Transcendence: and Creating Magic


This is perhaps the greatest marketing strategy struggle of our time:

Should your product or service be very good, meet spec and be beyond reproach or… should it be a remarkable, memorable, over the top, a tell-your-friends event?

Should you meet the customer’s spec or create magic?

The answer is not so obvious, and many organizations are really conflicted about this.

South African Airways [SAA] is not trying to make your day. They are trying to get you from Johannesburg to Cape Town, close to on time, less expensive than the other guy and hopefully without hassle. That’s a win for them.

On the other hand, Emirates want to not only give the usual spec, they want to create magic for their customers. Comfortable seating, more leg space, awesome catering etc.

There is this one small corner cafe in Pretoria where the owner knows her regular customers by name, she checks up on them when they are sick, she asks them what their holidays were like. She does all this meeting the spec by giving them services that meets the spec, but she goes beyond that, she is creating magic with her personal connection.

Most of the consumer businesses (restaurants, services, etc.) and virtually all of the business to business ventures I encounter shoot for the first (meeting spec). They define spec and they work to achieve it.

A few, from event organizers to investment advisors, work every single day to create over-the-top remarkable experiences. It’s a lot of work, and it requires passion.

You can either aim for the spec or you can transcend from the spec to magic.

On the other hand, you could invest in staff and training and services that would be so connected to each other and the guests, so willing to engage and to change people that it might become the sort of transcendent experience that people talk about for months.

I was watching Michael Jackson’s music videos recently and I realized that his music videos are structured as movies. They start with movie-like dramatic scenes for a few minutes before the singing starts.

Michael Jackson was not putting together a music video that meets the spec, he was creating magic.

Transcendence is like falling in love with someone, when you see that person and get butterflies in your stomach, you can’t be normal and create magic at the same time. You transcend to creating magic immediately.


It is when you are on transcendence that you create unforgettable experiences, you do work that matters, not only for your customers, but for your employees.

Kindness is magic, unconditional love is magic, caring is magic, truly connecting is magic, mattering is magic, reliable is magic, surprising is magic, creative is magic, passion is magic, laughter is magic, being there is magic.

Maybe a win for your business should not be to meet the spec, but rather to create magical.

Magic is something you make.

Ps: The theme for TEDxGaborone conference is Transcendence, speakers will be sharing moments where they transcended from meeting the spec to creating magic and doing work that truly matters. The conference is on Friday, 31 March 2017. For more information and to get your ticket online go to:



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