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Vishwadeep Khatri

Purple Cow

Purple Cow is a marketing concept which states that your product and/or service has to be remarkable, unique and interesting. Being remarkable, customers will notice it and start talking about it. This concept was proposed by a marketing author - Seth Godin


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The answers provided are correct, however there is no best answer to this question


Applause for all the respondents - Kishan Raval, Gaurav Bhuttani, Satyajit Das, Senthilkumar G, Selva Mariappan Subramanian, Raj Saxena, Vishweshwari Joshi


Q 266. "Purple Cow" is a term that is used in Marketing and Sales. In a world that is full of "good enough" Lean Six Sigma success stories, what would be key elements of a "Purple Cow" approach in the field of Business Excellence?



Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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Purple cow is  marketing concept developed by marketer and entrepreneur Seth Godin that states that companies must build things worth noticing right into their products or services. . Godin believes that creative advertising is nt enough in a media landscape that has people tuning out...


cosmetics industry as a whole is thriving right now... However, with so many new brands constantly launching, it's difficult for any single 1 to stand out. Glosier, a spin-off brand from the Into the Gloss blog, became a purple cow by using minimalism on all levels of its marketing


Start with finding  what market positions exist
Identifying available positions doesn’t begin with u. It begins with listening to the needs and wants of your markets. You can do quantitative market research, focus groups, and surveys... But there is an easier method to determine the positions your segments have defined. Actively listen   everyday – to your employees,, sales people, user groups, customers, competitors (this is a big one), & general information about your industry.

For i.g:, let’s take the mundane product category hand-washing soap. Here is a short list of the numerous needs and wants a user of hand-washing soap might have: prefer bars, prefer liquid, disinfectant, moisturizing, fragrances, non-fragrances, all-natural, attractive packaging, attractive color or color combination, with Aloe, with vitamin, low-price, etc. These needs also reflect the various positions a soap manufacturer can select. Naturally, some of these potential customer needs are complimentary while others are mutually exclusive.@

The basis for successful positioning rests on clear understanding of the positions that exist in  marketplace – in your customers’ heads. so This point cannot be  given more importance.. With a greater understanding of the hand-washing soap market, we would undoubtedly identify many more potential positions...@

For existing products own your position
Armed with the market positions, you should have a good understanding of where you stand and what makes your company and product/service different from all the rest. It’s time to that  summarize this information in a positioning statement. A positioning statement is the core message you want to deliver in every medium and everything you do. Here are the steps:

Identify the positions that currently exist in the market as mentioned above
Develop a list of needs your customer has in this position.@
List your product/service’s benefits that uniquely meet these needs.
Recognize what is different about your business. What sets you apart?@
Stake a claim to a unique benefit provided by your product/service. Make sure to emphasize a benefit that sets you apart from the competition.@
Write the positioning statement that will communicate the customer’s perception of value. Find a position that’s easy to communicate and simple to understand.@
Get the word out to everyone. Consistently communicate your positioning message in everything your company does. Your whole organization needs to be committed to following through on its positioning.
Be simple, clear and consistent with your positioning. Get noticed.@
For new products … be remarkable
It is new service development where wildly successful Purple Cows are created. Don’t just think about positioning when it is time to develop marketing material... Rather, take positioning one step further by creating a product/service that is remarkable instead of common. If you have an offering it was created specifically to meet the needs of a customer segment and it delivers benefits your competition does not, your positioning is built into the product. You will not only have incredibly strong position; butyou will create a Purple Cow.

Do not forget this one : The customer himself does the real positioning by paying attention and deciding to buy your product/service. What you do have control in over is assessing what positions exist in the customer’s mind and then determining which of those you have the best chance-based on your own strengths-of occupying and defending. & stand out in the crowd.#

There are so many resources on positioning and specific positioning strategies available. For good examples of positioning statements and strategies, look at Trout and Reis’ Positioning – & The Battle for Your Mind. 

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Purple Cow : This is a concept devised and conceptualized by Marketing Guru Seth Godin, through one of his books "Purple Cow : Transform your business by being remarkable" . This book was launched in 2003 and has been extremely famous for the concepts and notions being projected. Infact, latest revision/s of this book are still being sold in high numbers.


