Book Club

The Purple Cow by Seth Godin

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Why I Read This Book

Before I read the book the unusual and catchy title made me think of a story about a cow with superpowers.  This turned out to be not too far from the truth because Seth Godin’s book is actually about a superhero cow with the power of making things outstanding!

purple cow seth godin book cover

Quick Summary

Marketers are fluent with the P’s: Product, Pricing, Promotion, Positioning, Publicity, Packaging, and Permission but Godin says this checklist is tired and not working anymore.   We need to put a new ‘P’ at the top of this list; it’s indeed the ‘Purple Cow’ with the principle of being remarkable.

Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth noticing and creates buzz and therefore much more likely to be spread. Godin refers to those who spread these ideas as “Sneezers” and the spreading idea as an “IdeaVirus”.

The opposite of remarkable is invisible and nowadays we`re too busy to talk about boring things and we only pay attention to things that really matter.  Being very good as a company is an everyday occurrence and hardly worth mentioning. You won’t tell your friends a good story about how an airline company got you to a destination safe and on time, that’s just a given.

Seth Godin motivates you to put a Purple Cow in everything you do, to create something exceptional, outstanding and unique.

purple cow

What I Learned

I was thrilled to learn what Starbucks, Apple, Ikea, and Häagen-Dazs, have in common and what their strategies were to become Purple Cows.

For example, Starbucks transformed the simple fact of buying a cup of coffee into a phenomenon by adding a five sensory experiences. They paid attention to the store fixtures, displays, artwork, colours, banners, music, the smell of fresh roasted coffee and blended them all to create a welcoming environment that reflects the company’s passion for coffee.  Now, every time we think coffee, we think about Starbucks.

Would I Recommend It?

Yes! It’s a really fun book to read and stands out as a Purple Cow itself.

Seth Godin printed 10,000 copies of the Purple Cow in paperback and put each copy inside a milk carton. At that time, the book was available for purchase only on Seth’s website with a minimum of purchase of 12 books. The idea was people would keep one for themselves and give the rest to friends and family.  It worked brilliantly.  He sold out the entire print run in 19 days, all delivered in milk cartons.

purple cow by seth godin

Book reviewed by Anca Comsa, 14 March 2014.

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