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Surprising your customers

Surprise can be a wonderfully potent element of any business’ marketing arsenal.

When Chad Kimm, owner of Crema Roasting in Bozeman, Montana, stopped by our studio last week, it was completely unexpected.

Chad and I have chatted on Twitter over the last year, and I’ve enjoyed many cups of their fresh roasted coffee since. See, I was actually introduced to Crema Roasting through social media. While I had probably seen bags on several local grocer’s shelves, I had never actually purchased a bag of Crema beans.

Chad exposed me to his product by engaging me and surprising me on Twitter by becoming one of my followers. Instead of simply passively listening to what I had to say (and vice-versa) he continued to foster the conversation.

Needless to say, the next time I was shopping I noticed the Crema Roasting coffee tucked in amongst the Folgers, Maxwell House and other national brands at Town and Country Foods. Actually, I was actively looking for Crema Coffee, wanting to try it for myself – even if all I wanted was to learn what the fuss was all about.

That was the power of Chad’s first surprise. Getting me to try his product.

The next surprise, albeit a more passive one, came when I realized just how incredible his coffee was! Being exposed to his product changed my mind about what a good cup of coffee actually was. From experiencing the aroma of grinding fresh beans and brewing a pot through to sipping a steaming hot cup of joe – I was surprised to learn that great coffee doesn’t come in a big, red, plastic jug. Elementary, I know, but surprising your customers with quality is incredibly influential. When was the last time a product surprised you?

I made a couple of off-hand Tweets about how much I enjoyed Crema Coffee. As any other designer or office-worker can attest, we can hardly function without caffeine! Now, two surprises were enough to ensure that I never went back to mass-produced coffee. But Chad reinforced every experience I’ve had with his brand with a personal touch.

After Manifest had moved into our new studio, Chad visited with two bags of beans in hand. He wasn’t looking to sell anything. He didn’t have an ulterior motive. All he wanted to do was let us know that he appreciated our comments about Crema and that he was listening to his customers.

He surprised us by taking the time to explain why a cup of Crema is different. Chad surprised us by telling us about other Montana roasters that he respects. He surprised us with his depth of coffee knowledge and his passion for what he does. By engaging with customers using the tools at his disposal he forged a simple relationship with people who will actively tell others about Crema.

Much has been written about how a brand is an experience. A brand is not just a logo, not just a television commercial or a beautiful website. So today, I submit the following question for your consideration:

When was the last time you surprised your customers?

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