The late, great actor Marlon Brando once said that the key to great acting is the element of surprise: the unexpected gesture or pause that jars the audience, as if from sleep and compels someone to lean forward in their seat in anticipation of something new.

Similarly, the element of surprise is the key to good storytelling.  The tendency in creating online content today is towards a certain cookie-cutter conformity–search engine optimization, tags, and hashtags–but it’s often good to think outside-the-box to keep your audience on its toes.

It’s nothing to overdo; a light touch is best. But a part of Brando’s genius was his ability to recognize the power in an unexpected smile, or a pause that is just slightly too long for comfort.

This can be accomplished through text or internet videos which show something incongruous–squirrels or dogs water skiing for example, or a middle-aged man helping his teenage daughter practice cheerleading steps–but the surprise draws the audience into the action, deepens the engagement, and leaves a favorable impression.

Where is the sense of wonder in your product? What are its possibilities that might compel your audience to lean forward in their seat, as if to say, “You have my attention?”

What is your brand’s “Stella” moment?

Comment and share your Stella moment!