The answer is that the idea of using humor may make us uneasy. The judicious use of humor can reinforce the key message, be in alignment with the brand image, and be relevant to the objective. However, it requires a deep understanding of a product's core benefit to the physician, a concise value proposition, and the confidence for pharma companies to step outside the advertising norm.
What is Funny?
Physicians are bombarded with sales reps, sales slicks, sales premiums, and more data than a college statistics class. Marketers must look for new ways to grab physicians' attention. We all know that people respond to emotion. Unfortunately, we forget that humor can evoke especially strong emotions that strike both personal and universal chords. Incorporating humor into branding can create a positive perception of approachability, honesty, and realness.
However, it's not as easy as it looks.
You must be careful to not lose the message in your quest for a humorous campaign. Consider humor the vehicle to deliver the message, not the message itself. We can all name commercials that are funny, but we can't always recall the names of the products. The closer the punch line aligns with your value proposition, the more effective the branding effort.
In addition to entertaining us, humor in branding must evoke a response. Therefore, the humor must relate directly to your product if you want to be remembered.
Road Map to a Laugh
Following are some guidelines for incorporating humor into a branding campaign.
In all instances, the comedic payoff must have a strong tie to the product benefit. If the professional audience cannot immediately make the connection to the primary product benefit, the campaign is not going to be effective.
The use of humor or the degree of emphasis must be evaluated in relation to the communication vehicle. Humor can be especially effective in direct-mail efforts, where strong visual elements and impactful type can draw recipients' attention and save the mailer from hitting the wastebasket. On the other hand, the character should have a supporting role in more scientifically-oriented sales pieces.