In-Scope: Surprise and Delighting with digital

Zoe Jenkins is a Social Executive for OMD Create Sydney, providing innovative social and content solutions to a wide range of client challenges.

Not too long ago I was sitting in a meeting, discussing the logistics of one of our clients upcoming events, when someone said ‘and what’s the hook? You know… the surprise and delight moment?’. It was a simple question but a great one nonetheless. Would people feel the overwhelming desire to share their attendance of said event with friends, colleagues, family, if we didn’t have something there that would wow them? Something that would drive that share-ability? And with customers 92% more likely to take a recommendation from someone they know over an ad (Neilson), the importance of having people talk about your brand (in a good way of course) is obvious.

So unfortunately, I’m no expert in how to spice up your next event so that people can’t stop talking about it. Throw in some fire breathers and free stuff and you’ve probably won me over. What I can tell you about though, are surprise and delight tactics used in the digital space and platforms we can leverage to create personal experiences for our customers. But first, why?

Surprising and Delighting builds emotional connections

Last week when my barista said, ‘this one’s on me’, I felt special and important and it really made my day. We don’t all have the luxury of handing out free products, but that little gesture now means that I’m more likely to go back, and because the coffee is actually really good, more likely to tell my colleagues to go there. Well played coffee man. Well played.

Incorporating surprise and delight tactics into your marketing strategy, big or small, inspires emotional responses, creates brand loyalty and drives recommendations. With great thanks to digital technology we now have the ability to go further than handing out free stuff too, whether that be through some sort of flash-mob style stunt or just delivered to your door. We can deliver these unexpected experiences through the use of augmented reality, geofencing, analytics and data like never before.

Surprise your customers by talking to them one on one, in the right time and place
Think location-based SMS marketing without needing your customers to sign up to contact them. It does take a little more manual labour, but with 9 million monthly active Aussies on Instagram these days, you can most likely reach your audience through Local Measure, which pulls in public Instagram posts from users in locations that you have specified. From here you can reach out to and engage with them in a meaningful way. It provides that surprise factor because users aren’t necessarily expecting a personalised comment from a brand, and you can tick off the delight factor by offering them something. I have to admit, my initial thought was that it felt a bit creepy, but after implementing this on a recent campaign, (we were driving footfall to an exclusive pop-up bar in a pretty incredible location), I realised that people like hearing from brands if they are adding value to them in some way.

Similarly, Kleenex used social listening to monitor Facebook statuses to surprise those who were posting about being sick because of winter. How good would it be to be sent a special Kleenex Kit for complaining about how crap you feel? I’d be pretty delighted if all they did was reach out and tell me to get well soon!

Surprise them with a new experience

Shazam is doing some pretty cool things in the AR space which are worth mentioning here too. By combining a Shazam code with custom-made packaging (or out of home and TV), audiences can scan to unlock unique experiences that both surprise and delight. Carlton Dry recently ran a campaign that really simplified the whole idea of a competition mechanic by allowing users to literally ‘Buy Beer. Shazam. Get Cool Stuff’. Once you scanned the code you were told there and then if you were a winner. Easy.

I mentioned earlier that we don’t all have the luxury to give out free stuff. Think about how else this mechanic could be used to add value to the audience. Could you scan to unlock exclusive content? Like Bombay Sapphire’s campaign from the UK – scan the code on the neck tag of the bottle and unlock G&T recipes all packaged up in an unexpected augmented reality experience. Pretty cool stuff!

So next time you are sitting in a meeting discussing the logistics of an upcoming campaign, think about how you can incorporate an element of surprise and delight to build long lasting connections with your audience.

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