Humour is one of the most effective human-bonding tools and PR is an industry with human bonding at its core — this interconnects the two. However, when one talks of PR, humour is not really considered a suitable component.
Think PR, and you think of overtly formal and straight-laced discussions where agencies and clients are found chasing deadlines, creating campaigns, securing coverage, and reaping communication benefits. So, where does humour, the most essential element of communication, fit into this description?
Let us look at some stats. A report by WARC — the world’s leading marketing intelligence agency — titled Effective Content Strategy Report 2018, includes humour among the top four common themes in branded editorial-style content that can demonstrate a business outcome. The report found that emotion and humour were the creative strategies of nearly a third — 32% — of shortlisted entries. This in itself proves that if used effectively, humour not only can build brand images but generate economic benefits and other intangible rewards like customer loyalty.
In my nearly 10 years of work experience where I have been on almost all sides of mass communication, I have seen humour work its magic! My emails are full of emoticons and one-liners, and my out-of-office notices have made people wait for my return just to tell me how entertained they were. Now isn’t that what PR, or rather the entire game of communications, is supposed to be about –bonding and lasting strong relationships?
Humour is an art we all possess, why not make use of it as communication professionals? For in an age of social media and a culture of memes and GIFs, a little bit of humour makes a lot of difference.
Appropriate humour can work wonders. Inappropriate humour can also work wonders — but in a not-so-pleasant manner.
Hence, be very careful while using this tool with your choice of words and expressions. Certain situations will remain terrible, no matter how funny your joke is, and the audience will neither laugh nor applaud.
So here is what you can do to add humour to your work and your personality as a PR professional:
You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian to use a little humour in your day-to-day professional life. These simple small steps will have a visible impact, adding not just to your professional qualities but enhancing positive outcomes.
Keep trying and keep up that smile…yes, the one on your face right now!
Ritika Sharma is English Editor at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me