Thoughts While Shaving…

Security Awareness – Don’t Just Train…Advertise!

Information Security Awareness is an Everyday Activity…An Advertising Approach Can Help!

It’s well known that the human factor accounts for the vast majority of information security incidents. So, in addition to all the dollars being spent on technology solutions, companies typically spend the majority of their efforts on training, tracking and measurement. I get that the 100% completion rate serves a purpose, but the majority of training deployed is tedious and preachy and isn’t actually educating anyone. In fact, it often leads the employee feeling resentful. They’ll forget the lesson and remember how you and your department made them feel! If the goal is to win employee mindshare, change behaviors and mitigate risk, an advertising approach can help. This is because of a very important, sophisticated scientific principle:


FREQUENCY MATTERS: Smart, intelligent people still screw up. That’s in part because knowledge and understanding is only part of the equation. This is why even great, fun, interactive training doesn’t get at the root of the issue. Advertisers use the term “Effective Frequency” to refer to the number of times a person has to see something before taking action. Annual training and quarterly push campaigns aren’t enough because the relevant info will not be top of mind at the time of need. If you want to integrate your messaging into the culture, you need a regular cadence of simple, positive, interesting communications. This means more than just monthly newsletters. It means finding ways to show up where employees already are and that means, working with other departments to get them to integrate your messaging within the business. Regular vitamins are more effective than training inoculations. Strive to make your messaging ubiquitous. Here’s why.

  • Short Attention Spans: Now 7 seconds…shorter than a goldfish.
  • The Forgetting Curve is Steep. 87% of corporate learning is lost within the first month.
  • Limited Working Memory: This is the temporary storing of information for reasoning and decision making. You need to have messaging top of mind when the situation for needing that info occurs.


Upping your frequency is a great start. However, if your messaging is dull and boring, you may not get the results you are looking for. They will tune you out! That’s because:

INTERESTING MATTERS:  Cyber security programs need to start taking advantage of the many company communication channels available, but to get “air time” you need to have something fresh and interesting to share. Nobody likes the finger-wag. A regular stream of short, preachy communications can lead to message fatigue and resentment. Boring messages will go unnoticed and will be quickly forgotten. We know that frequency matters, but its also important to communicate in interesting ways. It’s not about being funny…it’s about standing out and getting attention, bridging connections, being memorable and winning them over. More communication channels will become available to you if you have something interesting to share. Get creative. Be interesting!

  • Emotional Connections & Retention: Music & humor makes emotional connections and tends to have a higher content retention rate.
  • Breaks Down Barriers / Builds Bridges: Laughter comes from shared recognition and makes tough-to-get-at topics more accessible. Humor is a great technique to highlight and comment on things that are true. It’s great for opening up conversations, bridging alignment and building trust.
  • Some Examples: The Fun Theory Airline Safety Videos



DON’T JUST TRAIN…ADVERTISE! – People forget stuff. Knowledge and understanding is only part of the equation. You need to have messaging top of mind when the situation for needing that info occurs. That can be solved by communicating more frequently.

SHOW UP IN MORE PLACES – Partner with your business colleagues to integrate your messaging within their communication channels. Place messaging where employees already are – other department newsletters and websites, screen savers, video message boards, social collaboration sites like Yammer, Jive or Slack, high-traffic areas (bathrooms, whiteboards, break rooms), sales meetings agendas and pre-meeting slides, webinar/conference call waiting rooms, leave voicemails, etc. Get creative. Communicate frequently to have a more consistent positive presence and increase the likelihood the the messages will be top of mind when problems occur.

COMMUNICATE DIFFERENTLY – Complex, scary topics can be inaccessible. People’s eyes gloss over. Look for opportunities to communicate differently…positively and in entertaining ways. Take a look at how your policies are written, the tone of your training, what your intranet site looks like, how your emails are written, and how you talk to people. Spend the extra time to make you, your policies and your program more accessible.  People won’t go to the office of “no.”

