“Surprise and delight” is a phrase you hear in branding an awful lot. For good reason. Turns out, if a brand can make you feel surprise and delight, chances are you’ll part with some cash. 

Last week I flew in from SF to Newark and jumped in a Yellow cab. The driver was an older guy who immediately started sharing his life story with me. I was tired and I can’t say I was thrilled. But I wasn’t prepared for what he said.

“I just drive this cab once a week. Because I’m an astrophysicist the rest of the time. I got my doctorate in Berlin. The best place for STEM education. I drive because I have 4 kids in college. Three of them in med school, one in law and I need the money.” So of course I started pinging him with all the questions I had about the universe. Because, well, you don’t get a captive astrophysicist every day do you?

In the 20 minutes it took us to get to my house, I learned: 1. You can tell those 7 new earth-like planets can sustain life simply by the light emitted from them. 2. Life starts on planets as a result of volcanos. 3. There is water in the sun. (I know, but believe me, he can prove it.)

He completely blew away my taxi brand preconception. And he got a handsome tip. Because he truly surprised and delighted me. That and he didn’t drive like a maniac.

photo credit: pixagraphic@flickr.com

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