Whenever I look back to my university days, I clearly remember the idealistic view I had of the world. Possibilities were endless, life was spontaneous and the daily grind that becomes a career (for many of us) wasn’t on my radar.

The only plan I or any of my peers had was to live in the moment. If it sounded good, we took part. Our reasons were simple – to have fun and inspire, to surprise and express our creativity. As arts students you could say we had a licence to!

Well, as it turns out, inspiration at university is alive and well. Dangerdust (the name given to two unnamed artists) have become famous for sneaking into classrooms on a weekly basis and creating awesome works of art from chalk – check it out!

This exercise of surprise and creativity is clearly something many of us lose as our careers grow.

Discovering Dangerdust on the internet made me think they’re onto something. What if, in our businesses, we focused more on surprise, creativity and the unexpected? What if you went above and beyond, and gave a little more? Just look at the brand they have managed to build:

I’m talking about two students here! Does your brand have all of the social touchpoints Dangerdust do?

The challenge every business is experiencing is to find new ways to stand out from the growing clutter, right? For 50-odd years, the traditional brand management tools – product, price, place and promotion – formed the basis of everybody’s marketing plan. Today it takes a bit – no, sorry – a lot more. You have to think about the experience you give your customers over and above your product or service.

Rivals can quickly copy any market position, they can match your quality, service and prices; but the effort you go to when you genuinely create relationships through surprise or creativity can’t be copied.

Because we are all human the personal touch goes a long way, today more than ever. And guess what, it’s not hard to give a little more. Small surprises can have a big effect – a thank you note, a coffee, or an email alerting a good customer to something you come across that they might find helpful.

Or take it further by contributing to LinkedIn conversations with helpful comments that demonstrate your knowledge. Dangerdust are passionate about their craft and they show it. How can you show yours?

Dangerdust weren’t asked to surprise people or offered any money. But now look at the upside – their passion has resulted in thousands of fans, followers, social shares and a viral response we all dream of. 

Has this got you thinking about what it takes to build a brand today?

Look at ways your brand can build a better relationship with its customers, one that leaves them thinking “they didn’t have to do that”. Then tell me if you don’t get a positive response! Good luck.