Strategic Humor – New Trend in Business Communication

23.06.2022 4 Min Read
Strategic Humor – New Trend in Business Communication

Over time, the icon of the businessman has emerged in the public perception as serious men dressed in suits, with huge responsibilities, working in a stressful environment and applying a constructive dialogue format. Does such a perception of a business leader correspond to modern trends? It is essential that all businessmen speak the diplomatic language?

In the postmodern world, a businessman’s role was transformed, which influenced the style of communication accordingly. Business leaders are increasingly trying to position themselves as a part of society and use humor to communicate. This obviously is associated with positive emotion, having an immediate effect on a person’s attitude leading at the same time to a long-term effect. Consequently, strategic humor has become a trend in business communication.

What Is the Meaning of Strategic Humor?

Humor is a simply understandable spoken language focused on key messages. Jokes are easy to remember, while being spread quickly throughout the community they can easily relief a crisis situation. (Meyer, 1990). Result of humor can be instantly seen due to its indicator – an unmistakable emotion - a smile. The humor makes easy to harvest the desired feedback in the target audience, while the emotion received gives us the clear answer to the question of how the set strategy worked. (Hudson, 1979).

The unique qualities of humor and the fact that humor can have a serious influence on a person's attitude shape it into a convenient tool for communication.

Consequently, the area of application of strategic humor is quite wide. It is used in different fields for different purposes:

შესაბამისად, სტრატეგიული იუმორის გამოყენების არეალი ფართოა. მისი გამოყენება ხდება სხვადასხვა სფეროში სხვდასხვა მიზნით:

What Is a Purpose of Using a Strategic Humor by the Leaders?

"If we make people happy, they will write stories about us, so we will not have to spend a lot of money on advertising," said Elon Musk, one of the most influential businessmen and innovators of the XXI century.

Lately, Elon Musk's eccentricity and the way he is applying strategic humor is clearly observed by everyone. The use of contextual humor for a specific mission has become an authentic style for Musk. Creativity expressed in humor and simple way of communication make him one of the most popular persons of our times. Musk's laconic jokes can change a public agenda and make a business clock move counterclockwise.

Could you name another famous person who can just with a five-word joke bring financial benefits to a business, affect the currency exchange market, and/or significantly change the share value of the companies?!

Use of strategic humor and unique communication style makes Elon Mask:

1. The Strongest Business Influencer

The power of Musk's humor is translated into financial indicators. He can establish effective communication with customers, increase sales and share the value of the company at minimal costs. In addition to his own business, he manipulates the global business sector as well using strategic humor. Specifically, Musk's broken heart emoji significantly reduced the market value of the world's first cryptocurrency (see Twitter 1), and the price of one of the least known cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin, rose from 0.1 cents to 72 cents in 5 months (see Twitter 123). ). (Source: economictimes). In supplement, Twitter has also become the target of Musk's satirical humor. Posts on the social network significantly reduced the market value of the platform and eventually led to its acquisition. (See Tweet 12).

2. An Informal Political Leader 

Sharp wits give Elon Musk charisma along with his popularity, which makes him a strong political figure in the eyes of the public while valuing his other characteristics as a leader. Elon Musk can make political weather, as evidenced by recent developments. Musk played an important political role in the Russia-Ukraine information war, where he of course did not forget to use humor. Musk responded to the threat of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov against him with humor, and in response to the way he was addressed by Kadyrov, changed his name to Ilona on Twitter.

3. Optimistic Entrepreneur

It is worth mentioning that being one of the top entrepreneurs he is never discouraged even in case of failure and affords to ease the tense situation with creative humor. He is accustomed to acknowledging his own mistakes and looking at them in humor, while others may perceive them as a tragedy. (See Tweet 1)

What Conclusions Can We Draw from Musk's Example?

Humor is acknowledged as a universal form of easily perceived communication that positively affects a person and creates a positive mood. Consequently, the strategic use of humor by a businessman can increase trust in him and supports in winning people's sympathy. All this leads to a positive effect not only on the personal image of the business leader, but also on his business activities, which ultimately helps to increase awareness and sales.

Considering that the use of strategic humor can bring a lot of benefits to a business leader, it is important to remember that it needs to be used correctly and contextually, as joking about sensitive topics can turn positive emotions into negative ones and lead to bad reviews.

In conclusion, we can say that simple and creative language of communication can establish an emotional connection with the audience and build the perception of a strong, successful business leader.

Featured Insights

To provide a European perspective and assess how Georgia meets the conditions for obtaining candidate status - this was the verdict of the European Commission of June 17, 2022, which all of Georgia was waiting for. But "Companions" Ukraine and Moldova, together with the prospect, also received a recommendation for granting the status of a candidate for EU membership.