KEEP IT SIMPLE – Employees are busy, have short attention spans and limited working memory. Keep messaging simple. They won’t remember everything, so focus on giving them simple tips on what to do, tell them where to go for more info and let them know that it’s okay to ask for help. Think of your messaging as an advertisement so they get the idea but know where to go for more info.


Contact L&E to view our library of short, entertaining employee engagement and awareness communications. Over 150 “commercials” that engage employees in 75 seconds or less.

* * * 872.302.7529

Comedians Launch Privacy & Info Security Employee Awareness Communication Campaign

CHICAGO, April 26, 2017 – L&E, a network of comedians, musicians and writers who focus on employee engagement, communication and corporate education, has launched their newest subscription library, the L&E Privacy & Info Security Suites, to help companies raise and maintain employee awareness about the risks associated with this increasingly troublesome topic. The Suites are a large collection of short, fun communications and micro-learnings that act as commercials: songs & jingles, video shorts & animations, memes & GIFs, that surround, support and socialize learning to engage employees in 10-60 seconds.Request a preview of these catchy, musical shorts at

“Anyone who watches TV, listens to the radio or surfs online is familiar with advertisers embedding short, catchy commercials to promote their services. We’re approaching this risk area the same way by providing companies with a customizable toolkit of social media style assets that can be pushed out periodically or integrated into the fabric of the organization, like advertising, to raise and maintain awareness all year long. We want to enable cyber security teams to have a presence wherever employees already are with messaging that is simple, positive, interesting and memorable,” says Ronnie Feldman, president of L&E.


“We use the L&E shorts as entertaining advertisements – on screensavers, on newsletters, on departmental websites, on video message boards, in conference call waiting rooms – to not only deliver quick reminders and reinforcements, but also to drive traffic back to tips, tools and resources that can often be ignored. This fun and entertaining method of security awareness helps us get more value out of the resources we’ve already invested in,” says Marc French, CISO, Constant Contact.


“We believe security awareness is extremely important and needs to be kept at the forefront of our employees’ minds. L&E’s creative approach helps us stay engaged with our teams through brief, but memorable trainings that are a great complement to our broader security awareness program,” says Doug Graham, Chief Security Officer, Nuance Communications.


“L&E has brought a lot of fresh, fun ideas,” says Bob Trovato, Manager Information Security, Progressive Insurance. “We can now capture a wider range of audiences quickly, with a consistent message, and have fun doing it.”

The Suites were created in collaboration with privacy and data security professionals from Constant Contact, Nuance Communications and Progressive Insurance. The Suites cover topics including phishing, cloud usage, careful communication, securing devices and surroundings, working remotely, password sharing, social media risk and more.

For more information, go to


Gladwell, Advertising & Influencing Corporate Culture

I recently reread The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and was struck by the many principles that have applicability to corporate learning and corporate culture. It underscores the thinking that behaviors can be influenced and shaped by regular, positive, proactive communication. Here are a few thoughts.

Fundamental Attribution Error: This social psychology principle states that when it comes to behavior, we tend to overestimate internal stimulus and underestimate external stimulus. We think, he or she is a “good person” so we don’t need to worry about them, but the truth of the matter is that these seemingly smart, knowledgable, “normal” people still sometimes do things you wouldn’t expect – stealing office supplies, cheating on their expense reports, looking the other way or covering up problems, giving and receiving gifts (bribes) and so on. These things are often implicitly supported because the situation or environment makes it seem okay at the time. Said another way, Environment Matters.

Effective Frequency: This is an advertising term which essentially refers to the number of times a person needs to be exposed to a message until it makes an impact. Training and communication can’t be annual things. Eighty-seven percent of corporate learning is lost within the first month. People need reminders and reinforcement. And guess what, the advertising model works. There is benefit in regular, simple, positive, proactive, multichannel (web, print, audio, video, live) communications as a way to raise awareness, improve engagement, reinforce learning, affect behaviors and influence corporate culture. Frequency Matters.

