For all of us, there exists some ideal state—the “desired” zone. Somewhere below that is what one researcher called “the zone of tolerance.” This is for anything unremarkable and unmemorable—not where you want your brand to live.
At the top of the spectrum is the category for that which exceeds expectation. That might seem like a good place to be—who doesn’t want to pleasantly surprise a customer now and then?—but as a business strategy it’s unsustainable. If you create this expectation, customers will expect you to regularly surpass their expectations. It’s a bit of circular logic that illustrates the fact that expectations can’t be handled simply.
Expectations evolve in response to many different stimuli. Understanding their inherent volatility is the first goal.