Purple Cow : The Concept

Seth Godin has advocated an interesting amalgamation of some old & new marketing concepts, which are :

  • If there was a purple cow standing in a herd of (normal) cows one would notice the purple cow immediately and will be intrigued to know more about the same. Hence the same "purple cow". (That Purple cow should not be able to attract attention but to also sustain attention which one can do through Business Excellence).
  • The compelling notion/s here is to think out of the box, be transformational , be excellent, focus on innovation, go beyond the edge, rediscover a new edge, research about market dynamics : customer, market size, target segment etc. then go into product development phase. In today's time of average & above average products being available for almost every kind of demand, one cannot just focus on aggressive advertisement (blitzkrieg of ads/campaigns  on various platforms) , reactive marketing (selling & attracting attention for whatever is available) & traditional methods of focusing on economies of scale .There has to be a pro-active contribution of "Marketing" in product development & design as well. Product should sell by itself by encouraging almost forcing desired customer behavior on its own (i.e. to buy the product again and again). Marketing is all about encouraging a desired customer behavior.
  • One has to target correct idea curve, by focusing more on Sneezers or early adopters. One should create a niche for the product it is trying to sell so that it separates itself from the "GAS" (average and above average products available) and attracts marketable attention on its own through Word of Mouth (in today's time of social media, word of mouth is a very effective marketing technique that has both pros and cons)
  • Bottom Line is that one product or service should stand out, be remarkable, think out of the box and excel at the same by doing thorough research followed by design.


Purple Cow and Business Excellence :

In order to be innovative, you have to be pro-active enough to come up with a product that creates its own niche. There are numerous examples of such products which have beaten the curve to create a niche for themselves by selecting the right target audience and being able to address a key customer requirement or issue in an innovative/remarkable way. Infact some of them have also created a new type of customer requirement by generating new needs and desires.

This allows to enjoy some kind of monopoly at least till the time competition catches up & then you need to rely again on Innovation/CSI/Kaizen to continue to lead the market.

Old View : Was to create and follow tried and tested methods of production to create same boring old products.

New View (Purple Cow) : Create something which is unique and never heard or seen, which generates curiosity for early adopters & maintains its worth by providing excellent customer experience (WOW moment) at every touch point consistently.


If one has to follow the "New View", he or she should focus on Business Excellence : Question and innovate how things are done currently. Challenge every "X" , test every Hypothesis, do VA/NVA at every steps to understand what is really important. Use FMEA to understand the risks involved, Design new experiments to generate info for which historical sample space in not available (which one will have to do as you are innovating, dwelling into uncharted territory), use DOE to screen and optimize arrive at that correct Equation to predict the right balance at which the new product will succeed.

There is a process that one has to follow even for Innovation, there is a process one has to follow even for being a Purple Cow and Business Excellence is all about following that process to be different, to be a notch above the rest.




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The concept of Purple Cow was presented to us by Mr. Seth Godin in his unprecedented book which is known as “Purple Cow-Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable”. Mr. Seth Godin presents a theory with the help of his book that creative advertising nowadays is less effective because people are less attractive towards them as these are far away from the reality of their respective product. He thinks that traditional marketing is no more working, so a company should stop advertising the product and start innovation on the product. The book also supports that companies that produce remarkable products do not need  advertisements to sell its products, instead it will target people who will buy the product and spread the goodies of the product from person to person. Successful brands like Apple, IKEA, Google, Starbucks, etc are all built on remarkable products and people talked about them a lot.


Some of the key elements of the Purple Cow theory applicable on the Business Excellence field are given below:


  1. Find out the detailed consumer wish list about the product.

  2. Find out the current product leader of the market and find out what remarkable item can be enhanced from that product.

  3. Find out how to build a contagious product.

  4. Find out the high fruitful buyers and opinion dominant buyers.

  5. Find out the market entrants, who are not trying to sell the customers what they want.

  6. Find out what the market figurehead is trying to do, then just simply focus on doing the opposite.

  7. Find out the top positive and  negative recommendation of the product.

  8. Find out the available product design at market and try to create astounding design.

  9. Find out how a good product can be transferable into a remarkable product.

  10. Find out the unbelievable packing of the product.

  11. Find out the big social network and communities in your market and then try to customize the product according to them in a limited special edition. 

