NICE Initiative White Paper 4: Case Studies on Humor by Penina Rybak


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What do animals, selfies, Super Bowl ads, and the viral #SochiProblems Twitter feed teach us about entrepreneurship, visual content marketing, and social media strategy? Here is the fourth entry for The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship White Paper Series, about the psychological and practical aspects of today's startup culture. Written by an educator turned entrepreneur, using the NICE lens to study, write about, and yes, newsjack current events for takeaways that help us better balance our humanity and technology in today's iEra and globally connected but emotionally fragmented world.

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NICE Initiative White Paper 4: Case Studies on Humor by Penina Rybak

  1. 1. 2/7/14 © Penina Pearl Rybak, Socially Speaking LLC, All Rights Reserved NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship: White Paper 4 By Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH Founder/CEO Socially Speaking LLC Director: The NICE Initiative Train Tracks Underneath Visual Content Marketing & Social Media Train: From the Super Bowl to Sochi--Case Studies in Humor "The tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next." -- Norah Ephron "To me, comedy is just twisting reality. It's commenting or observing or twisting life." -- Steven Wright What an interesting week's it's been this first week of February! Who knew I'd have so much fodder to choose from for this white paper! From funny Super Bowl ads to the @SochiProblems AKA #SochiProblems feed (the Twitterverse take on what's really going on behind the scenes at the winter Olympics) the point I made in my Wordpress post last week, that humor is where the mind and heart meet, is being made all over the globe! I’ve been writing about humor on Wordpress because I wanted to use my NICE lens to provide some psychological insights into current content marketing trends entrepreneurs should be aware of (and take advantage of), to maintain the human element of providing disruptive innovation re: their service/product. While it's inevitable that entrepreneurs end up joining the ranks of those selling something, there are ways to stand out from the crowd and connect to our clients; storytelling and humor, which I wrote about in my book as well. Many of us have been told that successful entrepreneurship today hinges on wearing different hats and taking a crash course in digital marketing. Many of us have been told lots of things (some true, some false) about the road to successful entrepreneurship, some of which I wrote about in my latest article for The Huffington Post. While I agree that it's important to be active on social media, I believe that more of us in entrepreneurship need to remember the "social" in social media. That means tapping into our collective humor, and recalling our fascination with stories from childhood so that we hone our storytelling skills (which I wrote about previously here and here).  Honing a sense of humor is also intellectually and emotionally beneficial for ourselves, as well as others. It hones our resiliency and creativity, especially when it's portrayed visually. Balancing our humanity with our technology is key, particularly in entrepreneurship, and particularly for content and digital marketing in today's iEra of
  2. 2. 2/7/14 © Penina Pearl Rybak, Socially Speaking LLC, All Rights Reserved customizable selfies, narcissistic ramblings and  promo-selfies, and the ever expanding visual based mobile tech tools promising increased productivity but creating a social etiquette quagmire. Thanks to the mobile technology revolution, an offshoot of the overall Tech Revolution, advances in software and Apps such as Canva provide a plethora of  tools  to incorporate humor like never before. Thanks to social media, another offshoot, being globally connected 24/7 lets us all become better at comic timing, especially when we combine that with newsjacking, like I tend to do :)   There are many case studies on humor available in the blogosphere, and my Pocket (to tag) and Evernote (to organize in my "Blogging Fodder" Notebook) Apps are getting quite the workout this week! There are many ideas and insights to gain from the online Super Bowl chatter (pre-game and post-game) about the best/worst i.e. funny ads to the hilarious photos accompanying real time tweets by journalists in Sochi about their adventures. I will write about deconstructing types/stages of humor and implications for entrepreneurship and visual content marketing, including an excerpt from my upcoming book, as this series continues. For now, I want to point out that in marketing, a call to action is used to trigger the process of creating psychological momentum for "leads" to become customers and enter the "funnel", which is something entrepreneurs need to keep in mind. I first learned this by being a pediatric speech therapist in the school system, trying to find common ground with my students, and then my fellow educators/therapists and parents of children with Autism, who needed us to all find ways to work together as a team to help them succeed and grow. I then learned this again the hard way when I first started my company. I made mistakes and learned by trial and error, and from a few less than stellar elevator pitches and presentations/keynote speeches when I started out as an entrepreneur. One of my personal mantras thus became "Trigger humor to trigger the connection", something I strive to be mindful of in real time and cyber time, and especially when giving seminars/speeches. That's why "Join the Journey for Change" is my company motto. That's why I've given educational seminars around the country since 2009 on play, social skills and humor development in youngsters with Autism/ Special Needs. It's all connected. Our brains make continuous connections between what we see, and what we know about our world, and how "it's supposed to work". Laughter is triggered when we find something humorous, usually because of how it looks (physical humor), or how it sounds i.e. the content's delivery is tweaked to appeal to our episodic memory (linguistic memory). That's why I believe that one of the train tracks underneath the visual content marketing train we're all on these days is HUMOR. I agree with Brian Solis, a thought leader on social media whom I follow regularly, that digital marketing relevance is contingent on emotional resonance. Humor is a crucial vehicle to providing emotional resonance in content marketing. It SHOULD be used in social media marketing campaigns, especially via funny pictures because it quickly and efficiently provides memorable messages, Calls to Action (CTA), and emotional triggers for our
  3. 3. 2/7/14 © Penina Pearl Rybak, Socially Speaking LLC, All Rights Reserved brains to zero in on, process, store, and integrate into our inner landscape and psyche, which in turn affects all our actions and deeds. A person's sense of humor is as individualized as a fingerprint; no two are alike. Part of the human condition is self discovery about one's talents, ideas, humor, and the intersecting process of all three, which contributes to the journey; especially in entrepreneurship. Honing a sense of humor in one's self and finding it and harnessing it in others are both essential to an entrepreneur's state of mind and digital footprint, as well as the social media marketing campaign to gain clients and retain their loyalty. It's all about finding common ground and having Theory of Mind (empathy, perspective), both of which can be QUICKLY accomplished using visual content based social media posts! As Walt Disney said,  "There's nothing funnier than the human animal." Animals have always been popular in the humor arena, and were very prevalent in this year's Super Bowl ads. They are also a popular them in art. Have you seen artist Yago Partal's renditions of animals wearing clothes and portraying various human personalities i.e. buyer personae AKA social media archetypes?  Have you seen the "cow romance" courtesy of Chevy? Have you seen the funny RadioShack Super Bowl ad displaying your favorite 80s characters? We are all visual creatures somewhere on the archetype continuum, not just people who are "visual learners". We are all selling something at one time or another. We can all tap into the visual modality, especially in entrepreneurship and marketing; something Dan Roam does so well. It's why I am eagerly awaiting his new book Show and Tell and want to share his humorous Ode to Pictures, which I've shared before. Got humor? Then you have strategy, game, and one of The Hooks for visual content marketing!  
  4. 4. 2/7/14 © Penina Pearl Rybak, Socially Speaking LLC, All Rights Reserved Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH CEO Socially Speaking LLC Director: The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship LinkedIn Page: Penina Rybak 37/900/191 Email: Website: About.Me: Twitter: @PopGoesPenina Tumblr:  The NICE Initiative WordPress Blog for Book: Pinterest: Peninaslp Slideshare: Facebook: The NICE Initiative TheNiceInitiativeForFemaleEntrepreneurship Google +: The NICE Initiative +TheNICEInitiativeFemaleEntrepreneurship YouTube: Vimeo: Phone: (646) 820-5547