( I am thankful to Mr. Steve Cody, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Peppercom Inc., for giving his consent to share information about how his US based PR firm is using humor as a key differentiating factor in the PR business.)
During the Tri-City UnConference, Pakistan Blog Awards 2011 which was held at one of the leading Business School, IBA Karachi. I was having a discussion with one of their faculty member. When I told him about my passion, humor at workplace, he gave me a surprising look and asked me to elaborate more on HUMORCARBONS. After I explained him the role and the importance of incorporating humor in work environment, he wanted me to come as a guest speaker for his class as this is something new.
Well, worldwide, humor at workplace is not a new idea, but, it is new to our work / business environment. At present, you will see application of humor in advertisements is growing in Pakistan, especially after the successful campaign of UFONE funny commercials.
Though humor is not common in the day to day work environment of our offices, but globally it is used in all dimensions of the business. Be it selling products, getting new clients, team building, developing leadership skills, interesting presentations, fostering creativity and innovation, hiring people with sense of humor, as a anti-stress tool etc., humor has proved its effectiveness. In short, humor improves the bottom line of an organization by making its work environment a fun place to work in. As a result people remain happy, stay healthy and become more productive..
Just to highlight how companies around the world are utilizing humor as one of their business practice, New York-based PR firm, Peppercom prides itself on doing things a little differently.
According to its Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Steve Cody, “When we started Peppercom, we wanted to do high quality work and attract the best and brightest, but we didn’t want our culture to be hierarchical, top down, and stuffy. As the whole digital revolution took off, we really started to inject more and more humor into what we did. We attracted a big client, Whirlpool, specifically through our humor. The husband of their head of corporate communications in Chicago listened to my podcast and thought we were smart and funny. We got into the pitch and won it on the basis of our quality but also on the basis of our humor.”
To incorporate an element of fun in its culture, Peppercom offers comedy training in a New York comedy club to all new hires. All employees are encouraged to inject humor into client conversations and to crack jokes in front of senior management.
Cody becomes especially animated when talking about the business results flowing directly from Peppercom’s comedy-centric culture. In recent years, clients have paid the firm to train their own employees how to be funnier. “When push comes to shove,” Cody notes, “and everything else is equal, clients select people they think they’ll work well with. We think humor is a huge differentiator for us.” Having a “fun” culture also attracts loyal and highly skilled employees.
Between 2005 and 2011, the Peppercom saw revenue rise from about $8.4 million to an estimated $14.5 million—and that’s with a Great Recession thrown in. Click here to read Steve Cody’s valuable tips on how to become distinctive.