3 Reasons You Should Want Your Brand to Get Made Fun Of

3 Reasons You Should Want Your Brand to Get Made Fun Of

In case you missed it, Jennifer Lopez hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend, and just like anything she does, it was epic.

jennifer lopez on saturday night live / snl wearing versace dress
Source: NBC

J.Lo had a series of hysterical sketches, but one that stood out was her spoof of the boutique fitness gym, Barry’s Bootcamp. The sketch mocks Barry’s over-the-top trainers and their lofty motivational speeches. Of course, my favorite part is at 3:38 when J.Lo quotes Britney Spe— oops, I mean, Mother Teresa.

But this isn’t the only time the gang at SNL have parodied a fitness brand. Back in October, they satirized SoulCycle’s intense instructor auditions.

READ MORE: Here’s the Secret to SoulCycle’s Content Marketing Strategy

My favorite parodies, however, are the ones that draw laughter in the midst of controversy. In an incredibly swift move, Ryan Reynolds poked fun at the Peloton ad backlash by recruiting “Peloton Wife” in a commercial for his company, Aviation Gin. She clearly needed to throw back a glass or two after an exhausting week of ridicule.

I had the chance to chat with Sean Hunter, the infamous “Peloton Husband”. Even he understands how important it is to to laugh things off:

I’ve been making light of it by cracking a few jokes (see my Instagram post about waiting up for Peloton wife!) and I’ve been receiving a lot of support and love. The parodies have been funny but with that people are still saying a few hurtful things! The most important thing is to stay confident in who you are and know what’s right! Just brush that negativity off your shoulder when people are trying to get a rise out of you for no reason!

Sean Hunter

Why Mockery is the Best Kind of Marketing

More often than not, if your brand is being mocked or parodied, you’re doing something right. In fact, I consider it to be a key indicator of brand marketing success.

Here is the upside to to your brand being the butt of the joke: 

It boosts your brand awareness. 
Free media? Yes, please! A viral parody or branded meme is one of the best forms of earned media (and flattery!). From social media mentions to press coverage, brands should count their lucky stars for any impressions that don’t have to come out of your marketing budget.  

It demonstrates strong brand equity.
Your brand equity speaks to how your product is perceived by your audience. If you present a consistent brand over time, your audience will choose you over your competitors because they know what to expect. When your brand is parodied, you’ve established so much consistency that even outsiders can articulate (and sensationalize) what makes you, you. The humor aligns with the customer perceptions all over the world. 

It unites your audience.
If a parody really hits the mark, your audience will relate to it, and relatable content gets shared. Isn’t it way more fun to have a laugh over a piece of content that someone else understands than to cackle alone on your couch? A little friendly roasting spotlights your company culture while bringing your audience even closer to the brand.

So the next time SNL or Twitter trolls are throwing sticks and stones at your brand, take it in stride. Unless you have a serious scandal on your hands, it’s usually in good fun. Your sales numbers will prove it.



LISTEN: I had the chance to interview Adrian Molina, the senior brand manager at Aviation Gin, and Dr. Karen Freberg about how this brand uses pop culture in their marketing. Listen here on the Making the Brand podcast!


Brands are Taking DNA Tests Thanks to Lizzo

Brands are Taking DNA Tests Thanks to Lizzo

For once, Maury Povich isn’t the only one talking about DNA tests.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard the anthem every woman has been singing all summer long: “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo. The song is so popular, it’s been sitting at #1 on the Billboard charts for three weeks in a row.

It’s everywhere —  from sporting events, to commercials, to movies. “Truth Hurts” was even part of the opening scene for the Netflix original film, Someone Great. Yes, this is an accurate representation of how all women react when hearing it:

But “Truth Hurts” wasn’t an overnight success.

It turns out Lizzo dropped the single two years ago and it is just now being heard around the world. Here is one of her original tweets promoting it in September 2017:

If that’s not a reminder that hard work pays off, I don’t know what is!

As Lizzo continues to rise to superstar status, brands are joining the conversation and capitalizing on her hit single’s cultural relevance. Companies are filling in the blank to the notable lyrics,“I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% ________” on Twitter.

Everyone is taking DNA tests — from retail giants like Walmart and Target, to baseball teams, airlines, quick service restaurants, and more.

But my favorite tweet came from none other than Cookie Monster, whose DNA results revealed he’s 100% cookies. Lizzo and hundreds of fans chimed in to complete a hilarious cookie-inspired parody.


But Really, What is Your Brand’s DNA?

We know DNA as our genetic makeup — what makes us who we are. And while brands may not have chromosomes, they do have their own DNA. When brands define their DNA, it helps their audience understand them better.

  1. Brand Purpose – WHY does the brand exist?
  2. Brand Audience – WHO is the brand helping?
  3. Vision – WHERE is your brand going?
  4. Core Values – WHAT is important to the brand?
  5. Brand Personality – HOW does the brand sound?

The Results

If you want your audience to love you, you have to understand what they love. And it turns out, right now, audiences everywhere love Lizzo.

When brands define who they are, develop their personality, and pinpoint a likable brand voice, they don’t need to sell, sell, sell. Simply becoming part of the conversation and having a pulse on pop culture, trends, and current events can win the hearts of your audience.

Your brand’s DNA will humanize your brand and bring your followers, fans, and customers closer.


READ MORE: Need help understanding your audience better? Upgrade your audience research with empathy maps.

The Fool-Proof Content Marketing Formula

The Fool-Proof Content Marketing Formula

In school, math was never really my thing (still isn’t!). I’ve always been the left-brained, creative type, which is how I got into content marketing. So don’t look to me to help you with the quadratic formula. 