Approachability: Boring doesn’t work. Scare tactics have a short shelf life. People have limited tolerance for the finger-wag. They will tune it all out. You, your team, your policies, your trainings and resources need to be accessible and approachable. The way you present information makes a difference. There are great improv-based professional development programs that are fun and effective from a skills-building perspective. For corporate communication, use humor, music, fun visuals, interactive games, anything interesting because it leaves an impression. People won’t go to the office of “no.” Fear and apathy eats culture. A regular stream of short, interesting, and positive can help. Positivity & Interesting Matters.

This is why as leaders, educators and communicators, to actively affect culture we need to be omnipresent with our messaging and that messaging needs to be interesting and positive. It’s not enough to train once a year and put up a poster every now and then. It’s not enough to post your values accompanied by stock photography. It’s not enough to circulate policies and ask employees to certify that they’ve read and understood. Training, knowledge comprehension and measurement are important. But in addition, to mitigate risk, we need to be vigilant with our communication to counterbalance cynicism and negative group-think, i.e. “everybody does it,” with our own, positive messages, “integrity matters,” “we’re the kind of company that does things right” or even simply “you can call us…we’re here to help.” It’s important to have regular, proactive, positive, creative campaigns that appear in the places where employees are, to to actively influence, build and shape the culture we are striving for.

Environment Matters * Frequency Matters * Positivity & Interesting Matters

#corporatecommunication #compliance #infosecurity #safety #corporateculture #positivenotpreachy #poweroffun

Ronnie Feldman, President & Creative Director, Learnings & Entertainments


Shameless promotion: We do comedy, communication and corporate education. We have libraries of short, interesting, fun, creative, advertising-like communication assets – Songs, Videos, GIFs, Memes, Articles, Top-10 Lists, Slide Shows, Commercials and more. To request a demo, please reach out to us –

L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites – promote the Code, promote the Helpline & Speak Up Culture, promote Business Integrity, promote the EC team as a helpful resource.
L&E Information Security Awareness Suites – coming, April 2017 – phishing, careful communication, physical surroundings security, cloud sharing, password protection and more.

p.s. don’t forget to have fun today !

Comedians Developing New Info Security Employee Engagement & Awareness Campaign – Partnership Opportunity – 2 Spots Left

L&E is excited to announce our next multi-company funded development project…this time we’re building a suite of fun, advertising-like employee engagement communications focused on Information Security awareness! As comedians and musicians we will continue to leverage entertainment and fun as the primary vehicles for communication with an emphasis on music and multimedia – songs, music videos, jingles, top-10 lists, articles, GIFs & memes and other short, quick-hitter assets – all designed to help companies engage employees around these important issues on a regular basis. We’re looking for 2 more companies to join the partnership / development group by Nov. 18th.

#positivenotpreachy #entertaintoengage #acampaigntosustain


We are seeking 2 more companies to join the advising partnership development group by November 18th This is an opportunity to help build and shape this new suite of assets as a subject matter expert and in return, receive a preferred structure. For more information and to see samples from a similar project, L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites, please reach out to

We’re excited to collaborate, innovate and create to bring effective, new products to market. These projects are a lot of fun!  We hope you’ll join us.

Candid Camera, Conformity & Corporate Culture

candidcamera1I’m old enough to know who Alan Funt is without having to look it up on Wikipedia. For those of you not in the know, Candid Camera was a popular prank shows prior to Punk’d, Impractical Jokers and the like. A client of mine sent me this clip to discuss the perils of groupthink and now I’m thinking about this particular show with a fresh eye.