  12. Find out how the product can be more convenient than others.

  13. Find out how to make your business card more sensational.

  14. Find out the solution of customer complaints and suggestions.

  15. Find out how to become the most loyal customer protector.

  16. Find out the things that people find striking about the product.

  17. Find out the ways to create a new product competitor of your current product with low cost.

  18. Find out the customer's recommendation about the product.

  19.  Find out the limits of your product in comparison with other products.

  20. Find out the how much risk it will need to make the product better.


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Q 266. "Purple Cow" is a term that is used in Marketing and Sales. In a world that is full of "good enough" Lean Six Sigma success stories, what would be key elements of a "Purple Cow" approach in the field of Business Excellence?


Purple Cow:

Purple Cow is a Sales and Marketing Science or approach, Mr. Seth Godin written a book of “Purple Cow: Transform your Business by Being Remarkable” and published in 2003. The respective book presents Mr. Seth Godin’s own belief that imaginative advertising is less effective today because of disorder and advertising avoidance. The respective book advocates that companies produce remarkable products and target people who are likely to spread word of mouth about the product. The Newspaper USA Today thought it “reminds business people of the tried and true path to success. Make a Great Product”.


Purple Cow Analysis:

The book “Purple Cow: Transform your Business by Being Remarkable” contains of general concepts combined with great examples. The main disagreement starts with advertising is less effective that it has been, and that the only way to gain care in a market is to not only market a product in a remarkable manner., but also to have a remarkable product to market. Mr. Godin gives best samples of products and marketing programs that have been remarkable. But indicates that is no use copying these directly. Kind a note of it, “Today, the one sure way to fail is to be more boring, your one chance for success is to be remarkable”.


Sales and Marketing:

Mr. Seth Godin mainly focused on Marketing and Sales and provides Ten-point checklist that set out how to create a remarkable product. The key assumption that advertising is broken has been criticized as being contradicted by research.


Sales and Markets for years have talked about following P’s of marketing. Some of them include:

i)             Product

ii)            Pricing,

iii)           Promotion,

iv)           Positioning,

v)            Publicity,

vi)           Packaging,

vii)          Pass-along,

viii)         Permission, &

ix)           Purple Cow. (Remarkable: Something Different, Interesting and Eye Catching)


The above checklist for marketing,  A quick way to make sure marketers done their job.  If the elements are out of whack with each other (For Example: Pureed meals that you market to senior citizens but taste like a baby or children food) then the marketing message is blurred and ultimately ineffective.


Marketing is not always guaranteed to work, but the way things used to be. If you got all your above P’s right, you were more likely than not to succeed.


Something disturbing has happened, though. The above eight P’s just are not enough. “P” that is suddenly exceptionally important.  The new P is “Purple Cow”.


The Longstanding way of marketing are dead and being safe is now moreover risky. The respective product will only survive in a crowded marketplace if company stop advertising and start innovating. Cutting-edge Purple Cow marketing guru Mr.Seth Godin urges everyone involved in creating, designing or selling to think in new ways about their market, by adopting alternative approaches or solutions and companies are also ensure that usability of approaches.


Ten Ways to Raise A Purple Cow in the field of Business Excellence:

Marketing roughly remarkable means asking new queries and trying new best practices. The following Ten suggestions or ways to raise a Purple Cow:


1. Differentiate your Customers.


2. Pick one under-served niche to target.


3. Create Two Teams.


4. Contacts & Communication: Customer Records.


5. Getting in the habit of Doing unsafe thing for every opportunity (Best way to find-out What is working and What is not working).


6. Explore the limits.


7. Think Small.


8. Find things that are "Just not Done" in your industry.


9. Ask, "Why not?"


10. What will happen if marketers/sales person simply told the truth inside the

company and to their customers?


Marketers need to have above practices for the respective products and continuously to improve their marketing strategies in global market.


