Seth Godin on How to Stand Out: Be Remarkable From the Ground Up
Posted by Francisco Marques on Friday, July 25th, 2014
It’s the question that’s on the mind of every business-owner, CEO, and entrepreneur: how do we make our products and services stand out from the crowd?
While this idea has always been relevant to some degree, never before has the fate of our success relied so heavily on distinguishing ourselves from the competition. There is perhaps no one as enthusiastic about this shift than marketing expert Seth Godin, author of best-selling books on the topic and frequent lecturer to the best in business on how to be more marketable by being more remarkable.
What’s the big deal with being remarkable? Godin gets specific by pointing out the meaning behind the term: if something is remarkable, it means it’s worth literally making a remark over. People are going to talk about it. And, in the age of the internet, if people talk about your product or service, it spreads — for free! This word-of-mouth viral marketing is how ideas spread, and businesses bloom.
So how do we make something remarkable? By being exceptionally unique. Because customers now have so much choice — in addition to being inundated with an overwhelming amount of information everyday — being “very good” is no longer good enough. If you offer a product or service that is merely very good (which is still, please take note, an admirable achievement), it will not succeed long-term in today’s market because no one is going to notice it for a sustained period of time. Godin explains:
“Consumers don’t care about you at all; they just don’t care. Part of the reason is — they’ve got way more choices than they used to, and way less time. And in a world where we have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff.”
On the other hand, if you create something remarkable, people will absolutely take notice; remarkable ideas rise above the fray. Here, Godin provides a catchy analogy to help us remember this — the purple cow:
“You’re driving down the road and you see a cow, and you keep driving because you’ve seen cows before. Cows are invisible. Cows are boring. Who’s going to stop and pull over and say — oh, look, a cow. Nobody.
“But if the cow was purple? You’d notice it for a while. The thing that’s going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed, what gets purchased, what gets built is: is it remarkable?”
The new revolution
As much as Godin emphasizes that times are rapidly changing, he also reassures us that it’s still quite possible to succeed. But this new way of marketing is not about tacking on a last-minute fancy bow; it’s about building something outstanding from the ground up — producing quality products and services with a built-in remarkable factor.
These ideas are relevant because, as we’re in the middle of a seismic shift, traditional schools of thought on business and marketing no longer cut the muster:
“For 80 years, you got a job, you did what you were told, and you retired. But the industrial age is going away and this new thing is taking its place. (…) We’re totally unprepared — our schools, our systems, our taxes are all built around this notion of doing what you’re told. And now we don’t know what to do because it’s a revolution.”
If that sounds to you like something of a rally cry — it is. Godin makes it clear that in order to thrive in this new world, we need to think backwards, take initiative, and make our voices heard: “Don’t wait for someone to pick you. Pick yourself.”
Are you taking the lead to make your business remarkable? If not, what’s stopping you? The world needs more purple cows — make sure yours leaves a lasting, unique impression.
It doesn’t matter whether you own a building or own a big company — you can make an impact if you want to.
— Seth Godin
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