Kathy Klotz-Guest

Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Cisco’s Routers Are So Awesome, Even Dad Would be Impressed

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm

If you read my blog frequently, you know how I feel about using fun and humor to cut through the “blah, blah, boring” in b2b. One of my new favorites from Cisco is a video around the theme of Father’s Day and featuring Cisco’s ASR 9000 router, labeled as, “The Perfect Gift for Dad.” While not really targeting dads (hey, it could happen – even corporate buyers are dads!), Cisco ties its video to something fun (with “Leave it To Beaver” black and white footage) and nostalgic.  What’s as awesome as great memories of “Dad?” Clearly, according to Cisco, this router is. While I can’t comment on the awesomeness of the product, I can tell you this video is almost as awesome as dad.  If a message cuts through the noise ( and humor does this nicely here), this video will make its way to the ideal audience (are you going to spend six figures on a router for dad?!). Talk about “awesome.” Nice job, Cisco and Tim Washer.

Tim Washer, social media  funny guy, was the  creative force behind IBM’s legendary “Art of the Sale” video series, which were incredibly successful for IBM (not exactly known for lightening up). Tim, who recently left IBM for Cisco (IBM’s loss), has some other great tips on using humor in corporate endeavors (source: http://blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu/mccombs-today/2010/06/happy-fathers-day-from-tim-washer-corporate-funny-guy)

  1. Focus on the problem your product / service solves. Then exaggerate it to the extreme. Hyperbole is always funny.
  2. Point out contradictions in your industry that are “inside jokes” among your target audience, and play on those. Nick Morgan of Public Words shares an example in his blog post.
  3. Be ridiculous. That’s the approach we took for the Father’s Day video. Not many folks would think it’s reasonable to spend six figures on telecom gear for Dad.

And Tim is a man who clearly knows his funny corporate video. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that his picture resembles a pose worthy of Stephen Colbert!

Hubspot is Spot-On with Humor That Delivers ROI

In Marketing, Marketing FUN on June 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Andrew Fowler wrote a great post in April about Hubspot and humor: http://www.newsvetter.com/2010/04/28/hubspot-is-a-hub-for-humor/

I have been watching Hubspot for some time and I agree humor has been a differentiation for this company. It wasn’t an afterthought – Hubspot, who I’ve been watching for some time, made a conscious decision to use humor because it captures who they are and what they are about: helping businesses succeed.

Moreover, the company has made a choice about what kind of work environment it wants to be: FUN. Employees have fun at Hubspot and that means customers are more likely to have fun engaging with the company. If your people are unhappy, ain’t no customers gonna be happy! So the saying goes.

Check out some of the fun Hubspot office hijinks: 

Back to the external ROI question…Success is fun, and to-date, Hubspot has helped over 2500 businesses improve their inbound marketing. According to a recent MBA report from MIT”s Sloan School of Management, most customers see substantial improvements with Hubspot in a matter of months:

In terms of leads, after 5 months of using Hubspot:

  • Customers starting with 1 to 5 leads per month experienced 8.6 times more leads.
  • hose starting with 50+ leads per month observed a 25% increase in leads.
  • Overall, users experienced a 4.2x increase in leads.

One of the things Hubspot is really good at is presenting information in a fun way. It’s all about helping marketers learn, but who said learning can’t be fun? According to the Hubspot blog:

“… no one will hate the idea of having fun while doing serious learning. Four out of the 10 most widely read HubSpot blog articles in 2009 are fun-based: 3 cartoons and 1 music video…”

Four out of ten of the most widely read Hubspot blog articles featured fun. There you have it – validation of what those in the creative marketing community know: humor attracts customers because it stands out. It communicates to your audience that you are a different type of company – one that cares about people. Humor is about customer delight. Having fun is a part of that. That focus on serious business with a fun sensibility drives ROI. It’s that kind of success that will drive others to follow in Hubspot’s footsteps.

Does humor in marketing work? Yes! Hubspot has received over 300,000 views on their YouTube videos (they are fun!), and, according to the company, those videos (and all their cartoons!) are often cited as the reason people do business with the company.

Hubspot, you’re a company after my own heart!

Thank You, Dad

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there. The bond between father and daughter is a special one. And today I am reminded how powerful and magical  fathers are in shaping their kids’ self-perceptions. Fatherhood is tough love, yes, but it’s the “love” and encouragement part I celebrate today.

My father and I were close  – I have his blue eyes, his analytical mind, and his sense of humor. My dad used to tell me laughter was a gift. I just thought everyone had it and couldn’t understand back then the “life jacket” that humor has proven to be. He nurtured my sense of humor and taught me that funny is a meritocracy. We watched countless hours of The Three Stooges, Monty Python (note: mom didn’t approve because it was “raunchy”), and Dave Allen Group together and programs like The Carol Burnett Show. Sure, it was in syndication then but it was the first time I saw a woman on TV with her own sketch comedy show. My dad told me I was funny and, coming from my dad, that meant something. He WAS funny. “It’s in your genes,” he said, “but you still have to nurture it.” He was right. “Look at her (pointing to Carol on TV). She is funny, and so ARE you,” he’d say. He also loved Vicki Lawrence – and I think it was because he had a crush on her (my mom later verified this)! But I cherished that time with my father because it was our love of comedy  that we shared and it was truly “ours” – our time together (without my mom and brothers).  Together, we nurtured our senses of humor, and, more importantly, those were the times he spent nurturing me.

What dad gave me was the gift of confidence. Today, in my experience, there are few women in improvisational comedy compared to the number of men. Few women are encouraged and told how magically brilliant they are – just being who they are.  Yet, my dad always did.  He told me often and I knew he meant it. He was right, too, about humor being a gift. Throughout the ups and downs of life, humor and the ability to laugh have been my “life jackets” in rough waters. Humor is more than my life jacket I would tell him if he were here: it’s my oxygen.

My dad died when I was 17 – suddenly of a brain hemorrhage. He never saw me get several graduate degrees, publish, get married and have a son, go on to do stand-up, sketch and improv comedy on the stage. And there isn’t a time that I am performing that I don’t think of him. I know he is there in spirit. I regret not having the years to get to know my father “the person” rather than just the “father” he was. I do know a few things, however, and one of them was just how much he loved to laugh. He had a beautiful, deep, resonant laugh, too – hearty and sincere, and it was music to my ears.

I often think of how little it takes for fathers to encourage their daughters and the encouragement I received that many others out there do not. You gave me many gifts, dad. And today I think about how three simple words said frequently with love and sincerity changed my life: “You ARE funny.”

Thank you, dad. It takes one to know one.