"Purple Cow" approach in the field of Business Excellence:

1. Why advertising is losing its power.


2. How to make your product to stand out.

Distance periods:

i)                Before

ii)               During

iii)              After Advertising


3. Why taking risks is safer than avoiding them.


4. Focus on early adopters.

Five Group of People:

i)               Innovators

ii)              Early adopters

iii)             Early Majority

iv)             Late Majority

v)              Laggards

In general, they (Innovators and Early adopters) are the one who mainly focus on new things rather than other.


5. Marketing is about inventing the product.

i) Marketing is about inventing the product based on customer needs (Feedback) rather than selling the product.

ii) Develop a simple slogan (Tower of PISA: Tourist attraction slogan is “It’s Leaning Tower”).


6.Targeting the Right People.


7. Don’t Fear Criticism.


Diagnostic Business Analytics (Predictive and Prescriptive) will help marketers and businesses to have simulation approach in particular to deal with customer needs or opportunity.

The above key elements of a "Purple Cow" approach in the field of Business Excellence will deliver remarkable success for any organization.







Thanks and Regards,

Senthilkumar Ganesan,

Email: senthillak@gmail.com

Mobile: +91-7598124052.

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Purple cow

Marketers have been long used to the 5 P’s (product, pricing, promotion, positioning, publicity, packaging pass-along, permission) in the marketing field everyone has their own favorite five P’s. Seth Godin coined a new P – Purple cow is a remarkable one. Boring 'brown cows' become invisible in place of something remarkable, exceptional, new, interesting purple cow taken worth noticeable one.




Purple cow stands out from all other cows by being extraordinary or excellent. Its main motive is remarkable marketing. Remarkable marketing is consistent towards the product or service by building things worth enough to endure.



Moore’s idea diffusion curve above figures out how a successful business innovation move affects more consumers from left to right until it reaches the end of life cycle. Being first in launching new innovative product was good idea but many factors such as advertisement, process innovation, and cost leadership can make the existing products outdated and replace with other products in the market. In today’s world the sure way to fail is the one to be boring.


Old Rule

Create safe products and combine them with great marketing.


New Rule

Create remarkable products that the right people seek out. Otherwise, it can be known as a business strategy called “Differentiation”. The differentiation can be in terms of product/functionality/service level.


Some key concepts of 'Purple Cow' adaptation in Business excellence


1. Product Design

Instead of making products from conventional design, products can be designed on the basis of user experience in terms of convenience and utilisation

Otis Elevator Company radically plays its own game by developing purple cow. Elevator is the one time investment product installed at the time of building construction. They are not typical consumer products and used by most of the consumers. Company walked into the Cap Gemini office and noticed the problem of more waiting time. Each elevator stops at all floors for 5 minutes to reach last floor. They came up with solution by implementing centralized control panel. In return, the panel tells you which elevator takes you to your floor which turned elevator into an express and also waiting time is shorter now.


2. Product Innovation

Instead of Investing in dying product, take profits and reinvest in something new. It’s time to realize that the time has changed.

P&G’s Tide is successful with its own advertisement, distribution, and good name. Later it tied up with a retail partner Walmart, then the product's sales was more successful than its competitors. Without Walmart tide would have been long dead.


3. Product Rationalisation

Differentiate your customers by grading most profitable one and most likely to react. Figure out and reward those group and ignore the rest.

Bank sectors rely mostly on customers using its service frequently. They will contribute more to bank deposits than the customer doing transaction once in a while.


4. Low-cost differentiation

Decide your marketing budgets over the upcoming product designs.

Some movies with least marketing investment achieved great profit. They had believed on their remarkable story. Let the quality speak for itself!


5. Adaptability

Measure it. If we measure the cost and obtained results from it. This will improve the business

Zara retailer in Europe changes its clothing line in every 3 to 4 weeks. They are watching what are all working out and what’s not thus evolving faster than their competitors.

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What is Purple Cow?


The principle of the Purple Cow is that it must be remarkable and not just what you see very commonly. This is the term used in Marketing and Sales. What could be remarkable, is your product or services and could be both. Purple Cow term is more appropriate to explain that product or services must remarkable and not commonly used or seen. Its commonly said that better marketing leads to good product sale but its not only thing which makes product best. Advertisements when its come on television are not must to watch and the control remains in users hand and during ads they change the channel to see other things. You can’t attract someone with conventional products, rather you need “a Purple Cow”, it means you need to create something exceptional.


