I have spent the last few years at various improv comedy schools, classes and performances. It’s a way to help me stay both creative and mentally stimulated. One day in class, the imaginary light bulb went off. Or maybe it was more of a mental knock. I realized there is a definite relationship between improv and branding. With improv we try to connect with audiences in a similar way as brands try to connect with buyers.
Consider the following five elements of improv when working to build a strong and memorable brand along with a recognizable presence. A key point to remember; this is not about getting laughs for your brand, it’s all about connecting your brand.
- Character: Improv audiences love to see the characters come to life on stage. They connect with him/her and bonds are formed. We want the same with the brands that we follow. Buy and use on a daily basis. It’s important to have a certain personality. These are the traits we want to resonate with the right audience. Is your brand rugged, cheerful, pretentious or charming? Do you connect with Axe body spray or is Dove more your style? Make sure your brand has the right character attributes.
- Location: We sometimes ask the audience members for a location suggestion or start to create one while on stage. Location allows us to begin the experience. Brands do not live in a void. We must connect brands through the experience one has in a certain location. Drinking a cold beer on a beach is a very different experience then showing a grown man drinking a cold beer in a church. Neither is incorrect. They are just different experiences.
- Relationship: Do you ever feel brands are trying to hard to get your attention? This is the same on stage. If we try to hard to force a relationship, the scene quickly falls apart. Do you remember the first time you engaged a certain brand? Maybe it was a make of a car or a specialty service. Did you connect immediately? Were you hounded by over zealous marketing and turned another way? We need to focus on the buyer and create a brand relationship that is engaging.
- Emotion: This is one of the most important keys within an improv performance. Showing emotion helps connect us to other players on stage as well as to the audience. Strong branding appeals directly to the emotional state and needs of the buyer. Typically, we want to have a positive interaction, a bond or a sense of love or attraction for a brand. Consider putting your audience first and focusing on what desired emotional state you want to target with your buyer.
- Status: When we are on stage, we consider the status of the other players. They are either high status or low status. It is not a better or worse situation, but allows an understanding of how we interact with each other. Brands can help raise a buyer’s status. This could be through the clothes they wear or the products that help them be more successful at work. A low status brand is not bad. It is the doer, the long lasting, the never fail and get the job done brand. It’s the work boots and gloves that you need to help get the job done. Not just getting noticed. Make sure your marketing images and content are directed to the right status.
Now it’s time to wrap it up. The show is over. Find time to go see a local improv or better yet, take a class to learn more about how the five elements of improv can make a difference with the products and services you represent.