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Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Pros & Cons of Being a Purple Cow

August 3, 2017

“In your career, even more than for a brand, being safe is risky. The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable.”
-Seth Godin, The Purple Cow

The Purple Cow holds an honoured spot on many entrepreneurs’ bookshelves. In it, Seth Godin challenges us to make our businesses different using a brilliantly simple analogy.

Consumer choices are like cows along a country road. There so many that no none of them stand out. No one remarks on them because what would the point be?

But put a purple cow in the field and every looks; everyone comments. With word-of-mouth being the most effective form of marketing (by far), businesses that are worth being noticed and talked about are the most likely to thrive.

Listen:

Are you listening to what people are saying about your business? If you aren’t, you need to.

Sign up for a Google Alert for your business here: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/4815696?hl=en

The word-of-mouth is the objective, sometimes ruthless measure of if your business if remarkable or not. On the other hand, it may reveal negative threads that you need to address.

If you hear a deafening silence, then you’re probably a brown cow. Your job is to make your business worth noticing, worth buzzing about.

Becoming Remarkable:

What aspect of your business, be it a product, a twist on your services, a new design, etc, makes you stand out in your sandbox?
Your Purple Cow needs to be remarkable. 5% lower prices or slightly better service is not enough. It needs to be a game changer.

Now here’s the rub. You have thought a lot about how your business is unique, but does your customer know? Have you build a strategy around how your customer is going to learn about it, or have you buried it on page 2 of your website hoping the customers find out on their own?

Purple Cows aren’t modest. Unless you tell the world you’re awesome, the world will assume you’re ordinary. According to Seth Godin, those are the only 2 options.

More than a Sales Pitch:

Being remarkable gets you noticed, being useful gets you paid and retained. Being a purple cow just for the sake of it isn’t enough. Your business needs to have the depth enough to close the deal and turn your customers into advocates.

How much trust is implied in your industry? If you’re selling shoes or software, you can typically take more chances than if you’re a lawyer or life insurance salesperson. Be careful not to sacrifice the trust necessary in your first impression with too much glitz.

Being remarkable isn’t about a facade. It needs to run through the entirety of the customer journey, from brand exposure to advocacy. The savviest companies craft their Purple cow to reflect the value-added usefulness that potential customers may not otherwise see.