But one thing I did absorb about mathematical formulas is that they help you land on a desired outcome every time. They are tried and true, effective, proven. Formulas provide structure so you can plug and play until you get the right answer.

Creative endeavors, on the other hand, are not always black and white. When you’re writing, designing, or creating content for an audience, it’s subjective. There is no perfect formula. 

Or is there?

Taking the Guesswork out of Content Marketing

In grade school, we’re taught that when we don’t know the answer, guess. I opted for that route countless times on standardized tests, but this didn’t add up for me in the real world. 

As a content creator, I got tired of “guessing” what types of content would work. That’s a good way to waste time and money.

So, I looked for common denominators — things that I knew were 100% true when it comes to content marketing. What were the shared truths for both brands and their audiences? 

Brands want awareness, recognition, and engagement.

Audiences want value.

That’s it. That’s all we know for certain, but it’s enough to apply a formula that results in content themes that are a win-win for both groups.

The Content Theme Formula

Content themes are the best way to add consistency to your content calendar. When you establish themes that reflect your brand, resonate with your audience, and align with your goals, all you have to do is post, and repeat. The repetitive theme, paired with tailored design elements, make your brand recognizable over time and keeps your audience coming back for more.

To create content themes on any marketing channel, follow this formula:

Content Bucket + Content Type + Brand POV = Content Theme

Content Bucket – This is the first part of the formula because your audience comes first. Your content bucket is how you will add value and ensure your content has a purpose that serves your fans.

As you develop content ideas, start by categorizing them into content buckets. When you approach your content with one of these buckets in mind, there’s always something in it for your audience.

  1. Educational – teach me
  2. Conversational – engage me
  3. Promotional – entice me
  4. Entertainment – captivate me
  5. Inspirational – influence me
  6. Connection – unite me with others

Content Type – What exactly will you be posting? Your content type speaks to the physical media you plan to publish. 
Media Types:

  • Blog or Article
  • Short-form text post
  • Short-form Video
  • Long-form Video
  • Image
  • Meme
  • GIF
  • Infographic
  • Poll
  • Story
  • Boomerang
  • Ebook, Template, or Document
  • Gallery

Brand Point of View: This part of the formula is the trickiest, but it’s also your secret ingredient. What special flare will you add to your content to differentiate it? This can speak to the visual aesthetic of the content, its story angle, how it sounds, how it’s structured, etc. 

Your brand’s point of view is where you add an essential design rule or element that makes your content yours. And when it’s unique and repeated over time, you become unmistakable to your audience. You can implement this point of view as part of a seasonal campaign, or an everlasting brand staple.

The Content Marketing Formula in Action!

Of course, the best way to learn and retain something is to see it in practice. I’m sharing some examples from a brand that I think gets the content formula — SoulCycle. As shown by the content types I shared above, you can apply the content formula beyond social media, but I’m primarily focusing on SoulCycle’s Instagram posts.

Before we dive in, let’s establish SoulCycle’s color palette. They use white and yellow with touches of black and gray. They also use the timeless typeface, Helvetica, for all of their branding. You’ll notice how they extend these colors and font treatments to create refreshing content that still feels connected.


Inspirational + Images + Instructor Quotes / White Background / Yellow Highlights

I love SoulCycle’s twist on inspirational posts with this content theme. Instead of posting overdone, motivational platitudes, they build community by sharing original quotes from their own instructors.


Entertaining + Images + Screenshot Phone Notifications

With this theme, SoulCycle found a refreshing way to inject humor and motivation into their feed. Rather than putting static text on a plain background, they delight their follows with eye-catching iPhone notification simulations.


Conversational + Tweet Images + Relatable Rider Thoughts

There’s no better way to connect with your audience than to share content that is relatable. SoulCycle taps into this by leaning on authentic tweets and comments from their own members. Here is a content theme based on user-generated content (UGC).





Connection + Images + Heartfelt Letters from the CEO

SoulCycle has implemented many campaigns to unify their audience — I always look forward to their annual Pride campaign which champions diversity as one of their values. But SoulCycle also humanizes their brand by frequently sharing letters from their CEO, Melanie Whelan, on Instagram, their website, via email, etc. She writes to introduce campaigns, express gratitude for company milestones, celebrate holidays, and even address controversy.




Educational + Long-Form Blog Posts + 360 Degree Style

While you can definitely develop educational content on social media, a blog on your website is one of the most powerful ways to add value for your audience. SoulCycle’s blog is multi-dimensional with categories focused on inspiration, food, wellness, art, and style. 

The SoulStyle section is my favorite, as they do not solely focus on promoting SoulCycle’s retail line. Rather than shouting promotions or push the hard sell, SoulCycle chooses to serve their audience. This blog category offers helpful advice on everything from seasonal fashion, skincare products, haircare, travel, and gift ideas.


Promotional + Short-Form Video + Animated New Studio Teasers

As SoulCycle expands, they build excitement on Instagram with animated teasers announcing their new studios coming soon. While they promote a new studio, they also serve as special shout-outs to cities and their residents and future members. These posts create camaraderie before they even open their doors.



Your Content Solution

A content marketing strategy is much easier to execute when you have a plan. Once you take the time to develop these themes using the content formula, they will become the gifts that keep on giving! They lay a foundation that fosters connection, brand awareness, and value, while also lending themselves to reinvention over time.

Start looking at brands you follow to see if you can identify their own application of the content formula. Then, try implementing it yourself!


READ MORE: Before you can add value for your audience, you need to know what is valuable to them. Use my empathy map template to learn more about your target!