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Surprise and Delight

Many big brands are now using ‘Surprise and Delight’ marketing tactics to build strong customer loyalty and attract new customers to their brands. No matter what size your business is, you can employ similar tactics to achieve great results to aid the growth of your business.

Find out how you can surprise and delight your customers in this blog post!


What Is Surprise And Delight Marketing?

Customers are more vocal about their experiences with brands today than they have ever been before.

Social media is one of the biggest catalysts for this change in consumer behaviour. Every day on social media there are hundreds of thousands of reviews posted describing a customer’s experience with brands. Many of these updates are shared by their friends who expose the review to new audiences.

Reviews posted by peers are seen as much more trustworthy than content created by the brand itself. Therefore it is your responsibility to ensure that the conversation about your business is positive.

This is where surprise and delight marketing can be implemented. Essentially surprise and delight marketing is about exceeding the expectations of your (target) customer. A classic example of this would be offering free complimentary side products. However, giving great customer service is often all you require.

Surprise and delight does not have to be related to only positive experiences. Many supermarkets will surprise and delight their customers by giving free vouchers or products when a product is sold poorly. Even though the original purchase has a negative experience, how the supermarket gives a refund and then compensates the customer significantly improves the experience.


Why Does Surprise And Delight Marketing Work?

Research has shown that when a consumer receives a positive experience they did not expect they feel as if they are being rewarded. This reward feeling triggers endorphins, making the customer happy.

This then creates a condition that when your brand is encountered again those memories of happiness are triggered. The customer is therefore more likely to return to your brand from the associated feelings.

In addition to this, surprise and delight is just as likely to be shared by customers as bad experiences. It is only experiences where the customer receives exactly what they expected that are poorly shared on social media.


Examples Of Good Surprise And Delight Marketing

Edge Shave Gel – Edge shave gel promises to prevent shaving irritation. To spread this message they sought out social media users who had actively complained about everyday irritations and posted humorous messages in response. These users also received one-off gifts such as iPads, computers and megaphones.

Kleenex Feel Good – Playing on the brand’s purpose, Kleenex reached out to people who had stated they were feeling ill on their Facebook profile. They then organised for a special Kleenex Feel Good kit to be sent to them.

Taco Bell – On their Facebook page they received an odd request. Ryan Klaarner, a high school swimmer and diver, requested a customised Taco Bell Seepdo with one of the brand’s slogans “Outside the Buns” on the back. Three weeks later the brand replied requesting his address and what size he wore. This piece of surprise and delight was an amazing piece of advertising. It generated 2,400 likes and countless news reports, giving the brand a slight PR and SEO boost.

SpanAir – Customer who flew over Christmas Eve one year were rewarded with an extra piece of luggage when they landed, in the form of a Christmas present from Santa.

PeoplePerHour – The CEO of the freelancer introduction company makes it his personal mission to respond to every customer service query.


Why Should You Use Surprise And Delight Marketing?

Your business can achieve significant marketing gains by participating in surprise and delight. Firstly you can drive positive word of mouth marketing, the most trusted marketing activity available. Secondly you can create positive conversations on social media, which can then be linked directly to your profiles.

Surprise and delight also helps brands to distinguish themselves in the marketplace and appear more human. Humanised brands often outperform the traditional corporate models because consumers want brands that have the same life values as themselves.


How Can Your Business Get Involved?

If you want to partake in surprise and delight you need to consider the action very carefully. The actions you take should be consumer or social insight driven. This ensures that whatever you do is relevant to the target audience.

At the same time you need to create a campaign which serves the purpose of pushing your brand’s value and message to the customer.

For example, Kleenex is about making people feel happy when they are feeling unwell. Although they generally only sell tissue paper, in their campaign they offered individuals care kits containing other products to help them feel better.

To start your surprise and delight campaign you need to first find conversations which align with your brand. Monitor this conversation so you can see trends and then decide who you are going to reward.

Once you have selected that, choose a surprise. Then contact those who meet the criteria to deliver the reward to.

From here you want to monitor and converse with your communities and spread the word of your good deeds. This will help improve interaction with your brand and generate loyalty.

Alternatively, select a way in which you will surprise and delight your customers when they have a complaint or customer service enquiry for your business. This could include replacing entire orders even if only one product was damaged or refunding a product without hesitation and with a bonus.



Surprise and delight can be an effective method of generating positive conversations about you online, customer loyalty and good news stories across the web. To take part you need to carefully consider exactly what you are going to reward and with what. Once the campaign has started you can see the instant results of making your target audience happy.


Action Steps:

  • Decide on a set of actions or opinions which you will reward with your business.
  • Come up with a reward you will offer those who qualify for your surprise.
  • Implement a surprise and delight campaign.
  • Monitor the results of the campaign.

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