April-Fool-PrankI’ll admit I was tempted to create an April Fools blog post for today on “The Top Ten Reasons Creative Thinking Is Overrated.” It would be a funny and quick post to write (ten spoof reasons followed by “April Fool”) during what’s going to be an already hectic week.

Then I remembered a post author Jim Joseph wrote last year extolling brands creating April Fools social media as a way to show a human side. I replied to Jim’s blog saying I’d considered writing a post with reasons why a brand shouldn’t do April Fools prank social media.

Well, fundamental brand strategy won out over blog writing expediency!

5 Reasons April Fools Prank Social Media Is a Joke for Your Brand Strategy

Here are five reasons April Fools prank social media content is a joke when it comes to your brand strategy:

  1. Your brand represents a promise, and unless you’re Penn & Teller or Stephen King, tricking your most important audiences is likely not part of your brand promise.
  2. Just because another brand creates April Fool prank social media doesn’t mean you should. If another brand jumped off a cliff, does that mean your brand would too?
  3. Your brand doesn’t use “funny” and “surprise” as a part of its brand strategy and brand experience any other day of the year. Doing it one day a year doesn’t make your brand seem human. It just makes your brand seem confused or that it is a mindless follower.
  4. Since your brand is more conservative than it is fun, you will only approach April Fool prank social media half-heartedly. If you are going to introduce humor into social media, you should be broad and/or consistent with it so your audience gets it.
  5. Self-deprecating humor is safer than “at your audience’s expense” humor. Can you turn your April Fool prank social media idea into one where your brand is the butt of the joke? Would you want to? Probably not.

What do you think about Aprils Fools prank social media and its fit with brand strategy?

You can say I’m too much of a stick in the mud, but if a brand tries to make fools of its customers, that doesn’t seem to be part of a great brand strategy and brand experience. And on that point, I’m serious. No joke.  – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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9 Responses to “Brand Strategy – 5 Reasons April Fools Prank Social Media Is a Joke”

  1. AlexanderG says:

    I did a very lame “fool” post on my book series Facebook page. It elicited one “like” (so far) this morning, and maybe a groan or two from others. It all depends on what a prank (or most likely a bad attempt at one) will do for your credibility. An obscure mystery author doesn’t have to worry too much about that!

  2. Mike Brown says:

    Sounds like a real new product idea to me!

  3. As a publicity stunt, my podiatrist faked his own death last April Fools day. All of his patients (including me) believed him. After all, he always had one foot in the grave. See what I did there… one “foot”… okay, sorry…

  4. AndrewNemiccolo says:

    Mike, thanks for the thought-provoking post on social media consistency in general, all year long. Are there examples from this year or past year’s April Fool’s pranks that you felt were well-done AND brand-consistent?

    • Mike Brown says:

      Randy Bowden mentioned that Google was owning the day with its April Fools activity. I think Google, based on its brand (sense of discovery and mystery, taking a light attitude with its logo), has been able to actually incorporate an expectation for something surprising for April Fools Day into its brand.

  5. Mike Brown says:

    I’m trying to talk a friend of mine who agrees with you, Charlie, to write an op-blog piece on why April Fools is a good marketing idea for brands wanting to be more human.