According to the same recommendation, Georgia will become a candidate for EU membership if it manages to pull itself out of the quagmire and implement the already repeatedly demanded reforms in the judiciary, eliminate political polarization, achieve de-oligarchization, effectively investigate crimes, promote the creation of a free, professional and independent media, etc. 

The recommendation published by the European Commission on June 17 was a disappointment for many of our compatriots. The opportunity that arose against the backdrop of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the feeling of not using it; Anger at the government or at our own helplessness and a faint hope in our hearts that the Council of Europe will not heed the recommendation of the European Commission - this is probably an incomplete list of feelings and hopes that each of us experienced on June 17th.

The optimistic expectations regarding the status of the candidate for EU membership and the unconditional perception of the advantages of the European choice were once again demonstrated by the survey of 802 respondents conducted by ACT. It is noteworthy that the fieldwork on the study was completed the day before the meeting of the European Commission on June 17 and covered the period from June 11 to 16. The sampling error of the study was 4.2%.


Georgian people against Napoleon

Geography is destiny - this phrase is attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. However, outstanding Georgians believed in changing this fate centuries ago and believe today when we are trying to become members of the European family, despite the fact that we do not have a direct border with it. Europe not only gives many advantages for us in specific areas, but also embodies values that bring us back to the path of our ancestors.

Therefore, the vast majority of respondents have no doubt that the status of an EU candidate - as a path to full EU membership - is important: 84% of respondents think so. The number of those to whom the status of a candidate for EU membership seems insignificant does not exceed 11%.

In your opinion, how important is it for Georgia to obtain the status of an EU candidate?

At the same time, every second respondent expects to receive the status of a candidate member of the EU in the coming months (50%). 33% do not hope to get the status, and 17% of respondents found it difficult to answer the question.

Associated Trio - Together Until the End

The associated trio of countries - Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova - along with their declared aspirations for European integration have a common heavy Russian legacy and lost territories. A similar context and a distinct orientation towards EU membership at first glance seem to have similar prospects, although the recommendations of the European Commission of 17 June confirmed a somewhat different perception of Georgia. Moldova, which has pulled ahead, has become a kind of disappointment against the background of the fact that the country does not participate in hostilities, and there is definitely no leap forward seen by the naked eye.

The fact that the chances for EU membership for Georgia and Moldova, from the point of view of the population, were very similar, was also confirmed by the study. According to the data, respondents emphasized Ukraine's high chances of obtaining candidate status, while Georgia and Moldova were rated roughly the same.

It can be assumed that in the case of Ukraine, which is at war and daily reflects Russian aggression, the decision could be taken for granted to some extent.

But in relation to Moldova, the perception of equal opportunities and the result contradicted the expectations of the population. They believed, that Georgia will also become a candidate for EU membership.

How do you assess Georgia's chances of obtaining EU member status? For Ukraine? For Moldova?

An indirect confirmation that the population was waiting for the EU candidate status is the response to the statement “Georgia is closer to EU membership than ever”, with which almost 4 out of 5 respondents (76%) agreed, and only 1 respondent disagreed ( 21%). 3% of respondents could not answer the question. It is possible that agreeing to the position would also mean seizing a favorable moment in the world political arena, which the country was unable to take advantage of. This is evidenced by the opinion of 2/3 of the respondents that “if Georgia does not receive the status of a candidate for EU membership in the near future, then it will not have such a chance for a long time” (66%).

Do you agree with the following terms:

Merits and Responsibilities for Expected Status

The question of whether the country will receive the status of an EU candidate and whose merit it will be, showed how discredited the political class in the country is and how much citizens remain confident only in themselves. In particular, in the case of the status of a candidate for EU membership, the majority of respondents see the merit of the people, not politicians (40%). In general, the role of the Georgian government in this process is 2 times less - 20% of respondents. 14% point to the role of the parliament, the prime minister and the president as a whole. 9% of respondents talk about the role of Western/European partners.

In the event that the country does not receive the status of a candidate member of the EU, the responsibility, according to 4 out of 10 respondents (38%), lies with the government of Georgia. According to 16% of respondents, the Parliament of Georgia, the President, the Prime Minister and Bidzina Ivanishvili are also responsible for the current situation. 12% of respondents also see the opposition parties as guilty.

In your opinion, if Georgia receives the status of a candidate for EU membership, whose merit will it be?

In your opinion, if Georgia does not receive the status of an EU candidate, who will be responsible for this?

