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Purple Cows, Foodie Dining, Beer…Remarkable

“Purple Cow: Transforming Your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin has been a great read. My coach recommended it and I recommend it big time for those wanting to market their businesses better.

Godin got the title from a family vacation to France. They were mesmerized by the herds of cows in the pastures along the highways. They marveled at all the cows never having seen so many.  Then after 20 minutes the cows were just…well cows. They stopped being remarkable and were now an unnoticed part of the backdrop.

Godin uses “Purple Cow” as the synonym for "being remarkable."  Just like a single purple cow in a herd of hundreds would be noticeable and remarkable, he recommends finding a way to be seen as remarkable.

In the 60’s and 70’s, you didn’t need to be remarkable. Companies like Procter and Gamble, General Mills and Kellogg were built by producing less than remarkable products.  What they did was advertised them incessantly on TV. Remember the days when having four TV channels was a luxury. Many markets had two, maybe three, TV channels. The product itself was secondary as Godin describes in the book.  My favorite childhood cereal, Captain Crunch, was one on them. He describes how the cereal itself was an afterthought to creating the cartoon and the advertising spots I remember watching over and over again as a kid.

That way of creating and marketing products is dead today. Today, we are bombarded with advertising across 400 or more TV channels and who knows how many others online. An ad of any sort today goes completely unnoticed just like the cows Godin and his family ignored after 20 minutes.

So what’s the new approach? You and your product MUST become remarkable. You must create or become that Purple Cow and you must promote it NOT to every consumer out there. You must find the people that influence others in your market.

There are different types of people in the world. There are those that like things as they are. Their motto is, “Don’t show me a new way to do things.” Don’t bother advertising to them, because nothing in the media is going to move them. They can, however, be influenced by people they know.  These would be people they follow, someone in their in their circle of contacts, someone they trust to give them objective advice. These are folks, and not you, that can endorse a product and make a difference in someone’s buying habits. They can recommend your product and advertise it on your behalf to others. It’s their objective third party endorsement that matters.

So what must you do? You must market to these influencers and trend setters. These are people that are NOT set in their ways. These are people that go out of their way to try something different. They are the one that seek out trends in an industry and they affect how and what others buy.

And what is it those people look for? They look for Purple Cows.  They look for something exciting, different…remarkable. In the book, Godin spends a lot of time telling us that remarkable is not “just another product.” It’s risky. It’s different. It pushes the product designers. For a company to go "remarkable," they cannot play it safe.  That cannot produce generic products that appeal to the masses.  It MUST appeal to this niche of people who are looking for the remarkable.

Here’s an example. My daughter is a real foodie. Her boyfriend and her seek out interesting dining options. It’s what they do. Being that we live in Miami, that’s where she is at her best.

I, on the other hand, enjoy eating out at nice place. I won’t ever go out of my way to find these very cool places. I’ll go to the last nice place I went.  So whenever my wife and I want to go out to eat, we just ask her. She knows what we like. She’ll recommend a place we will enjoy.

So how does a restaurant become remarkable so they get on my daughter’s radar? Let me use the “Eating House” in Coral Gables as an example. This is NOT some infamous or legendary restaurant that everyone here recognizes like a “Joe’s Stone Crab.” It’s on an unassuming corner on the fridge of Coral Gables.

What makes it stand out or remarkable?  The owner and chef is Giorgio Rapicavoli. The guy has been on the Food Network’s “Chopped” program and won twice. The first time as a regular contestant. The second time as a champion over the other “Chopped” winners. I know this only because my daughter follows these programs.

The “Eating House” is not his first restaurant. He had another one that went under. My daughter knows all this. The “Eating House” became remarkable to her because she is a foodie. Foodies watch Food Network. Foodies may or may not pay attention to the ads. They will notice the chef who won a Food Network show.

If the restaurant was just plain advertised, my daughter may have noticed. If it got good Yelp ratings, she may have noticed it as well. If the chef won twice on “Chopped,” she considered it remarkable and definite worth trying.

And she will influence where others, like me, go eat.

I’ll use beer buying in my next blog article to illustrate some bold marketing tactics that further discuss Purple Cow like thinking.

Let me know what you think.

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