Comic Baratunde Thurston and Method strategist Paul Valerio led a spirited session called What’s So Funny About Innovation? The discussion centered on the parallels between research and strategy and stand up comedy, and how success in both requires delivering fresh, innovative thinking that audiences can identify with.
Both comics and agencies and clients constantly deal with a similar, fundamental issue: should I change my material (campaign) before my audience tires of it, or continue it and stay familiar to them? For both brands and comics it is critical to stay in touch with what the audience wants and is ready for, otherwise they risk alienating them and confusing their message. Also, both great campaigns and comic routines are built on insights; jokes that are too general fall as flat as a marketing message with nothing behind it.
Anyone that regularly presents work to clients can certainly take a few pointers from stand up comics. When presenting we are essentially on stage, we need to entertain, inform and take our audience on a journey. Without doubt we would all be more engaging presenters after experiencing the rigors and risks taken in a stand up comedy workshop or class.
Here is a link to a white paper this session was based on, as with other 10×10 documents it is definitely worth a read.