Surprise and delight

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Make it meaningful

If you think back over the past few weeks, which single occasion stands out as the best? Was it unexpected? Did it brighten your day? More often than not, the memories you hold onto are those which are out of the norm and had a positive impact on the way you felt — like an unexpected act of kindness. So effective is the power of the unpredictable that ‘surprise and delight’ has become a useful and relevant marketing tactic when it comes to making more meaningful connections with customers.

Return to reality

With much of our day-to-day living digitally designed for optimum ease and efficiency, people are increasingly craving real experiences that go beyond the everyday and make them feel something extraordinary. When it comes to branding, these experiences need to be immediate, sensorial and deliver an even greater emotional punch. Most importantly, they need to be both tangible and real. Interruptions to normality don’t just make the biggest impressions; these are experiences that customers will want to come back for.

Brightening lives

Take the example of Tropicana. After a month of complete darkness in the Canadian Arctic town of Inuvik, the Feel-Good Brand surprised residents by launching a huge illuminated orb into the sky, which shone over the town like the sun. The resulting short film shows the joy and awe felt by residents — positive feelings that can be shared, in part, by people around the world who watch the video too.


The effects of ‘surprise and delight’ can benefit brands, like Tropicana, in both the long and short term. ‘Chosen’ customers get an immediate sense of happiness and wellbeing triggered by a brand that understands and cares about them. They will then associate these positive feelings with that brand. Uplifted, customers may share their experience on social networks, increasing audience reach. Additionally, because the unexpected is proven to be addictive, customers will want the opportunity to repeat their experience, leading to greater brand engagement and heightened customer loyalty.

Keep customers coming back

Let’s look at the psychology behind it. According to scientists at Emory and Baylor, reward pathways in the brain respond much more favourably to stimuli that are unpredictable than to those that are predictable. This suggests that as human beings, we are actually wired to crave the element of surprise. It even amplifies all other emotions, according to psychologist Robert Plutchik, so the combination of happiness and surprise makes for an emotional cocktail that triggers the ultimate feel-good factor, and one that we will want to repeat again and again.

As a brand, effectively surprising and delighting your customers doesn’t happen by accident. To catch your audience off-guard and surprise them in a positive manner, you must know your customers intimately. What do they want? What do they not expect? It is this thoughtfulness, creativity and attention to detail that places the most relevant and sincere brands ahead of the rest.

Adding feel-good value to your brand is at the core of Beyond’s practice. For expert help improving your brand engagement, call Beyond on +44 (0)20 7036 0603 or contact us here.

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