Key Elements

1.       Largely available advertisement: - while if you think in past and turned on the television or newspaper, you see very limited products being advertised. This rare ads makes user to see easily. Since limited products were advertised then the trust automatically comes on those product. This makes people remember the product and ads. Whereas in current world, you will advertisement everywhere on television, newspaper, hording on road side. It’s largely available which makes really difficult for customer to remember and trust the product. It means traditional ads in mass media become less effective.

So if you are launching new product in the world where multiple similar products are already available in market. This means you need to overcome with three hindrances.

a.       Find a customer base

b.       Customer feedback for existing product

c.       Finding final customer


2.       Remarkable Product: - In current world, you will find a good alternative of each product/services and to make a distinction between the existing products and the product you are launching then you need a Purple Cow means creating a Remarkable Product. It must be eye catching. There are many examples of Remarkable products available in current world. Few examples like the relaunch of Volkswagen Beetle which was the star few decades ago, launching a Radio with preloaded song system “Saregama Carvaan” a stereotype old type system with recreation and old songs collection with more functions inside it.


3.        Flexible for new Change (Taking Risk): - Flexible to accept new changes will always help to survive and succeed. There are many good examples which can explain why flexible/taking risk strategy is safer than avoiding it. Very commonly knows example is NOKIA, they didn’t accepted the change or they didn’t want to take risk to move on Android OS which was free for user and easy to handle, later on we all know the history, One of the best, reliable brand was out of Market even with one of the best technology a decade ago they had. So the message with key element is to take risk with seeing market trend and make strategies accordingly.


4.       Focus on customer base: - There will be five group of people who will likely use a product. Innovators, Early Adopters, Early majorities, Late majorities, Lag-gard.


Innovators – eager to try new things.

Early Adopters – interested in new product.

Early and Late Majorities – Take proven product and had majority of customer base.

Lag-gard – reluctant for anything and go only as per need basis.


You need to make product targeting Early adopters and then go for the good marketing forums. Example if launching new car then it must be presented in Auto Car shows and publish ads in all car magazines.


5.       Product Marketing: - Marketing is not just advertising and selling product but its more innovating the product. A good company involve marketing people even in designing phase and employee training to know product in and out. You should have simple slogan which conveys the message in easy way to customers. Example Skoda build a good quality cars with more functions with their competitors and their slogan is “Simply clever” very easy and it pass message behind the product.


6.       Market to them who need it for their problem: - let’s understand with example, we go on good search and write something like mobile and search. After reading what we need then we close the website and move on. But there Google ads play a vital role, the very next time when you browse website, the google ads start their work and you will show what you have searched few times ago. They will show the ads of what you exactly needed.


7.       Fear of Criticism: - Many companies fears in launching new product due to the fact they might be criticized. But understand Criticism is not failure but it shows that the company is moving safely without taking risk and this is what read in above points that going safe might result in throwing out from market. Here the game changer is Purple Cow to build a remarkable product to avoid failure…




Thanks to Source



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Purple cow is the key success mantra for the new age marketing. The term “Purple cow” itself catches your attention and that is exactly what is implied by the term.

Seth Godin came up with the theory of Purple Cow and he says that in this age, when customers are flooded by ads and spoilt by choices, we should have something unique in our products, that makes it stand out of all its competitions and make customers feel that it is the best product for them.  

Till very recently, the marketing mix consisted of 4 main elements – Product. Price, Promotion and Place. However, these things have changed and what actually helps with the marketing in the fierce competition is the uniqueness of the product itself.

For example: Google Search was not the first search engine. Yahoo was launched and used by several people prior to that. However, Google search became highly popular after its inception because its product was highly effective and internet search was soon referred by the laymen as Google search. The uniqueness of the product has made the company name synonymous to internet banking and has propelled Google as one of the greatest IT company in the recent years.

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While everyone has provided great answers for the elements of 'Purple Cow', the question tried to explore how these elements could be applied in creating a purple cow for business excellence. Hence, there are no winners for this question.

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