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There are at least two big ways to get laughs .... - tell a joke or do improv....


A comedian who simply tells jokes is trying to sell the audience a clever story and a punch line. Their compensation: laughter. On a good night their warehouse of punch lines "sells" like hotcakes. On a bad night, they're left with an inventory of jokes no one wants.
Some brands are punchlines. Their sales process reads like the directions from a shampoo bottle: Offer a sellable service or product. Announce the offer with as much advertising showmanship as affordable. Hope for the best. Make a few quick sales. Repeat as often as possible.
"Punchline brands" are about:

  • The price.

  • Quick wins with as little risk as possible.

  • Best guesses about product demand.

  • Basic transactions - the money.

Improv is different.
Improv is a collaborative endeavor requiring not only a team but participation from the audience. Improv's payoffs include connections with the audience as well as the laughter. There isn't a script so it involves more risk, but the impact is much deeper. These laughs are of the "you had to be there" variety .... - the dialog can be repeated, but the magic of improv is unique to each individual.
"Improv brands" are:
  • Delivered by teams.

  • Transformational not just transactional.

  • Powerful in their ability to form connections and positive expectations.

  • Riskier but more sustainable since they create relationships.

Improv brands create unique stories. Be prepared to be surprised. That's part of the power of relationships.
Improv brands value design. People feel emotional and aesthetic patterns even when they can't articulate it. Good design drives successful brands.
Improv brands create meaning - .... in addition to money. Meaning is about life-changing aspirations that get us going in the morning. Making meaning is the most powerful motivator.
So, what kind of brand do you want? One that creates an interactive relationship with your clients? One that is sustainable and continues to give "you had to be there" moments even after the sale? Or just a joke?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Wagner

As founder and president of White Rabbit Group, Mike Wagner has focused his energies on creating a model of branding every business leader can grasp and apply to their organization: Brand Ownership.

Mike’s understanding of creative and competitive business cultures was formed at Franklin Covey and Saturn where he witnessed how brand critical standards resulted in exceptionally successful marketing and sales processes.

In the early days of Internet marketing, Mike was instrumental in leading a web development company into Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies. Helping clients make sense of e-business when others could not, his insight as an Internet business strategist won over clients that included Wells Fargo, Principal Financial Group, AOL Time Warner publishing, and more.

Mike speaks, trains, and coaches clients across the nation. His messages and workshops help business leaders re-imagine their brands and creatively practice enterprise-wide brand ownership. He is the author of the professional business blog, Own Your Brand.