In Case There is Any Doubt — Your Business Needs a Laugh
If I’ve learned anything from the infinite wisdom of Walt Disney, it’s that we all need to whistle while we work.
When do you find yourself the most productive? When you’re having fun, right? Now I know we can’t all have the ever-amusing, heart-pumping, excitement inducing thrill ride of, say, a professional stunt man. But, increased productivity and overall morale is easily increased by connecting work to fun and humor.
Ok… that’s obvious, right? Wrong. At least not to everybody. Not to most of working America.
I’m constantly amazed that the bulk of corporate America still doesn’t embrace humor in spite of all of the excellent examples of companies who have successfully incorporated a sense of playfulness to improve their bottom line.
There’s no better example of the effectiveness of combining humor and entertainment in the business world than in today’s advertisements. Sure the tug-at-the-heart-strings ads are still out there, sweet talking their way into making you buy that diamond pendent heart necklace, but more and more companies are giving in to their funny bones and creating commercials and print advertisements that make you laugh all the way to the BMW dealership to get that new 3-series.
Look at the business of Super Bowl advertising. A heavy majority of the commercials are really funny and shy away from taking themselves too seriously. The most popular beers out there—like Bud Light for instance—have been relying on comedic commercials for almost a decade and it’s obviously paid off in their increased consumption.
Furthermore, with the non-stop influx of viral videos, advertisers are diving into a whole new realm of usable material. Basically, corporate America is fascinated with videos from YouTube.com Consequently, they are trying to figure out how to monetize this craze. I’m sure we’ve all seen the “Bride Goes Crazy” video of the wife-to-be who has a breakdown on her wedding day because she hates her hairdo, which leads her to take some scissors to her scalp and lop off her locks. It turns out that this “reality” video is actually a staged video created by a hair care company to create a “buzz” for their products.
Or, how about Coca-Cola and Mentos jumping on the coke bottle fountain craze? My good friend Steve Spangler got creative with some household products and within months after its internet debut, two big name companies got a funny and entertaining way to sell their product. They totally embraced this creative, fun and humorous use for their products, and have adopted this humorous craze as part of their marketing plan.
I even mentioned BMW above, who also hopped on the viral video bandwagon and took what was a somewhat frightening video of an overly excited child on Christmas day and turned it into a great way to express how excited consumers would be if they bought their cars. See? If even a serious German car company can see the benefit of adding a touch of humor to their ad campaigns, what could you do if you embrace the humor with your business?
So what’s my point? If a lightened tone works in one business arena, why can’t it work in all of them? The fact that humor in advertising helps corporations to sell their products and services should encourage you to try to adopt humor in to other parts of YOUR business.
When you’re happy, you just feel better about doing things. That being the case, businesses shouldn’t be afraid to find concrete, creative ways to bring humor into the workplace not so it becomes a distraction, but motivation. Sure most companies organize employee getaways and the occasional office party. But what can you do with your job?
How about having your own Coke and Mentos fountain contest during the lunch hour? Or perhaps an office version of American Idol? How about more interactive and entertaining presentations and seminars? (Ok, I’m biased… but you could bring in a really funny motivational speaker to make them laugh until they cry.) I know I retain information much better when it can grab my attention. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to finding a healthy and productive way to incorporate humor into the workplace. Those dwarves knew best; and, hey, they chipped rock for a living but still had a great time.
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