People often talk about how nice surprises are … I disagree.
I quite like knowing what’s coming up and while surprises have their place, there’s something more powerful…
Ok so getting an unexpected phone call from an old friend or a cheque in the post from a long-forgotten insurance policy is a nice surprise.
But, think about how much more value you get overall from anticipation.
As an adult, Christmas isn’t what it was as a kid. But I still get a buzz from the anticipation of the day.
And while being whisked away by your lover for a spontaneous weekend away may be exciting and romantic, think of all the great time you get looking forward to that holiday you’ve booked.
In media and marketing, anticipation is a hugely powerful tool that can supercharge a product launch or event… and we’ve just had a masterclass from a globally famous singer.
A Swift lesson in anticipation
The media uses anticipation all the time to tease us about forthcoming TV shows, radio competitions, new movies and music.
They typically start off very subtle – perhaps just a few notes of a theme tune and a brief image – before ramping up the anticipation incrementally.
This month we have seen a masterclass in generating anticipation – from singer Taylor Swift – that resulted in a hit single and a new record for the most watched YouTube video in a 24-hour period.
The anticipation started with an extreme move as the singer’s social media and website ‘went dark’ leading to speculation that she was exiting the spotlight following a recent court case.
Then came a series of cryptic social media posts, heightening the anticipation.
Finally, a post which heralded the release of a new single the following day. More anticipation.
Look what she made us do
By teasing fans like she did, Taylor Swift generated interest and created a conversation.
Was she quitting music? Was a new album on the way?
It gave the release of new music more coverage than just a straight press release giving all the details in one hit.
Apple is another great example of a brand which uses anticipation to drive interest – and sales. The stories about what may or may not be part of iPhone 8 are already abundant despite the release likely to be some months away.
We may not have the queue-round-the-block appeal of Apple, or the 85 million Twitter and 102 million Instagram followers of Taylor Swift, but the principals of building anticipation still work with a small loyal audience.
If you have a new product or service launch ahead or maybe an event, using the power of anticipation will boost your marketing efforts because we all like a bit of mystery.
We like to feel that we may have the answer before the big reveal. And we all enjoy the sense that something amazing may be about to happen.
But use it carefully
As with all powerful tools, if they are used badly then the result will be a disaster.
Teasing an audience for weeks and then not delivering something worthy of their time and thoughts will backfire on you.
Anticipation of something amazing, resulting in the delivery of something amazing is the only option. If your audience responds to the delivery with a collective “oh, is that it!?” it’s a fail.
So choose this tool with great care and use it well… then sit back and anticipate the result!