For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a project to help launch a new brand into a mature market already dominated by several well-entrenched competitors.

This new brand will be smaller, with fewer products offered — each equally as remarkable (or unremarkable, as the case may be) as those offered by competitors. And it will be launching into a market that’s highly subject to the ups and downs of the economy. Pricing will be competitive, but nothing remarkable. Product quality will be comparable to that offered by competitors. And delivery will take several days longer than competitors can provide as a result of the manufacturing logistics involved.

If you’re like me, your first thought is “this thing is doomed from the start.”

I’m a strong proponent of the idea that relevant differentiation is the key to business success. That is, stand out from your competitors in ways that your customers and prospects will find remarkable.

In his classic must-read book about marketing differentiation, Purple Cow, Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable, Seth Godin defines being remarkable as being different enough that your target audiences talk about you to one another, thereby spreading the good word. He calls it being a “Purple Cow” — remarkably standing out from the herd.

Re-reading this amazing little book provided the renewed inspiration I desperately needed to climb the formidable hill we were staring at for this particular branding project.

Godin presents several key thoughts that any business can embrace to help them become remarkable:

  • Invest in making your product or service truly remarkable, not your advertising
  • Don’t play by your industry’s defined/accepted rules
  • Don’t try to appeal to the masses — focus only on those customers who will most likely spread the word (early adopters)
  • Don’t make “very good” stuff — people expect that, and get it every day. Make “remarkable” stuff.
  • Explore the farthest reaches of the outer limits: the fastest or slowest, the cheapest or most expensive, the oldest or newest, etc.

While this little brand I’m working with will be comparable (at best) in many ways to what’s already there, we’ve now uncovered several opportunities to make it truly remarkable, specifically in the areas of customer service and marketing programs.

How about you? Is your business or brand truly remarkable — a “Purple Cow?” If not, right now would be a great time to consider why not and what you may be missing out on. At 34 North, we can help.