“Surprise comes from defying expectations.” – Seth Godin

Most of us have low expectations.  Perhaps it’s because of the way we are treated by the cable company or the airlines.  Perhaps it’s the lawyer commercials late at night.  The constant barrage of advertising tends to desensitize.  There is so much noise we can’t hear anything.

I’ve gotten used to standing in line to order a $12 salad and then having to buss my table even while they are sweeping the floor around my feet.  That’s why it’s really something when the server actually makes a recommendation without the standard “Well, it depends on what you like.”

The good news is people are primed for positive experiences, and they don’t even know it.  If you can solve a problem in a way people don’t expect, at the very least they will give you some of their attention.  If your product or service happens to inject a pleasant surprise, something the customer did not expect, then you will likely have a customer who will pass their excitement on to others.

My first iPod came in a brightly colored box that was a 6″ cube; a very unusual package in a world of plastic blister pack that is impossible to open.  I slipped off the sleeve and the box opened in half.  On one side read “Designed by Apple in California”.  The other half simply said “Enjoy”.  Of course I opened that side first and there….. there it was, my first iPod.  It was pure white and shiny.

I remember this some 12 years later because it was a beautiful surprise.  What is it about a product where the memory of opening the box outlasts the product itself?  And I have just passed that along to you.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


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