Consumers love positive experiences. And better yet, experiences that ‘surprise and delight’ create engagement that leaves the consumer wanting to interact with your brand for future experiences.
With the shift of loyalty programmes from transactional to relational, fulfilment has transformed from rewards to experiences. Further, loyalty has become part of a brand’s overall business strategy: a mindset versus a programme.
Recently, UniBank, a US financial institution, was in the Boston community performing random acts of kindness. They visited local businesses, schools, senior centres and more to ‘surprise and delight’ consumers with a variety of offerings, and we had the opportunity to experience their surprise and delight gesture.
When we were at a local coffee shop, they greeted us with a friendly “hello,” handed out the card below and treated customers to a cup of coffee, their choice. And, the conversations that took place about the services of UniBank while folks waited for their coffee were inspiring.
It’s important to remember that being ‘the leader’ is not always about who spends the most money on innovation or who has the best merchandise. It’s often the brands that invest in their people to think outside of the box.
Surprise activates curiosity, excitement and wonder, which are key elements to absorbing information. Marketers are capitalising on the excitement that surprise and delight perks and offers trigger to drive loyalty to their brand. These rewards are different from the published perks or discount offering that’s often promised by the loyalty program.
You might be asking, “How does this apply to my business, my brand?” Or, you might be thinking to yourself, “This is an easy tactic for smaller, local businesses to fulfil.”
What marketers need to realise is the strategy of ‘surprise and delight’ is transferable, regardless of the size or type of your company. Many brands have engaged these types of experiential rewards. Why? Because they drive loyalty.
So, start thinking about how you can incorporate ‘surprise & delight’ offerings into your business model:
It’s all in the data:
Leverage data intelligence to offer educated ‘surprise and delight’ for your consumers. If you’re a retail brand, review your customers’ recent purchase activity and provide them with an experiential offer of interest to them.
For example, if a customer just came in to purchase some of the new Autumn shades of make-up, offer them a personalised make-over with a skin analysis at no charge.
Make it a role within your organisation:
No, you don’t need a specific job title of ‘surprise and delight manager’. Integrate this function within an existing role within your marketing department. Maybe it resides in customer service.
The Ritz-Carlton has done a great job of integrating this role into the onsite hotel staff. The employees are enabled to fulfil on surprise and delight experiences for guests at their decision, their discretion. These experiences are then recorded within their systems to enable the brand to gain a holistic profile view of their guests.
Mark a date on the calendar:
While the concept of surprise and delight is spontaneous, marketers need to plan the experiences for customers to engage in. Whether it’s quarterly or affiliated with holidays. With Christmas looming, it's the perfect example, but every month, there are multiple holidays for marketers to promote.
For example, earlier this year the quick service restaurant chain Dunkin’ celebrated National Donut Day and surprised customers with a free donut when they purchased a beverage of their choice. And my how they achieved social success.
Dunkin’ implemented a Snapchat campaign featuring National Donut Day, and as a result, they gained more followers on National Donut Day than their average monthly followers. It resulted in the highest Snapchat story for the brand viewed to date. The total reach across all platforms was 3MM and the total engagement across all platforms was 40K. Dunkin' also saw a high level of tagging from friends, family, and fans in comments across all platforms. Additionally, the campaign resulted in hundreds of thousands of uses of the National Donut Day geofilter, which led to millions of peer-to-peer views.
As you continue to further advance your 1:You communication strategy, think of how you can incorporate surprise and delight into your campaign. Remember to dream big, always hold on to your vision and stay the course. It will become the essence of your success.