I introduced her first in public about two weeks ago. A few local business owners – one who had contributed to her creation, a couple more to become the first profiles – on the first day. Then she came to a sub-committee of the Barrhead and District Chamber of Commerce – where I introduced her to board members along with other ideas I have on local marketing in a small town. Then I introduced her at River Talker Toastmasters, where I held the role of Toastmaster in working towards my Competent Communicator and Compete Leadership designations. (She won Most Enthusiastic!! Which is huge, but which I’ll explain in another post)

And today, I introduced her to newsletter subscribers. Newsletter subscribers always get the latest news first…which is one perk of the free level of Futurescape membership.

I explained (briefly) that she was a purple monster, a la Seth Godin.

It was only later that I realized that if you’ve never heard of Seth Godin, you may be a little confused. Seth Godin is a best selling author who specializes in marketing. The Purple Cow is one of the titles he wrote, the first of his works I read. I received a copy through Dynamic (yes, of the gas station and Woodlands County Mayor owned fame) when I was a radio account executive with XM105 (yes, this rock and roll girl once worked for a country station).

In the book (and this part is available for free on Seth Godin’s website) there are 5 steps to marketing outlined:

  • Sell what people are buying
  • Focus on the early adopters and sneezers
  • Make it remarkable enough for them to pay attention
  • Make it easy for them to spread
  • Let it work its own way to the mass market.

And so, with that as partial inspiration, Princess Violet began to take a more concrete shape and form.

You see, she’s been knocking around my head for ages. As I mentioned at Toastmasters last week, the idea began with  free e-book on marketing that was inspired by KISS, which got me to thinking about what inspired my way of thinking about marketing and the answer was (oddly enough) Sesame Street.

Mr. Hooper’s Store and the “People in Your Neighbourhood” segments, plus the topics of co-operation, accepting diversity and the total and absolute yummie-ness of chocolate chip cookies (or maybe just cookies in general?).

But I didn’t do much with that insight back then, other than write half an outline for a book based on marketing lessons learned from Sesame Street.

And then I saw the “What if?” campaign video (as a provincial association of offices we’ve pooled our resources – there’s that co-operation right there – to create an awareness campaign – and this video is part of it) And the colouring and retro-feel of it made me think of – can you guess?

I don’t know about you, but it made me think of Sesame Street – and that made me think of my own “What if?”

You see, while I believe the provincial video is an excellent start – as a marketer and publicist I know that one needs much more than just one video as content to drive connection.

But, I’m not a fan of doing my hair and make-up every day just in case I have a chance to record a video. (Yeah, I’m a little vain, you’re not?) And animation, while I know how to do it and I even know quite a few short-cuts, but it takes for-evah (and it quite makes me want to poke out my eyes out of the shear tediousness of it to be perfectly honest…)

So, what if I riffed on the Sesame Street theme and created a puppet to do the videos?

Well, actually I want to create more than one, but I’m impatient – so I’m starting with one.

Violet.

Purple.

My purple cow is a purple monster.

Or a purple monster aspiring to be a purple cow – or something like that…

Princess Violet, her royal highness of local shopping in the Yellowhead East, aspiring purple cow.

The effort fits most of the parameters outlined:

1. Sell what people are buying

I know small business owners need what we have.  Beyond the second chance funding available through our affordable flexible loans, there’s the information to access as well. I used to be a small business owner (home based, but professional) and I know what I would have appreciating knowing and having access to before I started and during the growth process!

I know we can do it in a way that’s affordable and accessible enough for any budget – I’ve worked with near-zero budgets more than once, and love the challenge of using guerilla and low-cost marketing approaches wherever it makes sense (even if you have a big huge budget, you should never look past the power of free PR!!)

I know that with what we can provide here can help you move on to true master professionals with confidence – once you can afford to do so. It’s our goal to make our clients bankable – both the traditional way through the banks and the new-fangled way through smart marketing tactics (leaving you with the ability to hire the best marketing and/or know how to create the best marketing for your business).

I’ve been through the files, the binders, the books and most of the media library – it’s the juicy good stuff as featured in Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines. Some of it may be aged, but the information remains solid gold. (I’m currently working out how to transfer the cassette tapes into a modern format. Be sure to sign up for the Futurescape newsletter for information on the progress of this -and all the other projects!)

So yeah, I think we do have something people are buying.

2. Focus on the early adopters and sneezers

I can almost check number 2 off the list as I do have some early adopters, we’ll see who sneezes soon 🙂

3. Make it remarkable enough for them to pay attention

I’m praying that Princess Violet (and her friends) are remarkable enough.

Time will tell.

I think they’re freaking amazing, and I can’t believe what I was able to create with a few YouTube videos and a little fleece and Styrofoam – but I’ve been told I have odd tastes. I can live with that, but as with my children – I hope Princess Violet is a little more appealing to a mainstream audience than I have perceived myself to be (because I somehow imagine it to be easier than being weird, but I somehow have an inkling it’s not…)

4. Make it easy for them to spread

And, of course, I’ll work hard to make the content created share-able.

5. Let it work its own way to the mass market.

Which means leaving it to the final point – the part I’ve never been especially good at, being patient.

Ah, patience – my constant and persistent nemesis. We meet again…

Will this idea break into the mass market? Will my patience match my passion…will people respond to my purple cow?

Stay tuned to find out!

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear – What’s your purple cow?

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