Expect the Unexpected

When it comes to service provision, meeting expectations is great but it doesn’t make the service memorable. What makes a service memorable is the unexpected. But this rule can easily be applied outside the realm of services as shown by the winner of Italy’s The Voice, Sister Cristina.

Yes, that is right. A nun won Italy’s version of The Voice. And the best part is that she wasn’t singing church songs. Her song list throughout the television journey included such hits as ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, ‘Hero’ and the aptly chosen Bon Jovi song ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’.

But she has hit the headlines again with the release of her debut single. If you haven’t already heard, you would never believe it.

A couple of days ago, Sister Cristina re-released the Madonna hit ‘Like a Virgin’.

Of course, the controversy of a nun singing a Madonna song about sex was bound to create news and generate excess amounts of publicity. The wave of shock has even travelled as far as Australia with this video clip featuring prominently in The Project’s broadcast. But it isn’t just the controversy that has caused this tidal wave of interest – it is the unexpected.

Ever wondered why you are able to tune out an annoying continuous noise? It is because our brains are fine tuned to ignore similar stimulus. We group these similar stimuli together in a ‘Been there, Seen that’ box and no longer take any notice of it. The same thing happens with entertainment.

While pop stars are currently going through a trend of creating videos filled with controversy, these similar stimuli all group together and are generally ignored. It is the ones that break the trend and go beyond the controversy into the unexpected that truly stand out.

And that is why Sister Cristina’s ‘Like a Virgin’ has hit news outlets all over the world. Sure it is controversial, but so is the latest Nicki Minaj release. However, only one of them is getting discussed on the news.

When you see a nun it is natural to expect a certain style of musical performance. In breaking that performance, this stimulus no longer fits into the expectation and hence becomes unexpected. And when something is unexpected – well, there is no choice but to tune it!