Spotlight on Humor

Ken Schmidt, former Director of Communications for Harley-Davidson and author of the newly released “Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road to Dominance”

Hey, wanna know what’s boring? As in, boring as hell? Commoditized businesses. Pick any industry on earth and what you’ll see is that virtually every business serving that industry looks and sounds the same as every other business in that industry. The stuff each business is selling looks identical — if it’s not, in fact, identical — and their go-to-market tactics match their competitors tit-for-tat. No wonder so many businesses resign themselves to competing on price (which, let’s be honest here, isn’t competing at all) and struggle to keep the loyalty of their customers and, equally sad, employees. Everyone’s marching in lock-step with everyone else, rendering their businesses, and the people who work for them, dull, invisible and lifeless. No wonder loyalty is dead!



You wanna know what’s attractive and always will be? Humor. What’s every single person on every dating site list as one of the top qualities they seek in a mate? You know it. Look, at the end of the day, there’s nothing any business can’t sell you that you can’t get from someone else, quite possibly for less money. So you’ll buy from whichever business you, for whatever reason, happen to “like” more than any of the others. Even if it’s just a tiny little bit more. And what’s more likable than humor? 



Any business that makes an overt effort to get its most important publics (like those customers and employees just mentioned) to see the human, light-hearted qualities of their culture and their approach, I’d argue, is going to be more like-able and, thus, attractive, than businesses that don’t. I bet you’re similar to me in that you have trouble remembering jokes or funny stories, but you certainly remember who you heard them from. Given the choice, those are the people you’d prefer to hang out with again, right? Who’d choose predictable dullards? Who would you rather have as your boss?  


There’s no downside to weaponizinghumor at your business.