerkats of Compare the Market (there's a blog post about them here) 


I think every company can benefit with being less Corporate with a Capital C. It might feel like a bold move initially but I believe it will quickly pay dividends. If you need some help with that I'm your girl!

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