• Trey Shields


Is your business worth talking about?

Is your personal brand worth talking about?

Is your product worth talking about?

If not, you've got a problem.

In order to be successful in today's hyper-connected and hyper-saturated marketplace, it's imperative that you create a product or service that is worth talking about - or what Seth Godin calls a "purple cow" - something that catches people's attention and have to share with others.

So how do you go about creating your purple cow?

Here are 10 suggestions straight from Seth Godin's masterpiece, Purple Cow.

#1 Differentiate your customers. Find the group that's most profitable. Find the group that's most likely to influence other customers. Figure out how to develop for, advertise to, or reward either group. Ignore the rest. Cater to the customers you would choose if you could choose your customers.

#2 If you could pick one underserved niche to target (and to dominate), what would it be? Why not launch a product to compete with your own that does nothing but appeal to that market?

#3 Create two teams: the inventors and the milkers. Put them in separate buildings. Hold a formal ceremony when you move a product from one group to the other. Celebrate them both and rotate people around.

#4 Do you have the email addresses of the 20% of your customer base that loves what you do? If not, start getting them. If you do, what could you make for them that would be super special?

#5 Remarkable isn't always about changing the biggest machine in your factory. It can be the way you answer the phone, launch a new brand, or price a revision to your software. Getting in the habit of doing the "unsafe" thing every time you have the opportunity is the best way to see what's working and what's not.

#6 Explore the limits. What if you're the cheapest, the fastest, the slowest, the hottest, the coldest, the easiest, the most efficient, the loudest, the most hated, the copycat, the outsider, the hardest, the oldest, the newest, or just the most! If there's a limit, you should (must) test it.

#7 Think small. One vestige of the TV-industrial complex is a need to think mass. If it doesn't appeal to everyone, the thinking goes, it's not worth it. No longer. Think of the smallest conceivable market and describe a product that overwhelms it with its remarkability. Go from there.

#8 Find things that are "just not done" in your industry, and then go ahead and do them.

For example, JetBlue Airways almost instituted a dress code — for its passengers! The company is still playing with the idea of giving a free airline ticket to the best-dressed person on the plane.

A plastic surgeon could offer gift certificates. A book publisher could put a book on sale for a certain period of time. Stew Leonard's took the strawberries out of the little green plastic cages and let the customers pick their own. Sales doubled.

#9 Ask, "Why not?" Almost everything you don't do has no good reason for it. Almost everything you don't do is the result of fear or inertia or a historical lack of someone asking, "Why not?"

#10 What would happen if you simply told the truth inside your company and to your customers?

If you've never read Purple Cow before, I can't recommend it enough. It's a short read and absolutely worth your time.

Go grab a copy... or reread it... and start working on your purple cow!