The powers of conformity and groupthink can be subtle, but powerful. We are all influenced by our surroundings whether we realize it or not. I am continually amazed by the number of executives who see themselves as only passive participants in their corporate culture. They don’t seem to recognize that they are an integral part of it and they are influencing that culture every day…sometimes positively and sometimes not so much. If you are in one of those “conservative,” “negative,” “we-have-always-done-it-this-way-and-always-will” environments, you can reflexively conform or choose to actively influence that culture by choosing to communicate differently.

For leaders, corporate educators and other positions of influence (Ethics & Compliance, HR, Learning & Development, Privacy & Info Security, Corporate Communication), the way you communicate with emails, newsletters, training, policies, meetings and conversations can have a tremendous ripple effect on the entire organization. Will employees conform to a negative influence – “This isn’t right but I’m going to go along with it anyway because everybody does it.” Or a positive influence – “This isn’t right and I’m going to speak up about it because that’s not who we are.” Your style of communication – positive or preachy, and your frequency of communication – annual or ongoing, combined can lay down a foundation for how the group will react and respond to you and your team. And that can have a halo effect on workplace behavior.

Integrity and the “Big Brother Eyes Study

I found this study to be pretty interesting. In 2006, a team from Newcastle University conducted an experiment where they provided a coffee and tea service, posted a price list and asked people to drop payment into an “honesty box.” They rotated different pictures on the wall in the background and measured the change in payment patterns. What they found was that payment increased significantly (3x) when there were picture of faces or eyes in the background. It suggests that people behave differently when they believe they are being watched, because they are worried what others will think of them. I’m not an advocate of big brother watching techniques, but I do believe that we are influenced by our social environment and what others will think of us. (See Candid Camera example above) And perhaps most importantly, groupthink can work for you or against you. This is where leaders and people of influence in the organization should have their focus as a way to mitigate risk by creating an environment that polices itself.

When it comes to honesty and integrity, people need to be reminded. It’s not that telling someone to have integrity will automatically make them have it. It’s more of an acknowledgment that we all think we have integrity, but we are intelligent human beings who are really good at justifying our own behaviors, particularly the bad ones. Integrity is something that people have to actively work at every day. We’re all judged by our actions not our intentions.

Communicate Colorfully: Core Values * Code of Conduct * Speak Up Culture

Every company has a code of conduct and a set of core values that are meant to be a statement for who they aspire to be as an organization. They tend to be quite similar with many variations on the same theme. “We operate with the utmost integrity.” “We treat our coworkers and clients and vendors with respect.” “You can do this.” “You can’t do that.” More often than not, these end as lonely documents that are rarely accessed or boring posters that turn into faded wallpaper or training courses that make you want to claw your eyes out. These are all important topics that when combined with poor choices of communication, in effect gives them no power of influence or perhaps even generates a negative impact. If you bore people, waste their time, nag and wag the finger at them, they will resent you for it. And when the time comes, whether we realize it or not, they won’t think of the Code or Core Values or other important policies as they make a poor choice because they feel “they deserve it” and “everybody does it.”

This where we can all have an influence. We can choose to have an active hand in influencing our culture by choosing to communicate interestingly, colorfully, with an open hand and more frequently. We need to regularly, proactively and positively remind and reinforce what’s important to us, to increase the likelihood that these messages will break through to improve the odds of groupthink working to your advantage.

Positivity & Fun – Take your work seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. Are you communicating by scaring people – “do this or else.” Are you nagging and wagging your finger at them? According to The Fun Theory the best way to change behavior is through the power of fun. When we laugh, we relax and our capacity to retain information expands – Laughter & Learning

Approachability – Are you and your team people that employees will approach with a question or a problem? Do you have the reputation (earned or not) as a coach or the cops? You may have to be both, but you can’t educate and influence behavior if people are indifferent or afraid. You first need to work at making your team, your policies and your trainings more accessible and approachable.

