Jesus Christ! Two hours after my first post and I already have to defend my stance!
One of my Airborne Entertainment colleagues is guiding me through TypePad, and while checking up to ensure that I didn't completely screw up the Internet while posting he said in passing: "Uh, isn't 'Surprise' is just another name for 'Wow'? And Tom Peters kinda owns that word..."
Well, it ain't. There's a big difference between the two. To put it mathematically:
Surprise > Wow
Surprise is the next level of Wow; a form of differentiation like no other. In fact, my obsession with Surprise began last year on a trip to Japan, where I learned the difference between atarimae hinshitsu (quality that is expected) and mirokuteki hinshitsu (quality that fascinates), terms I first gleaned from Alex Wipperfurth's excellent Brand Hijack book.
I'll get to the Japanese anecdotes in a later post, but to counter my colleague, here's the diff between the two:
Wow = Exceeded expactations Surprise = Shock!
Wow = Incremental Surprise = Quantum Leap
Wow = A great ballgame Surprise = A major upset
Wow = A new haircut Surprise = A new hair color
Surprise is one of the seven basic human expressions (anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness and sadness being the six others). Yet it's potential for business remains untapped.