EU membership is equal to the developed future of the country

The benefits of EU membership for the population are quite obvious. In particular, for 9 out of 10 respondents, EU membership directly means a developed future for the country (90%), greater interest and motivation of abkhazs and Ossetians citizens to join Georgia (72%), protection from Russian military aggression (66%). Moreover, not only membership in the EU, but even the status of a candidate for its membership for the vast majority of respondents (84%) is a clear signal for Russia that the country has chosen a Western course. It can be assumed that for this part of the respondents, the failure to obtain the status of a candidate for EU membership indicates, if not directly the opposite, then it may still indicate a dubious foreign policy orientation of the country.

Do you agree with the following terms:

As for the benefits of joining the EU by industry, the respondents most of all expect positive things in the economy (57%). This answer is far behind, although in terms of frequency of mention, the second or third place is occupied by education (42%) and the protection of human rights and the rule of law (41%). The top five also include benefits in healthcare (35%) and military (36%) – the perception of the EU's role in the latter is likely due to events in Ukraine.

It should also be noted that the absolute majority of respondents - 89% perceived the granting of the status of a candidate for EU membership in the near future as a fair decision in relation to Georgia. Therefore, it is important that the decision of June 17 does not increase the feeling of apathy, and that the country's authorities do everything possible to implement the package of recommendations and stand on the right side of history.


For most companies 2022 started with the question – How to deal with post-pandemic and the war? 

To answer this question we firstly need to look closer to the challenges most companies are facing now: global crisis caused by pandemic resulted in limited operations in many companies; staff members stressed and exhausted due to pandemic situation - suffering by less sleep hours, lowered motivation and longing for live relationships, etc.; inner state of the people full with compassion towards the Ukraine – being present here physically and mentally, with their hearts beating for Ukraine; blocked trade channels and roads, etc. caused by the war.

 All the aforementioned and many other emerging challenges need to be confronted with the new approaches so far. Consequently, the number of companies with similar problems came up to understanding that now there is the right time for significant changes and put the Organizational Transformation issue on their agenda.


Transformation in itself means making significant changes within the organization which inevitably will result in the effectiveness of the company. The question is how to ensure positive results? We would suggest a way similar to that of how you would increase the probability of conquering the peak of Everest – i.e. you need to go through the necessary preparational process and build a reliable team. Consequently, the people with whom we team together to conquer Everest, need to be exactly the ones we can rely on in the process of the company’s transformation!

The Team of Leaders will Unconditionally Conquer the Everest!

Following the organizational structure, we can only find the formal leaders, who in consideration of their obligations and responsibilities may have a specific positional impact. Though, we cannot even dream of making a step to the Peak Everest, backed up only with positional impact, can we?! Consequently, we need to extend the searching area and look for informal leaders among the employees in any positions.

Through spotting the informal leaders the company can afford to identify those employees who can leverage the transformational process. These persons:

  1. Are the opinion and competence leaders;
  2. Represent professional and social leaders;
  3. Can be the ordinary staff members with leadership potential;
  4. Already have impact on a certain number of company employees;

How to Spot the Informal Leaders?

A number of companies may apply the different organizational researches, though none of the traditional internal organizational research is capable to solve this issue.

In order to spot genuine leaders in the company, the ACT team has invented a new innovative tool for the managers and HR specialists – A Leadership Scanner®.

However, one of the most important functions of the Leadership Scanner® is explained by the title itself – scanner of leaders – which on a basis of specifically designed query and ONA scans the company and reveals those employees who can be thought of as the most reliable during the crisis or transformation periods.

The query is designed in a way that requires the answers which are: 1) non-conflicting – no need in praising performance or efficiency of other employees; 2) objective – impossible to artificially put the informal leaders forward; 3) evidence-based – revealing the existing facts, not suggestions.

The results can be viewed based on easily understandable visual materials/schemes/networks and interactive platforms, enabling high flexibility of the analysis.

It is quite possible to view not only the total picture of the company but also to observe the results at specific departmental and individual levels while obtaining the unique insights and analytics (where rests the unrealized potential; which department is in more need of professional development; where are the weak delegation or micromanagement issues spotted; where the strain is observed; where does the company need the empowerment of the intermediate link, etc. )

Relying on the team of spotted informal leaders and based on insights and analytics, the company is well-positioned to inevitably conquer Everest or any other peak of success.


Every morning my child starts the morning with a milk breakfast. Of course, when purchasing dairy products, I try to make the best choice, no matter how much they cost.

Well, in the evening, when purchasing repair materials for the house, I often give preference to those markets where there are various preferential promotions and where the price is acceptable to me. This is the best choice for me.

When buying, there are often cases when we physically or mentally sort the desired product by price and thus come to the optimal choice. Therefore, the price of a product is an important lever that a business can control.

