Surprise and Delight

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? Mine was fabulous! We went to a friend’s home and enjoyed a great day and a feast of turkey with all the trimmings. This is our fourth year to get together with these friends, and each year we divide up the menu among the families. I always pick the sweet potatoes. And each year I enjoy surprising the guests with a unique recipe for a food that let’s face it, is not adored by everyone (including myself). After flipping through cookbooks and magazines, I decided to make Sweet potatoes with bourbon sauce served in orange cups. The orange cups took a little extra time to prepare, but at Thanksgiving, I’ll go the extra mile. On the buffet table, the sweet potatoes were were “dressed to impress” in the orange cups (sorry I did not take pictures) – the guests loved the look and were delighted to dig into the dish to the savor sweet potatoes that were dripping with sweet bourbon sauce – as my son said – they were nummy!

This response from the guests at Thanksgiving dinner got me thinking about something my girlfriend Margaret’s been talking about. Margaret runs a high-powered strategic marketing consulting firm for blue chip companies and she’s on the Fresh Baby advisory board. Lately, she’s been talking about “surprise and delight” as a key to marketing success. What does this mean? She talks about delighting your customers, partners and suppliers in ways that catch them by surprise – the positive impact of the company’s perceived value goes off the charts when you can do this. She’s talking about sweet potatoes in orange cups served to the guests at Thanksgiving dinner (well not exactly – but close)!

I’ve been giving this concept a lot of thought – heck, I’m even writing about it! This is a concept that a start up or small business can make work and take to the bank! Margaret’s brilliance is shining through in the simplicity of this concept, but Margaret works with HUGE companies that have trouble seeing to the bottom when they are sitting way up at the top. This concept is dynamite in the hands of a small business.

Your small business can be much more innovative, more personal, and well, more surprising and more delightful than any big, impersonal and sluggish competitor. When it comes to “surprise and delight” you have the advantage and you need to leverage it. We do a few things at Fresh Baby to surprise and delight, and with a little creativity I know we can be doing more.

What is your business doing to surprise and delight your customers, partners or suppliers?

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