Connecting with “The Second City”

July 12, 2013
Who better connects with audiences than Chicago’s renowned improv comedy troupe The Second City (where stars such as Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd, Bonnie Hunt and Bill Murray cut their acting teeth)? That’s why our most recent Brown Bag professional development series for staff featured a presentation from the group’s Communications division, which applies its creative development process and engagement concepts to help companies build brand awareness and loyalty.  The division partners with PR firms, marketing agencies and corporate marketing departments to co-create unique content for brands.
The session was a lively one with insightful examples and some fun improv exercises for us that underscored several key themes, including:
  • Audiences will tell you what’s funny if you let them
  • All comedy is local…what’s funny to pipefitters will be less funny to benefits consultants
  • Audiences want in on the act…break down the wall that separates you from your audiences
  • Speed is a virtue

One approach that resonated for many of us was how to best react to and build upon an idea presented to you. Rather than rejecting an idea outright with a “No, because,” or giving a half-hearted acceptance with a “Yes, but,” nurture the thought with a “Yes, and.” You still can change the direction of the idea, yet maintain the positive brainstorming spirit.