Posted by Alan Nazarelli ● Tue, Nov 10, 2020 @ 04:11 PM

Bay Area Research: The Purple Cow Has Left the Building - Part 2

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In this installment, let's focus on implementation. To recap from part 1, when Seth Godin first published his book, the strategy was to stand out from the competition by being a "purple cow". Fast forward to 2014, all cows are now "purple cows". How do you stand out?

To gain additional perspective, I interviewed digital brand asset development experts, Laurie Wilk and Terry Pickett, Principals at KAI2 Communications. The following steps to “purple cow success” in the social age emerged from a thought provoking and insightful discussion with them.

Step 1: START WITH CONTENT EXCELLENCE: Marketers first need a compelling and engaging core brand idea that goes beyond product table stakes and answers fundamental truths from the consumers point of view according to Terry Pickett. For instance, these truths must add value and significance to the consumer’s daily lives combined with emotional connections that could be a catalyst for play, being part of creating a better world, to name a few.

Once you have this, your brand becomes a contagious conversation that creates consumer-generated stories, according to Laurie Wilk. More importantly, they create raving fans who create conversations about their love for your product on their terms. This is the new brand story – not your story but your fans’ stories.


Step 2: ADD A STRONG VISION FOR THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE YOU WISH TO DELIVER: Laurie, who spent 16 years at Apple, goes on to state: For instance, Steve Jobs vision was “To make tools that would enable people to unleash their personal creativity.” Apple does this today in an approachable way through the Apple Store by offering training and group workshops for people who want to release their inner Steven Spielberg, directing and editing their own movies. Make their own music like a rock start. Or, simply publish their family’s journey together in their memoirs. People don’t buy Apple devices; they buy what the device enables them to do and experience.


According to Pickett, the wine industry needs to take a page from Apple's brand play book and start "thinking different" about the conversations they are starting with consumers instead of copy on their bottle that reads: "Regional style of cherries, chocolate, and herbs complemented by vanilla and an appetizing minerality from our gravel soils."


Step 3: TAKE THE DIALOGUE TO THEM: Get your message to where the consumer lives. Don’t make them leave where they are online to come to you. Are we having a conversation or delivering a sales message? Conversation trumps sales message! Traditional marketers have a hard time with this as frequently they envision the process as simply moving what they used to do to the digital medium.


To sum up: Think brand dialogue, not brand response!


Laurie Wilk and Terry Pickett are Principals at KAI2, a brand and marketing group of strategists, designers, innovators, and implementers.  They can be reached at: or


Alan Nazarelli is CEO of Silicon Valley Research Group, a market research and strategy development firm with offices in San Jose and Seattle, and can be reached at


Topics: Market Research Best Practice, Business Insights Publication Review