how surprise and delight was beaten by a can of sardines

You’d have to be a killjoy to not smile at the tale
of Ritz-Carlton
hotel workers reuniting
 a young boy with Joshie, his beloved
stuffed giraffe.

The story serves as a stellar example of surprise and delight.
When the Ritz-Carlton staffers saw that the young guest had left
his favorite toy behind, they decided to take the opportunity to go
the extra mile. They took pictures of Joshie enjoying a grand
adventure at the hotel, including a spa visit, before returning the
toy to its elated owner.

Brands that want to make a splash on social media are
increasingly attempting to use
surprise and delight
as a marketing tactic. These acts of
kindness bring plenty of joy to the lucky beneficiaries, and the
incidents spark social network buzz for a hot minute. And while
everyone might enjoy the tale of a stuffed giraffe finding its way
home, this tactic is more of a marketing stunt than a marketing
plan. Instead of gambling with your brand, focus your effort on
building true
talk triggers
— stories that people cannot help but share
with their networks.

Talk triggers are operational differentiators that all customers
are able to experience every single time they interact with your
brand. It might be almost imperceptible, and it probably won’t go
viral, but it will spark a story about your brand that people keep
sharing.

#TalkTriggers are operational differentiators that all customers
are able to experience every single time they interact with your
brand.

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The Underrated Power of Repetition

The clue to surprise and delight’s downfall is right there in
its name. In order to surprise a customer, a special event or gift
must be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. If the Ritz-Carlton
reunited stuffed animals with their owners every single day, we
probably wouldn’t care.

On top of that, the story of Joshie, while meaningful to his
owner, does not appear to have made a tremendous impact on the
brand value of Ritz-Carlton. The toy giraffe’s adventure drew
plenty of attention while it was unfolding, but the story ended as
soon as Joshie returned home. As a result, any lasting effect on
the Ritz-Carlton brand is minimal.

The difference between a delightful surprise and a talk
trigger is repetition. Talk triggers are designed to consistently
and reliably impress consumers. They don’t rely on a lottery
approach that singles out one lucky person; instead, they are meant
to be experienced by every single customer. A talk trigger truly
catalyzes long-term conversations, allowing brands to hone the
effectiveness of their messaging over time.

The difference between a delightful surprise and a talk trigger
is repetition. A talk trigger truly catalyzes long-term
conversations, allowing brands to hone the effectiveness of their
messaging over time.

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The freshly baked cookies that greet every guest at a DoubleTree
by Hilton hotel are a perfect example of the power of repetition.
Based on research for my new book, we found that 34 percent of
guests mention DoubleTree’s cookies when talking about a stay in
one of the chain’s hotels — that’s about 25,500 people every
day chatting about cookies. None of this would happen if DoubleTree
only gave out cookies on Wednesdays or abandoned its baked goods
for a huge contest with an incredible prize. Word of mouth works
because customers do the marketing for you, and the best way to
make that happen is for all customers to have the chance
to experience the same thing.

doubletree hotel free cookies

The Case of the Tiny Fish

One brand that has embraced repetition to stand out from the
crowd is Lisbon’s Clube de Jornalistas. This renowned press club
is popular with the city’s professionals, building its brand
based on the excellence of its food and hospitality.

But even ongoing excellence needs a talk trigger to enter the
public conversation. That’s why Clube de Jornalistas has engaged
customers in an ongoing story since its inception. Chef Ivan
Fernandes started this talk trigger when he decided to give each of
his patrons a small gift after a visit.

These gifts began as simple, useful objects such as reusable
cotton shopping bags or luggage tags. Guests took these
high-quality branded items as they traveled around town (and the
region), proudly displaying the name of the club. What really
catalyzed this talk trigger, though, was when Fernandes decided to
give out sardines.

Yes, sardines. A beloved local snack, customers frequently
requested the humble sardine at Clube de Jornalistas. Because the
fish was so common, the chef had never worked it into the menu. The
missing sardines became an inside joke at the club and, Fernandes
realized, an ideal talk trigger.

Instead of adding the fish to his menu, he decided to give a can
of sardines — elegantly wrapped in a local newspaper to mesh with
the restaurant’s theme — to each and every guest. There is
nothing fancy about the fish, but they are certainly unusual and
undoubtedly spur people to share the story of the missing menu
item. This talk trigger works because it’s unexpected — but
it’s incredibly effective because all patrons get their own
sardines.

Whether it’s a can of oily fish or a similarly small
and meaningful gesture, brands can get far more mileage out of talk
triggers than they can out of extravagant, once-in-a-lifetime
gestures. As charming as the odyssey of Joshie the giraffe is,
surprise-and-delight tactics are here today and gone tomorrow. The
key to ongoing conversations is repetition. Keep your customers
talking and sharing your brand story, and you’re certain to enjoy
the benefits for decades to come.

This content was inspired by research and case studies
contained in “
Talk Triggers: The
Complete Guide to Creating Customers With Word of
Mouth
,” the new book from Jay Baer and Daniel
Lemin.

The post
How Surprise and Delight Was Beaten by a Can of Sardines

appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social
Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting
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