Price, in addition to determining the market value of a product, is used as the primary means of communication in today's rapidly changing business environment. Depending on how the price is relevant to the solvency of the segment, brands interact with customers, "befriend" or, conversely, build a "wall" between the product/service and the customer.

Now, in times of war, inflation, and post-pandemic, price and related communications are becoming increasingly important for the modern market, as prices are constantly changing along with the global agenda. Prices are rising for everything: bread, fuel, gold, both basic necessities and luxuries, goods and services.

However, according to the latest market research conducted by ACT, in many industries, price is the leading factor for consumers. For example, if we look at the pharmaceutical market, then a quarter of its buyers (24-26%) decide to choose a pharmacy that offers an acceptable price. Thus, for almost a third of consumers in the retail market, price is the most important factor when making a purchase decision.

How do businesses manage this leverage today?

Price changes, of course, often lead to negative/critical feedback from the consumer, which business in Georgia, as well as in the world, in some cases tries to neutralize with well-known marketing "tricks":

  • Rule 9.99 - An incomplete indication of the price subconsciously signals to the buyer that 9.99 is a more affordable price than 10 ₾, while the difference is “more than” 1 tetri;
  • "Secret" price - often used by businesses to communicate a change/increase or a perceived high price. Brands prefer not to publicly announce the price and inform the customer in case of greater involvement on his part (often simply - “write me personally”);
  • Pricing communication of accessories - sometimes brands offer the buyer prices for individual parts (for example, for a bed frame, cabinet, etc.), rather than the price of the entire kit/product since such communication is associated with a more affordable price in the mind of the consumer.

These tactics are worn out in today's market and can be said to be "deciphered" by the user. For brands seeking to connect emotionally with customers, transparent and timely pricing information must be the key link.

How to use the price list for effective communication with customers?

5 golden rules:

Offer value, not price. The cost repeats the brand and its identity. The customer needs an idea, status, or emotional benefit that he will receive in exchange for paying a certain amount. Businesses that sell a product/service sell the benefits that the end-user will receive through it. Depending on the value of the product/service, brands tell customers what they can become the owners of after purchasing their product/service. This means that when buying Apple products, we buy status, when buying Nike boots, we buy victory and energy, and Reiban glasses for us are a journey and a good mood. When stating the price, we must emphasize what life/everyday problem the consumer will solve with it. At the same time, in branding and communications, the emphasis on values increases the consumer's resistance to possible price changes, making the segment more emotionally attached to the product/service. For example, Coca-Cola is a happiness/family holiday, do you remember its price?

Find out the best price for your customers. To achieve this goal, price elasticity research is effective, which gives the business information about what price will be acceptable/optimal for its audience, in other words, in which case they buy a product/service. Research is critical:

  • Start-up/for new market players - provides information on the market penetration strategy, preferred price, and solvency of the segment;
  • In case of offering a new product or service to the consumer market;
  • In the event of a price change, how relevant is the change? Is there readiness in the segment? What are the benchmarks, upper and lower limits, and how much can the price change?

Remember the communication triangle. Price communication is just as important as the end-user:

  • With employees – often the company's employees are the strongest/most trusted representatives of the brand, transparent communication provided to them increases the positive evaluation of the product/service;
  • With partners - the business environment in which the brand operates, it is desirable to be aware of the price/price changes in order to spread the desired messages / value-value communication in the business community.

Tell the cause, not just the result. Now, with constant changes in public life, the economy, everyday life, and a sense of instability, price changes can be perceived by consumers more painfully than business thinks. In the event that a business changes its price/sets a new price, it is important for healthy communication to provide the customer with a reason for the new price. It is understood that the audience is interested in why the price is changing, will it change again? Because of what? This gives him emotional comfort and readiness. In order for communication to be as transparent as possible for him, the business should try to imagine that price communication is not a monologue of the brand, but a dialogue with the buyer. Follow the rules of the dialogue:

  1. The rule of truth - be open, and provide buyers with only reliable, verified, and real information about what caused the price increase;
  2. The rule of quantity. Provide the buyer with the required amount of information. For example, if pricing is associated with an increase in the cost of local production, it is not worth talking about global trends in this direction;
  3. Relevance rule - the client is interested in communication based on factors related to the topic/price. For example, do not use content that is irrelevant or inappropriate for communication.

Finally, it is important for businesses to be prepared for any feedback, since the audience, among other characteristics, is distinguished by its loyalty and degree of price stability. However, the dialogue should be ongoing and the next steps the brand should determine in addition to other important metrics based on the feedback received. Thus, price is an important communication channel. As a result of dialogue with customers, the business receives information for improvement, and this process is continuous and iterative.