Turns out, people like surprises. Who’d a thunk it?
Actually, some surprises may anger, disgust, scare or shock people — but that’s a good thing!
And most important for businesses out there: People will pay for surprise.
Andy Nulman is Mr. Surprise. Go read his blog on surprise. But come back, ok? Better yet, stick around here for awhile, but bookmark his blog link in a separate browser window or tab for later enjoyment.
Beyond being a flamboyant, extravagant genius, Mr. Nulman is also an author. His book is Pow! Right Between the Eyes: Profiting from the Power of Surprise. Go buy it. You won’t regret it. In fact, John Cleese (who wrote one of the book’s forewords) spells it out for you, “But this book. Or you will die.”
People buy a lot of stuff. But what’s really interesting is the motivation behind their purchases. Why are people willing to put out their hard-earned cash for something? There are a few reasons, but one of the most important and lesser-appreciated reasons is Surprise. It’s clear that surprise in business is misunderstood, misused and under-utilized.
People will give you their money if you surprise them. And I don’t think enough people realize the value, importance and power of surprise.
Andy Nulman easygoing writing style makes this a fast read. He has some great, hilarious and poignant examples of how companies have successfully used surprise to make money. And in some cases, lots and lots of money. In some cases, companies have built nearly their entire business existence on surprise. Implementing surprise strategies isn’t easy. It’s both a science and an art, and Andy gives you the guidebook on how to do it properly. Think of the book as one giant motivational kick in the pants.
I want to leave you with Andy’s four surprise theories. He writes, …”all you have to keep in mind are the four key theories that permeate just about every action that causes a delight-filled reaction:
- Everyone’s a Kid in Disneyland: Andy reminds us that surprise brings out the inner-child in all of us. It doesn’t matter who you are, surprise levels the playing field, opens people up and makes everyone (and everything) more accessible.
- Balls Beat Brains; Balls Beat Budgets: Big marketing dollars and huge budgets don’t guarantee success in the world of surprise. The truth is you need more guts than brains and more guts than money to pull off huge surprise wins. And action beats inaction any day. Action beats endless planning too; sometimes you have to just “go for it”.
- Little Things Mean a Lot: And while you’re at it, remember that big wins come in small packages. Success surprise marketing campaigns don’t have to be massive projects. People will notice and hugely appreciate small surprises.
- Sometimes, There is No Reason: It turns out not everyone does need a reason. In business that may be challenging to accept as we always look for practical step-by-step understanding of what we’re doing and why. But surprise doesn’t have to work that way. Sometimes you have to do something, “just because” and it works like a charm.
After reading Andy’s book I want to find ways to create surprise in everything I do. Not just because it’s fun, frivolous and more interesting to think about than most other business endeavors, but because people pay for surprise. And as a businessperson I like people paying me for stuff.
image courtesy of shuttershock.com