Purple Cow - whats yoursDo you know what your Purple Cow is?

That is what Author Seth Godin would ask if he were writing this article. But now you may be wondering what a “Purple Cow” is and why you need one. In his book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable Seth talks about the necessity of standing out, being different and doing something remarkable.

In short, a Purple Cow is something that is worth talking about. Something that is remarkable.

But why a Purple Cow? The answer is simple. People talk about Purple Cows. Wouldn’t you?

The definition of “remarkable” is basically something that is worth remarking about. People notice what you are doing or saying because it stands out and then they start spreading the word. Sound familiar? It should, because this is both timeless and arguably the most effective form of marketing: word of mouth.

What’s the catch?

The trick is, you don’t determine if the cow is purple or not. You must try your best to stand out by designing something that is remarkable, but ultimately your audience will have the final say. If they talk about it then it is a Purple Cow and it is remarkable. It is far easier said then done. Not because finding a Purple Cow is hard though. According to Seth, the hard part about making a Purple Cow is the level of crazy courage it takes to step out there and DO IT.

How do I find my Purple Cow?

STEP ONE is to forget about normal. Get the old limitations out of your mind and start thinking with a new brain. Ask yourself questions like:

“If this was on a t-shirt, would someone wear it?”

“Does this spark both attention and conversation”

“Is this a little bit crazy but still sane?”

“What if I changed XYZ? Would people talk about the new change or ignore it?”

“Who would tweet about this? Or would anyone tweet at all?”

Once you get through those questions you will be ready to continue your journey.

For STEP TWO and more ideas about defining what a Purple Cow is and how to find it, check out Seth’s blog post here.

If you are still interested in the pursuit of the your Purple Cow then I recommend reading the whole book here: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Strong word of caution – don’t run naked down the street!

Running naked down the street will get you noticed. But that isn’t necessarily remarkable. It is ok to get a little crazy but keep your focus on what will drive a sustainable conversation. You don’t want to be a passing fad or news story. You want to be something that people can feel good about sharing with other people they come in contact with.

How to do it – how to find your Purple Cow

So, how does your brand stick out? What separates you from the crowd? If you are drawing a blank and need some ideas then feel free to grab a cup of coffee or a phone call with me sometime. Or leave a comment below to start the conversation. I’d love to talk about it with you!

I’ll let you in on a little secret, I get a little excited when I get to step outside the box and talk about Purple Cows. So go ahead and fill out the form below or the comment box and then pat yourself on the back because you just made the first step to finding your Purple Cow. 1-2-3 GO!


  1. Manjinder Khamba on November 27, 2017 at 10:03 pm


    I enjoyed reading your article on creating a purple cow for businesses. I’m part of the bottle recycling industry. We have a handful of bottle depots and our newest one by far is solving most of the problems clients have when returning their bottles to claim their deposits. How would you develop a purple cow for a brick and mortar business like this?

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    • Hunter Haley on December 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Manjinder!

      I took some time to look over your site and it looks like a neat business! As for your Purple Cow, you want to have something different about you that stands out and makes people talk (remark) about you. This could be the company culture, the service you offer, the way you offer it, or even a mascot. It is important that it is remarkable to your customers… not just something you think is remarkable.

      It is ok to get a little extreme. As Seth says, your Purple Cow will be on the edge of what people anticipate to be normal. And it all depends on who your target market is. For instance, if you are targeting mothers of children, they may think it is normal to get paid for items recycled at a place like this. But if you have a play place for kids inside your building that looks like life-sized recycled cans, jugs, and jars… now that is remarkable! You just made your recycling depot a destination instead of just a to-do list item.

      Or if your target market is retirees, offering coffee might be a good idea. But in order to be remarkable, you would have to take it to the next level. Maybe make pick a morning or night of the week that is senior day. Have a cookout or bingo party or something relevant to them to bring them together at the same time. Again, make your place a destination where people who like to recycle gather… then it becomes something more than just $0.10 a bottle.

      Another approach might be that you want to be known for more than just being good for the environment. That would be expected. Maybe have a slogan… “Sage Hill Bottle Depot – The Place That Makes Recycling Fun!” You could invest in a $500 bounce house and a large BBQ grill and have a “Recycle the happiness day” or “Recycle Fest” or something like that once a quarter and turn your parking lot into a small carnival. You want to do it often enough that it stays in people’s minds but not so often that it becomes average or normal again.

      Encourage people to come and maybe even have a contest for the person who brings the most for recycling. Give them a trophy made out of assorted recyclable products all spray painted gold. Think that sounds cheesy? Look at the Dude Perfect YouTube channel. They have ‘battle’ competitions and give a similar award to the winner and they have BILLIONS of views. Trust me. It works.

      If you created a culture, a movement, around making recycling fun I believe you would stand out from the crowd. Not only that, you mentioned that your new depot solves a lot of issues people have with recycling. You know what that tells me? You are committed to making recycling easy… which makes it more fun!

      You can share the convenience and ‘solved problems’ that make recycling easier through the “make recycling fun” storyline… and it will be far more catchy and sharable. You can definitely work all of these ideas together to get people to notice you. You are giving people something to believe in and act on that is more than the average “save the planet” $0.10 recycle place. You make it easy, convenient, and FUN!

      Hope this helps you start thinking creatively about what could be your Purple Cow!

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