The Comedians Contract

4 February 2013

Our most precious commodity next to time, is attention.
When a comedian starts a story, he is trying to weave a situation where you give him your attention in return for the promise of a payoff – a punch line or surprise that kills you (I should point out that “kill” in this context is a good thing).
If it doesn’t work, we begrudge that time we spent hearing his story. Attention is a precious commodity. When there was a public uproar because a character on Coronation Street had an affair with a schoolgirl, the actor was attacked in a Manchester Bar by an obsessed fan. These fans are invested.
So – this is a powerful force. If you can get it right – ie, deliver on the promise, you will make a connection beyond anything that information based training can make happen.
So we are examining the power of entertainment based awareness campaigns. Some would call it content marketing. Where the content is a funny film and not a white paper.
The mistake, I think, is to say that these are mutually exclusive. Information is good, and so is entertainment. One has breadth, one has depth. 1000 employees might share a 3 minute video that entertains, but only a handful will seek out the white paper. Or the policy. Or the powerpoint. But used together, you get both. If you use the entertainment as the signpost, the policy (or the change in behaviour – even better!) becomes the destination.
Compliance AND behavioural change? Now that’s worth having.

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