My Take-Aways From The Book Purple Cow

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 04:00 AM with 2 comments

cover of Purple CowWhen I read the book Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin, it reminded me of one of his previous books I read, Purple Cow. But was it just the content of the book, or the fact that the book arrived to me several years ago in a milk carton?

The premise of the book Purple Cow, published in 2002, is about being remarkable. Godin’s point is that in an age where we are deluged with images and messages, these have reduced their overall effectiveness, and to get your message out there, your product or service needs to be different or unique in its own way. The first example in the book is driving through farm lands and seeing cow after cow and they all look alike, but a cow that is purple will stand out and be remembered, thus remarkable.

So is remarkable something you put on top of a product or service? Not necessarily. The book gives examples of how L.L. Bean and Sears Craftsman line of tools are remarkable in their unconditional return policy. Ikea is remarkable in how they sell low-cost, assemble-yourself furniture that is extremely stylish. Dr. Bronner’s soap is remarkable in its unique labeling.

My greatest takeaway is that remarkable is not a gimmick. From the above examples, what makes them remarkable are attributes that have lasted for years. Gimmicks may drive sales, but not over the long term. Gimmicks are also not considered sincere.

Another takeaway is that you may already be remarkable. When many entrepreneurs venture out on their own, their catalyst is often they can do what they do better or in a more unique way from where they previously worked. They may not have been able to do it, whatever it is, when they worked for someone else and have the conviction to do it themselves. This was part of my own motivation for starting Dunkirk Systems, LLC.

The book Purple Cow does not over-do it with examples and is an energetic, quick read. If you are venturing out on your own, or taking a strategic look at your business I recommend reading the book as it will definitely inspire you, and you may get some ideas from it as well.

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