In delivering the crucial continuum of Surprise, few companies do it as well as Apple. Thanks to Steve Jobs and his continually challenged cohorts, the value of the strategy that's been touted here at Surprise Central for years is starting to be appreciated by the mainstream business press.
To wit, this from the cover story on Apple in the most recent Wired magazine:
"Part of the joy of being an Apple customer...the Surprises that Santa Steve brings at Macworld Expo every January."
"To encourage, or rather ensure, a steady stream of bold new ideas, managers with a proven record of hits must duke it out for portions of their budgets every year.
"So although the events team won a big chunk of the 2007 pie with its idea for a holographic fashion show, it had to come up with something equally compelling if it wanted funding this year.
"This helped generate such out-there ideas as a temporary store floating in the Hudson river or and a vertical fashion show where acrobats 'walked' down the side of a building.
"That element of Surprise, it turns out, has been part of Target's DNA for some time."
Any company can pull of some sort of one-off "stunt." But real corporate longevity (Target, as Target, has been around 46 years), customer loyalty and buzz with a long trail of zzz's, comes when the company maintains the consistent delight of Surprise.