The idea that purple cows can have anything to do with business might sound strange at best, and downright ludicrous at worst.
However, leveraging the idea of “purple cows” is one way to make your business stand out and draw potential clients in.
The idea of the purple cow comes from Seth Godin’s ground breaking book, “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable”. In that book, Godin makes an insightful metaphor, saying,
“Cows, after you’ve seen them for a while, are boring. They may be perfect cows, they may be attractive cows, cows with great personalities, cows lit by beautiful light, but they’re still boring.
A Purple Cow, though. Now THAT would be interesting.”
In this case, the purple cow that Godin is referring to is the business strategy of differentiation.
Simply put, differentiation is the process of making a product stand out from other competing/similar products. This can either be done by making the product different itself, or by presenting it in a manner different from that of the competitors.
Why would I want to differentiate?
There are a couple of basic reasons why would want to differentiate your business. These include:
1. Increased Attention
By differentiating in some way, you are grabbing attention from those who see you. Attention is a very important way in which businesses drive purchases – unless you can get a consumer’s attention in some way, you are unlikely to be bought by them.
By differentiating, you’re putting your hand up and making it far more likely for them to select you. It is scientifically proven that vivid stimuli, something that stands out from everything else, will increase the likelihood of grabbing attention, and are done so in an automatic and involuntary way.
In other words, by differentiating, you can get potential customer’s attention almost automatically.
2. Increased Value
By differentiating you are adding value. You’re offering or displaying something that your competitors don’t have – this means that your product/service has something that is rare or not easily obtained, and as the law of supply and demand dictates, the rarer something is, the higher the value becomes.
Because of these two points, your product suddenly has a competitive advantage. In other words, it has a leg up over other businesses and products in the same niche simply because of the fact that you have differentiated and made your product stand out from that of other competitors.
Of course, thanks to differentiation, companies are able to far more easily gain more customers, and therefore make more money. For example, Google differentiated itself from other email providers by offering massively more storage than their competitors, which encouraged many people to move to that provider.
How do I differentiate?
There are several ways in which you can differentiate yourself from other businesses and products:
1. Unique selling point
This is the first thing that people think about in terms of differentiation. With a unique selling point, the product will clearly stand out from those from other competitors. A unique selling point is simply an original and one of a kind feature.
2. Brand Identity
A strong brand or identity is a great way to differentiate you from the masses of other companies. Apple does this extremely effectively, creating a brand that is memorable and that many people identify with.
3. Competitive Factors
Use other factors to make your business different in some way. This could include the convenience of your product (e.g. instead of having to go 5 miles to the supermarket, your neighborhood grocery store now sells apples) or it could be a more ergonomic design.
Of course, price is a great way to differentiate. As I mentioned before, Google changed the game when they decided to offer massively more storage for non-paying customers.
People want a product or service that comes from a person or team that knows about their product. That ensures that the product/service is the best and will function at to the customer’s expectation.
Differentiation is a great way to gain more customers, and thus increase revenue and profits. A major selling point of differentiation is that in many cases it can be done easily, cheaply, or in some cases freely, but have a big impact. In many cases, a product/business can be differentiated without even having to make any special changes. Figure out your “purple cow” and use that to produce business success!