Have you seen the book from Seth Godin – The Purple Cow? How can we apply that to YOUR business’ situation? You were on top of the world… and then the economy took a nose dive. You are back in the pasture with the rest of the cows. You may even have felt like you were on the truck headed for the slaughter.
I know. It’s crazy to believe that the economy could tank and those who were so successful are finding themselves waking up from a bad dream, needing to reinvent themselves in order to make ends meet, let alone get back to the level of success and lifestyle they once enjoyed.
Even 8 years later, I still run into former C-Level executives or business owners who are holding on to the past glories and are challenged with adapting to the new reality.
Think about this. You used to be a Master Wilderness Survival Expert. This was 8 years ago. You now find yourself in a survival situation where your former skills have ZERO value or use. You don’t have the tools needed for your current situation. Let me ask ya: Does it matter that you were an expert 8 years ago or does it matter what you can do now given your current situation? One way to handle the situation and new reality is to adapt and develop the new skills needed to survive and thrive in order to stand out.
How does this relate to the Purple Cow? Well it is simple human nature that we want to be similar to others. We want to be accepted. Being different is out of our comfort zone. We fell into a slump and forgot what made us successful; what made us great. A wise man recently told me that success is only 1/2 an inch outside of your comfort zone. In Fact, all growth happens on the outer edge of the comfort zone so I ask, why not reach for it? Being the purple cow is reaching for that success; stepping out of your comfort zone to be different from all of the other cows, in order to be something different, something remarkable. Forget about what you used to be and work toward being something even better.
Let’s take this to a personal level. From a marketing guy in a bad economy, I had to do just that. I stepped out of my comfort zone to not only market myself, but also to sell myself to someone that I would make a great salesman. That person was myself. I am studying the other half of the equation; the yin to the yang, or as my Star Wars fans would say – I went to the dark side. You see, marketing and sales rely on each other yet, are often at odds against each other. Many top CEO’s and successful business leaders have sales in their background, so it’s only natural and logical that sales is the next step in the return of this purple cow in my personal story.
After 8 years in various sales roles from VoIP to Insurance as well as door to door B2B office supplies sales, I was gaining new skills and reinventing myself. I have also kept one foot inside marketing and taking projects when possible. I have eventually been able to return to marketing full time and my career trajectory is headed in the right direction.
This process involved going through various sales training and, applying what I learned and, continually looking for opportunities for continued growth and, roles that spoke to my heart. This process also required that I test many theories and take more risks. There was a lot of trial and error. Not every role was a good fit. I asked myself “what skills were in demand.” I asked – “What do I really want?” Another thing I asked was “What would I be doing if I was currently in my dream career?” This was the game changing question that led me back to the path of the Purple Cow. Rather than thinking of what I used to be or used to have or what I lacked; I shifted from the thought of having to the thought of being. When you are the person who naturally lives a certain life, you make decisions as that person and it’s not a stretch at all. It’s congruent with your beliefs. I wanted to be the purple cow again. I wanted to be in a specific career and delivering value in a way that I can be proud of. I also want a specific lifestyle which requires a certain level of income. Once I was crystal clear about the end result and, the actions required to reach the outcome, I got to work and the plan worked. I researched what was currently needed in the marketplace and what fit with my interests and passions. I continued growing my marketing skills and earning certifications. Opportunities started appearing and things were lining up for me.
What about you?
So how do you become the purple cow in a down economy? How do you become a purple cow to get noticed for the promotion at work? How do you become a purple cow that stands out from the crowded marketplace to win more loyal customers?
The same way you would make your product or brand a purple cow; you deliver something remarkable. Deliver something worth remarking about. Deliver something worth getting noticed. At the office, if there is a promotion and the usual suspects are behaving like puppies at a pet store around the boss, it is your chance to be the purple cow. Be confident. Deliver the character, qualities and results that the boss is looking for to fill the role. Don’t be another kiss ass. It’s obvious, demeaning and insulting to yourself, your boss and everyone who has to see it.
Refuse to participate in the economy. Take a healthy dose of PMA (positive mental attitude) and get to work. Make your boss look good. Promote the systems in place that helped you perform at a higher level, or close the deal with a customer. Edify your boss to others as the one who gave you the proper direction and support, but leave it at that. Anything more is phony.
Help those around you. Be the solution provider even if you don’t get the instant reward you were hoping for. When everyone else is charging more, offering less and tightening their budgets, your good will and teamwork will pay dividends and you will be The Purple Cow.
Ok, so this post isn’t about marketing, but you can apply this TO your marketing, because at the end of the day, the customer is talking about you, your product, your brand and, the level of service you provided. The customer is talking about this with their friends offline and online and even making videos about you. The customer is the co-worker, the other department, your boss, the VP, the vendor and, the person outside of the company buying the product or service.
So the question still remains – Will the Purple Cow Return?
Share your Purple Cow story with me.
Checkout the how to start a blog and make money online article series for more tips like this.