Become the One That Sticks Out!

Do you stand out from the herd?

There’s a rather famous book in the marketing world, by author Seth Godin, called Purple Cow.

Have you ever seen a purple cow? I sure haven’t and growing up in an agricultural area I’ve seen a fair number of cows…

But if I had you can bet your buttons I’d have noticed it and would be telling you about it!

That’s exactly the marketing principle behind the book “Purple Cow”.

Regardless of the niche you’re in, if you’ve visited a reasonable number of sites, you’ve likely started to realize that many of them sound the same.

In fact, in many cases you could swap the content around and not REALLY know who wrote it.

Young blogs and brands that are just getting their start often start out like this… modeling a proven method that works until they are confident enough in the field to develop their own voice.

Voice – there’s that darn word that’s so hard to define in blogging and marketing.

Voice is what a blogger or brand develops over time, after it’s gotten bored (but confident) with the duplicated model, and begins to push the boundaries, take risks, and be itself.

You’ve likely read some blogs that have “grown up” over time and “matured” into really amazing sites… from blogs that as “infants” were really very cookie cutter.

A Purple Cow has unique voice.

However, having a unique developed voice does not necessarily make one stick out from the crowd the way a Purple cow does.

A Purple Cow is that aspect of a business, brand, or artistry that makes it noteworthy, unique, striking, and very very different than its peers.

Take a harmonica for instance. Yes, that little metal/wood instrument famous in American folk music.

Nothing too fancy about a harmonica.

School bands and orchestras don’t even consider them a real instrument.

A harmonica isn’t something you’d ever expect to see featured in the glorious Carnegie Hall, a concert venue for only the most elite.

So how does a harmonica get the spotlight at Carnegie Hall?

By being a Purple Cow….

Can you hear the purple cow?

Now I guarantee you that Buddy Greene most likely did not start out aiming for Carnegie Hall. In fact, he was probably told “that’s impossible”.

He probably started out just like any other artist, craftsmen, business or blogger does… just learning to play.

No harmonica player could start out doing what Buddy does. That’s Buddy’s voice in his own unique way.

Yet they could first learn to play. Then learn to create.

And then?

Find a voice of their own and make their own mark in their industry. (This is not to say they could not play at Carnegie Hall but that it would be a very different performance.)

One more thing about these Purple Cows…

They’re different. They stick out. Sometimes like a sore thumb even! Yet the statement “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” reminds us that sticking out isn’t always a bad thing even when it’s hard as hell.

If you’re just getting started by all means keep focusing on the mechanics of what you are learning.

But if you’ve been in your industry a while – its time to think about how to make yourself stand out.

Yup, you’re going to lose some “fans”. Probably some “followers” too. But when you find your voice you will become noteworthy (and your fans that are looking for that will become “raving fans”). You will attract people willing to TALK about you to others (and yes, eventually buy too) rather than just hang around.

Scary but worth it.

It means you have to stop trying to be everything to everyone. Stop trying to be the blog that “everyone” adores. Everyone isn’t who your looking for. Everyone will NEVER buy. Everyone will NEVER love you.

Its that inner circle, that tight core of raving fans, that will scream with joy when you take the stage in YOUR voice.

Like many actors you’ll probably feel sick at the idea of that kind of risk.

Good. Go for it anyways.

Have you read the Flinch? If you haven’t you should. It will help you both understand and get through the resistance and the fear that keeps you unremarkable.

This all sounds like fluff theory that you’re likely to stop thinking about the moment you leave this post… but you do so at your own peril.

Finding a way to stand out from the crowd (no, its not just “get more traffic” or “write more posts” or “tweet more”) will be what determines whether you ever stand out…. and become wildly successful.

Give it some real thought. Find a way to buck the norm. Make a unique mark that others can’t miss. Do something that makes people LOVE or HATE you… but for the love of all that’s holy, don’t generate apathy!

If your reader leaves your post apathetic – you’ve failed.

Stir them up. Rile them up. Make them stand up, take notice and FEEL!

Become the purple cow that they couldn’t help but notice….

and then they will talk about you.

How are you developing a brand that stands out?

PS: Thanks to Bob Clarke for sharing this video with me originally. He’s also recently featured me in a related post to this topic, on his site, called “How to Stand Out From The Masses & Build Your Online Brand” Check it out!