Freepants Eaon Pritchard has an interesting post on branding and marketing for small business. What is excellent about this post is the way that he encapsulates and studies some of the most successful (recent) social marketing campaigns while emphasising both measurement as a definition of success but also the need to think creatively about social media as a medium.

One of the factors that Eaon emphasises is conversation and "talkability". While we "talk" or write about conversation, two of the critical elements are often overlooked — substance and surprise. These go hand in hand … you can have the best and most substantive product or service in your industry, but if there is no accompanying "suprise" factor, then the launch will be dead-in-the-water. A good example is this post by Robert Scoble explaining that no matter how funky Utterz (a new Twitter competitor) is … it won’t fly without a social network uptake.

I emphasise the word uptake here on purpose. You see, "surprise" is an important response because it indicates BOTH an emotional response and an action … and this overcomes our desire to RESIST. So if our copy, our positioning, our storytelling and our interaction strategies are not designed to surprise … then we run head-long into a barrier (it’s too hard, I don’t have time, no one is using it). This is what is meant by thinking outside of the box … and that is precisely what the picture above is about — but to learn that story, you will need to read Eaon’s post right to the end.

Update: BL Ochman has a great post on the whole Stormhoek story with more background and flavour.