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Key Takeaways from Purple Cow by Seth Godin

As my metro reaches Hauz Khas and I make a move to change for the yellow line, I am completely hooked on why certain products are successful while others barely make the cut. While certain products or services spread like a wildfire, others quietly die down. Forget about products or services for a moment and let’s talk about Bollywood, today it is evident how much important it has become to work on a good story. We see one after another, movies with decorated star-cast biting the dust, whether it is Laal Singh Chaddha or Raksha Bandhan or Ek Villan, etc…

As per news and Twitter, movies aren’t working because people have started boycotting Bollywood movies or perhaps, people have started boycotting the same stories been repeated in some shape and form. We audience are exhausted from watching the same recycled plots and hyped action sequence. That might be the reason why movies like Pushpa and Major are being adored by people because they are able to connect with the story. In this dynamic VUCA world, the success of this business doesn’t rely on some certain veteran performing characters from the script rather it is more about how the script has been worked on. Certain stories like Crash Course on Amazon Prime, Forensic on Zee5, etc are a few of the underrated series that have remarkable messages blended in the most unconventional form. A must-watch for you this weekend if you hadn’t seen them yet.

Coming back to WHY there are few products/services/movies which we just can’t ignore while others just come & go. I feel grateful that I came across Purple Cow by Seth Godin and here are a few key takeaways for you especially ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘how’ of being remarkable.

Key Takeaway 1: Purple Cow…What is it?

While working on Marketing projects in my MBA, I was always focused on 5P’s since the majority of the assignment dealt with them. 5P’s as in the Product, Pricing, Promotion, Promotion along with recently added Publicity/Packaging. Thanks to Seth, now I will focus on another P which probably is the missing piece that can help the product/service to stand out from the clutter. The 6th P is Purple Cow. Let me explain with an analogy, picture this…you are driving from Noida to Gurgaon and the sun is shining bright, with the usual traffic and skyscrapers. As you look over the window you see brown cows on the side of the road. It is no major thing, and you might have encountered many cows before while you drive and obviously, they don’t interest you much. This is how billboards and advertisements appear to audiences today. As a consumer, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements or shall I say there are too many brown cows in the market. Therefore, to differentiate one out of them is difficult. However, what if while driving you see a purple cow munching on some grass on the side? Instantly, that grabs your attention because of the remarkable sight. It is highly likely that you might get to stop your car and take a picture of a purple cow, and if this were me, I might as well create some reels on Instagram about it. Just imagine if your product/service was a purple cow such that people stop, stare and talk about it, recommend it to friends and family, and perhaps want to see more about it.

Key Takeaway 2 – World has Changed

The world as we knew it has completely changed, today we have far more choices available along with access to more information. Ironically, we have far less time to work on these choices than we used to have combined with a very short attention span. Therefore, the traditional ways of marketing of either buying more advertisements or pumping the distributions to get more sales won’t work in current dynamics. If you look around the market, it is evident that the market is completely saturated with ordinary products. From where I see it, all average products have already been marketed and sold, now for new products old ways of marketing won’t help to achieve the goal. Therefore, marketing and communication are far more dynamics that require companies to completely immerse themselves and take risks in order to create interesting products which can be marketed. As evident from the success of the Tik-Tok platform, it is all about getting noticed and being on the top of my mind. This is perhaps the new goal of marketing, in the field filled with brown cows we are looking for a bright purple cow. The days of average are over and it’s more about if you can make something that is worth talking about. That my friend is the crux of Purple Cow Marketing! In the golden words of Seth, “Be Risky, Be Remarkable”. His purpose with the book is to make it clear that It is Safer to be Risky

Key Takeaway 3 – The Diffusion Curve

We need to understand how new ideas or products move through the population along a curve referred to as the diffusion curve. Every successful new product/idea moves through this curve from left to right all through the five groups of consumers – Innovators, Early Adopters, the Majority, and finally the Laggards. Essentially, the concept of the diffusion curve is people on the left-most side of the curve – innovators and early adopters are the ones who have a healthy appetite for risk. Most successful innovations are usually adopted by the left side of the curve before getting adopted by the masses. Therefore, you must sell your idea to a few risk takers before you sell it to the wider public.

Innovators are small groups of people who are usually eager to try on something new perhaps things they might try something which is not required by them. They are driven by the desire to first own or have something cutting-edge.

Early Adopters are a larger group that is a bit more reasonable than the innovator such that they want new technology and products for the benefits the new stuff offers. Indeed, they want an edge over the rest of the crowd. Therefore, they are willing to invest in something risky to gain that edge over these people.

The Majority This section of society doesn’t necessarily want new stuff however, if a lot of people buy the new thing, then they are willing to buy it too. However, they want to keep it safe. Thus, they require little more convincing for these reasons. They follow reasonable early adopters rather than innovators.

Laggards This is the group that resists change and is very difficult to cope with the dynamics. They switch when they must…like if they have become absolutely obsolete or perhaps are no longer available.

With traditional ways of marketing, you could simply target the largest group which is the majority. However, today that’s no longer the case since there is too much noise for the largest group to comprehend one single thing. Today, you need to appeal to early adopters, and only once they embrace the new product, they sell it to the majority. However, the early adopters aren’t going to do a good job of selling your products unless it is attractive and interesting to them. Therefore, you need to give the early adopter a Purple Cow…something that the majority can easily recognize as remarkable!

If you think about it, ideas that spread are far more likely to succeed than those that don’t. Seth simply explains this with an analogy of a virus. So, this idea virus won’t spread unless we have the sneezers around. These are special sets of populations who love to talk to other people and rave about your product. If the sneezers love the product idea or service, they will sell it to anyone who will listen. They are the key to spreading the idea virus. One of the attributes of personality is that sneezers want to talk about remarkable stuff therefore the best way to reach out to sneezers is to develop an idea virus which is a remarkable product -a Purple Cow. People only talk about the Remarkable Stuff and that is what will get genuine attention to your brand. At the same time, these remarkable products are risky and born from the ashes of prior failure. Therefore, if we keep creating and designing with remarkability in mind eventually, we will be able to create something people would like to talk about. This will help us to spread the idea virus and create something that stands out from the crowd.

Hope you liked my interpretation of the Purple Cow by Seth Godin. I highly recommend this book to everyone who aspires to make an impact with their work.


Bibliophile Parul


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Stronger Together!

Hey there, I'm Parul, working in one of the Big 4s of consulting! 💼

By day, I'm decoding the business matrix, but by night, I transform into a book ninja, stealthily navigating the worlds crafted by the greatest authors📚✨


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Buckle up for insights that transcend industries and a blog where business acumen meets the magic of storytelling


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