Purple Cows & Promoters

Purple Cows & Promoters

Posted by PaulMarsden on 3-Apr-2009 11:10:35 AM

20 Questions to Brainstorm your Brand out of Recession


As marketers come under pressure to do more with less, here’s a practical way that a Net Promoter perspective can help. Use the marketing logic of Net Promoter (what other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself) to set up a collaborative workshop of colleagues, partners and promoters – and run a “Purple Cow” brainstorm.
purple cow.jpgA Purple Cow brainstorm – inspired by Seth Godin’s marketing bestseller ‘Purple Cow‘ (on the art of being remarkable) – has a single focus; how to make your value proposition(s) truly remarkable. The rationale is simple; most products and services are Brown Cows, that is, quite unremarkable – not worth talking about. But in order to cut through today’s recessionary caution and marketing clutter, brands – more than ever – need to be truly remarkable, in the same way a ‘Purple Cow’ would be, truly remarkable. This is pure Net Promoter thinking, and backed up with Net Promoter evidence – in a pan-European multi-category study last year, we found that nearly 80% of all variation in Net Promoter Scores is explained by how remarkable your customers find your product or service experience. Which explains why 80% of the 30 newest entrants to Interbrand’s top 100 brand list owe their success to selling remarkable experiences rather that advertising clout. Experiential brains, not advertising braun is what you need to succeed in marketing today.
So here’s 20 brainstorming questions, distilled from the Purple Cow, to help put the magic of being remarkable back into your brand. Try brainstorming with no marketing terms or jargon – it gets in the way of clear thinking about delivering remarkable experiences. Of course, a Purple Cow brainstorm won’t replace the need for a systematic solution – like Net Promoter – for making your brand remarkable, but it might help as a useful catalyst for leading your brand out of recession.


Purple Cow Brainstorm

  1. To warm up, imagine your product or service is a person, and you have to write a job reference for them – what’s remarkable and worth recommending and what isn’t?
  2. Now draw up a simple customer wish list. Are there any gaps you could fill between what people want and what they’re getting today?
  3. Make two lists, one of the top reasons to recommend products/services in your market and the other of top reasons not to recommend. Can you spot any opportunities?
  4. Think about the current leader in your market – if you could change just one thing about it in order to make it more remarkable, what would that be?
  5. Think again about what the market leader is doing, then focus on doing the opposite.
  6. Make a list of very good products in your market. The opposite of remarkable is very good (because very good is bland), what would you do to turn these very good products into a truly remarkable products?
  7. Take another look at the top ‘reasons to recommend’ in your market; these are what make products remarkable. What could you do to own one of these reasons to recommend?
  8. Who currently makes the most remarkable products/services in your industry? What would they do if they were in your shoes to make your product more remarkable?
  9. Focus on the two key groups who will drive your sales – your most profitable customers, and opinion leading customers. What would you have to do to make what you sell remarkable to them?
  10. List all the customer suggestions and customer complaints you’ve heard, what could you do to address them?
  11. Forget demographics for a minute – list the big social networks and communities in your market (associations, clubs, employers, institutions). Could you make a special edition of your product for one of these networks or communities?
  12. Remarkable products are often controversial and outrageous – what would a really controversial or outrageous version of your product look like?
  13. If you were going to make a parody or spoof of your product or service, what would it look like? This will give you a clue to what could be remarkable about your product.
  14. Imagine you could get a world class designer to redesign your product, who would it be – and what do you think they’d do?
  15. Packaging and presentation can make a product/service, and remarkable packaging and presentation can make a product or service remarkable. What can you do to make your packaging/presentation more remarkable?
  16. Imagine you are your most loyal customer advocate – what could you do to make them rave even more about your product.
  17. Think of ways you could build a competitor to your own product with costs 30% lower? If you could, why don’t you?
  18. Imagine you are making a highly exclusive limited edition of your product for your 20 best customers – what would be remarkable about it?
  19. Remember that convenience is king – what could you do to make buying, using or disposing remarkably easy?
  20. Imagine you’ve woken up as a maverick, with no respect for the company way of doing things today – what the first thing you’d change about your product?

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