  • There are some great improv-based skills building workshops that can help your team develop a “Yes-And” mentality. Improv Workshops
  • Are your policies, trainings and resources created to engage and help employees learn? Does it respect their time and intelligence? These are your calling cards that establish your reputation. They’ll make you approachable or they won’t. Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites

Effective Frequency – Training isn’t enough. 87 percent of corporate learning is lost within the first month. People need to be exposed to a message several times before they tend to remember. There is benefit in more regular, positive, proactive communication as way to influence corporate culture.

I love the idea that we all are Alan Funt doing the elevator experiment in our own companies. The experiment is actually going on whether we acknowledge it or not. The question is, are we going to take an active hand in shaping it to our mutual benefit.


To read more posts, visit Thoughts While Shaving 

Check out the new L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites

L&E Creative Communications – Comedy, Communication, Corporate Education

Press Release: Launching L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites

A Music and Multimedia Approach to Helping Ethics and Compliance Entertain, Educate and Engage Employees
Introducing the L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites, the initial offering from Learnings & Entertainments

CHICAGO, September 26, 2016 – Learnings & Entertainments (L&E), a creative services and content provider with roots in the improv comedy community, has launched its first product line, the L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites, a library of music and quick-hit multimedia communications to help companies promote their ethics, compliance, legal and HR teams and the resources they provide. The L&E Suites are a collection of commercials: songs, music videos and jingles as well as easy-to-share top-10 lists, slide shows, animation, GIFs, memes and articles promoting good corporate culture and workplace behavior in entertaining ways.

“In most companies there are executives to help employees navigate their jobs within the rules. These folks are there to advise and support, but employees are often afraid or apathetic. So there is a disconnect,” says Ronnie Feldman, president of L&E. “And it doesn’t help that the policies, training and support materials are often boring and preachy. We are creating a large variety of fun, positive advertising-like materials to help bridge the gap, with the simple message, ‘We are here to help. Help us help you.’”

The L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites were created in collaboration with ethics, compliance and legal professionals from Incyte, LinkedIn, Marathon and Progressive. With employee engagement as the goal, L&E Suites materials were designed to make ethics, compliance, legal and HR teams and their resources more approachable. The music and multimedia formats open up new channels of communication.

“Employees aren’t always sitting in front of a computer. Not everyone has the time or inclination to sit through a long training,” says Feldman. “Music is memorable and a great communication vehicle. Light, fun social media formats convey information quickly and are easily shared, which helps reach more people, more frequently and in interesting ways.” The Suites include assets in a wide variety of formats and styles to account for different tastes and sensibilities.

“L&E has given us unique, creative tools for engaging people and conveying key compliance and ethics learning points in a variety of entertaining ways,” says Michael Uth, corporate compliance and ethics officer at The Progressive Corporation.


“Our primary focus is cultivating an effective, innovative compliance program that’s both values-based and culturally relevant,” says Nicole Tarasoff, global compliance and integrity project manager at LinkedIn. “L&E understands the need to make learning fun and flexible, with quirky materials that resonate across workplace cultures. And since we’re always looking for new ways to communicate core compliance concepts, working with them to bolster our messaging with clever resources was a great fit.”


“Our new compliance app, Palmtree, was developed to make it easier to get important information into the hands of employees who aren’t always in front of a computer,” says Garin Bergman, President Guidant Technology. “The L&E materials integrate seamlessly into this medium. Videos, GIFS, memes, slide shows can be integrated into the app to increase content visibility and awareness.  It makes compliance more interesting and engaging to employees.”

Find more information about the L&E Culture, Code & Speak Up Suites at


About Learnings & Entertainments: L&E is a creative services and content provider that leverages a network of comedians, musicians, writers and performers from the improv comedy community to help socialize learning and improve communication in corporate environments. L&E was built on:

  • The Power of Fun – Boring doesn’t work.  Learning is more effective when it is engaging and fun.
  • The Forgetting Curve– 87% of corporate learning is lost within the first month. Therefore, there is benefit in more regular, positive, proactive reinforcement.

For more information about L&E, go to or call 872.302.7529.