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Purple Cows, Becoming Remarkable and Beer

If you didn’t read part 1 of this article, you should. Click here.

Seth Grodin’s “Purple Cow: Transforming Your Business by Being Remarkable” challenges business owners to take risks and he means big, fat, ugly, serious risks in their branding, product design / development, and marketing. He sees all of these as one highly connected section of the business.

He makes it very clear that common denominator products that appeal to the masses are the road to failure. Taking a design by committee approach will get you nowhere. It’s the best way to address everyone’s potential issues and concerns while failing to spark the interest of the niche market that will go ecstatic over a remarkable product.

I don’t see many people arguing this, but I do see many of us business owners lacking  “cojones” (Sorry Mom, it’s the right word to use here.) needing to:

  • take that risk,
  • go out on the proverbial limb,
  • take that leap of faith,
  • go where no man (or woman) has gone before,
  • break all the rules to do something completely different and most possibly…


Think back to the early nineties. Starbuck’s thought of serving a $2 plus cup of coffee at a place where people would hang out was the thing to do. I remember talking to a Seattle programmer who had just joined our IBM Boca Raton development team and missed her home town coffee shops. “A $2 cup of coffee?” I told her. “You can get Cuban expresso for a quarter on every Miami street corner. It will never catch on.” (Some crystal ball marketing guy I turned out to be.)

Who would have thought that selling electric cars with sticker prices above $90K at a shopping mall would be a hit? Taking on the established automobile industry? You would be so crazy. Well, Telsa’s Elon Musk made the latest cover of Forbes magazine and is in position #1 of their top 100 Innovative Companies list. It was a crazy idea that is clearly paying off. Even the most negative forecasts predict a profit for them in 2017.

Now I’m not a billionaire with money to burn on massive ideas on the fringe in hopes of making it big. But I am set on being much more than “just another web development / online marketer” among the masses. There are innovative things I do and  recommend to my clients that are paying off. (More on that in a future blog article.)

Let me give you an example of “remarkable” from my trip to Publix last week. I was sent over to the beer aisle to get some Bud Light for my daughter. “Only a college student would ask for that,” I though.  Then I rmember getting Pabst or Shaffer back in my Purdue days. Yuck, yes. Cheap, yes.

As I walked the aisle, look what I found: a bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale. I’m not a big beer drinker, but this dark red, large single bottle of beer caught my eye.

This business did its homework. Here is a verbatim of what they put on their label.

This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you will have the taste and sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory – maybe something with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasty fizzy yellow beverage will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multimillion-dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this.

At Stone Brewing, we believe that pondering to the lower common denominator represents the height of tyranny - a wild form of keeping the consumer barefoot and stupid. Brought first upon unsuspecting public in 1997, Arrogant Bastard Ale openly challenged the tyrannical overlords who were brazenly attempting to keep Americans chained in the shackles of poor taste. As a progenitor of its style, Arrogant Bastard Ale has revealed its unprecedented and uncompromising celebration of intensity. There may have been many nods to Arrogant Bastard Ale …even outright attempts to copy it…but only one can ever embody the true nature of Liquid Arrogant!

This is brash, gutsy and, I would say, remarkable. Like I said, I’m not into beer like this and I was there to buy the beer with multimillion-dollar ad budgets, but I do know beer drinkers that brew their own and talk about beer at parties. One guy specifically brought a few bottles of his own beer to a party and spent time talking about it. Branding like this, and in this case the bad boy “arrogant bastard” approach,likely catches the attention of the niche aficionado that wan to try  “just because” and if he likes it, he will tell his friends about it.

It's not mass media. It’s laser- focused for maximizing the word-of-mouth and social media exposure. It’s the Purple Cow approach that is a clear winner when trying to get noticed.

Let me know what you think.

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