A great article and podcast, “How Humor can Humanize a B2B Brand: Tim Washer on Marketing Smarts -MarketingProfs” by Matthew Grant with Tim Washer, discusses integrating comedy into a ‘Business to Business’ social media campaign:

Grant produces a podcast called “Marketing Smarts” that is featured on, a website that aggregates multiple online resources for marketing professionals. Washer is currently the Social Media Manager for Cisco Systems, after working with IBM where he produced a humorous video titled “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale,” which lampoons the outdated techniques that IBM’s mainframe sales force was using.

In the interview, Washer, who trained as a comedian, makes a comparison between successful comedy and successful social media marketing. He states that both have to be about something, and they both have to be honest about it. He goes on to point out that when a company makes mistakes, the best way to defuse the hostility that can result is to be candid about it, and even have some fun at your own expense. As the relationship between a business and its target market has changed to a two-way conversation, Washer believes that any social marketing campaign, whether a blog, a YouTube channel, or a Pinterest page, the corporation must be honest, transparent, and engaging. It has to connect with each follower on a personal level letting them know that the poster is, in fact, a real person, while officially representing the corporation. It has to authentically project the characteristics of a staff member who thinks and feels like a consumer, and who is also part of a corporate culture that isn’t too stodgy to poke a little fun at itself.

Washer concludes by advising us to focus on how whatever your product is can solve a problem for your customers.

Another proponent of using humor to facilitate communication is Chris Bliss, a writer and comedian, who examines the profoundly powerful and fiercely efficient way that humor exposes and communicates basic truths in this Ted Talks video:

Bliss begins tying the function of comedy and satire in advancing communication at around 3:40, and uses Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin and its exposure of the VP Candidate’s lack of seriousness as an example of comedy’s power to get directly at the heart of an issue. Later in the video, he talks about how comedy’s use of misdirection is what helps it get around our natural defenses to deliver a message that might otherwise be to unpalatable to digest easily. He further reveals how the inherently viral nature of comedy works to extend the reach of the embedded message and the speed with which it propagates itself.

-Paul Heitsch


~ by goodpackagedconsumers on September 13, 2012.