One of the greatest minds in the marketing world is Seth Godin. I have read a couple of his books over the past year, and I think he truly has an amazing gift for helping individuals and organizations understand how things work in our consumer-minded 21st century culture.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned from Godin is this: If you are not remarkable, you are invisible. Think about that for a moment. You can be pretty darn good at something, but irrelevant at the same time. In baseball, you can be a .285 hitter, blast 20 homers, and knock in 80 runs, and make a great living. But, most people won't know much about you - because while those are decent numbers, they are not remarkable.
The same goes in business. You can have a successful company, and you can have your market share, and you can continue to make widgets, but unless you have done something that no other company has, you will likely never take things to the next level.
Godin says that being remarkable is what separates people, organizations, churches - anyone. And, the thing is, you can be remarkably BAD and still be remarkable. You may do something so crazy, so pathetic, so idiotic, that you (or your company) actually benefit from it from a publicity standpoint - which often leads to success in the back account department.
Almost all of us are quite at ease in our respective comfort zones. But, it's those people who continue to push forward EVEN WHEN things are going well who become remarkable.
I heard a friend relate a story this morning that goes hand-in-hand with this line of thought. He was saying that one of his friends was recently told that the average person will buy a new car every 2 1/2 years. His friend's response: "Well, my wife and I are trying really hard not to be average."
What a great word for all of us. You can be exceptional if you'll just separate yourself from all the ordinary folks. In order to do that, you'll need to discover what Godin calls "the purple cow."
Here's Godin's explanation of this phenomenon: Cows, after you've seen one, or two, or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though...now that would be something. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable. Every day, consumers come face to face with a lot of boring stuff-a lot of brown cows-but you can bet they won't forget a Purple Cow. And it's not a marketing function that you can slap on to your product or service. Purple Cow is inherent. It's built right in, or it's not there. Period.
Now, let out a big MOOOOOOOOOO...and try to discover the Purple Cow within you!