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Purple Sheep

“Mum…could I have an X Box One for Christmas? Oh and I’ll need a TV to go with it…” asks Sam, aged 12.

“Why?” asks I, wondering how much an X Box combined with a TV costs (lots as it turns out, so that’ll be a ‘no’ then).

“Because EVERYONE at school has one” comes his reply.

Hmmm. “I thought you wanted the PS4 because it does what you want?” (Still expensive, still in the ‘no’ category, but still worth the discussion…)

The answer was the same. Because, evidently, NO-ONE at ALL in a 1200 pupil school has a Play Station (no, I don’t believe that either), and EVERYONE has an X Box, and so therefore X Box’s are the current must have.

I had a not dissimilar conversation with Charlie, aged 8.

“I want to grow my hair long” she announced at tea time one day.

Same question to her: “Why?” (I must be a very frustrating mother).

“Because all my friends have long hair….”.

There’s a theme developing here. Not unusual amongst children to be fair: in my day in was Nike trainers as the “must have”, although I never actually owned any (and as a message to all children out there – shockingly, I survived to tell the tale!).

However, I do see it amongst businesses; that is doing what everyone else does, without much thought as to what they want to do or need.

I’ll let you into a little secret (don’t tell anyone): in marketing, it pays for you to Zig whilst they Zag.

What do I mean by that? It means that you should do what your competitors aren’t.

You should do something different to them in order to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

Be different, make your message different, be brave. Use humour, be straight to the point, or use a twist on and play with words.

Use online whilst they use offline; use offline whilst they use online.

Zig whilst they zag.

OK, this is not an entirely new concept: Seth Godin wrote his book Purple Cow on this very subject.

But it is one worth remembering, and acting upon. It is very easy to go along with what everyone else is doing, just because everyone else is doing it.

But your most successful marketing will come from where you make a stand, and stand out from the crowd.

Just as my friend the sheep is doing in the pic above.

(The story behind these sheep is that I went for a walk at lunchtime: this field is about 3 minutes from home. The sheep went from peacefully grazing scattered all over the field, to following me and then all standing in a line staring at me somewhat menacingly whilst I took a photo of them! I was half expecting them to start Irish dancing like they do in Shaun the Sheep!).

Dedicated to your success
Kim x

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