Employee engagement is a laughing matter peppercom


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Is laughter is the best medicine for business?

Green Goldfish #846 – Peppercomm Inc.

You could walk into exactly one agency in New York City, make the following statement and be correct, “What gives? Is everyone a comedian here!”

About six years ago, Steve Cody @RepManCody, one of Peppercomm’s founders and a managing partner, started taking stand-up classes for fun. He worked with Clayton Fletcher, a touring stand-up comedian, to build his chops. (Source: Matt Wilson, Ragan.com)

peppercomm green goldfish

“As he started doing more and more stand-up, he started to recognize that, although he was very good at client meetings and presentations, he was getting a lot better” says Deborah Brown, Partner and Managing Director, Strategic Development. Brown credits the training with developing not only speaking skills, but listening as well.

All for fun and fun for all

It wasn’t long before the entire management committee at Peppercomm was taking comedy training. It was sprung onto the team at an offsite meeting. Soon after that, everyone in the company was involved, all the way down to the interns. “For the past five years, it’s become part of our DNA,” Brown says.

In fact, comedy training is now mandatory at the agency and part of the onboarding process. The half day of training consists of learning about the different types of comedy such as observational humor. It’s become a great way to meet the new hires with graduation consisting of a five minute set of stand-up. The agency has created fundraisers out of the performances as well as incorporating it into agency offsite meetings.

Funny Business

Comedy has become an integral part of Peppercomm. Deborah Brown credits it with improving productivity, building teamwork and injecting fun into the agency. Humor is now part of the fabric of Peppercomm, whether it takes the form of spicing up an interoffice e-mail or creating a funny video for a client pitch. The agency has received a number of positive stories in the press and has recently started to extend the training to existing and prospective clients.

Getting the Last Laugh

The biggest benefactor has been the culture at Peppercomm. The agency was recognized by Crains as one to the Top 50 places to work in New York City. In case you are interested, here are the Top 5 in descending order:

5) Microsoft

4) Conductor Inc.

3) Allison + Partners

2) Squarespace

Drumroll please…

1) Peppercomm Inc.

According to Peppercomm, they attribute a great deal of their success to comedy:

Comedy training does more than create a unique culture. It produces a better business executive, someone who is just a tad ahead of their peers when it comes to listening skills, building audience rapport, and thinking in a nanosecond. Happy, funny employees are also the reason why we maintain so many long-term client relationships, experience low turnover, and produce amazing creativity. And that’s no joke.”

stan phelps comedy debutAuthors Note: I took a comedy class two years ago at the American Comedy Institute at the recommendation of Steve Cody. The class taught by the legendary Stephen Rosenfield was a challenging and joyous experience. I’d highly recommend to anyone wanting to push their speaking abilities. If you can do 5 minutes stand-up, you can do anything.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here’s an NBC report featuring Peppercomm. You’ll see Clayton Fletcher, the Chief Comedy Officer and Steve Cody, Managing Partner:

The example in the post was taken from the Green Goldfish Project. The Project is a quest to find 1,001 examples of marketing lagniappe for employees. Green goldfish are the little signature extras given to employees. They help differentiate a company, reinforce culture, increase retention and drive positive WoM. The book, “What’s Your Green Goldfish?” will be published on March 29, 2013.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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