On Being the Purple Cow…

Jim Draper “Healing Palm” – check, Eames plywood chairs – check. A great place to do good work!

On my way home from hiking Sunday night I was doing one of those things where you wake up driving 80 miles an hour and say aloud to yourself, “I am going to die if I don’t stop doing this…” It’s like I was hypnotized – I slapped myself (something I do not deserve anymore), opened the window to let in the cold night air and sang aloud, but nothing worked. So I stopped at a gas station, got a coffee (okay, and a bag of Werther’s Originals) and put on a Ted Talks Radio podcast.

The next thing I knew I was totally wide awake and wishing I could take notes. Seth Godin was on and he was talking about how difficult it is to rise above the babble these days, to get your product or service noticed. He was saying that everyone is inundated with too much information and not enough time to process it. In order to be seen and heard in the overabundance of social media, you must do something remarkable. He used the example of cows in a field. He said (I am paraphrasing), “If you are driving down the road and you see cows in a field, you are not going to get excited. You won’t stop and take pictures, because you’ve seen cows before. They are boring.” Then he said, “But if the cows were purple…”

In other words, your Holsteins may be producing great milk, but if the packaging is uninspiring, no one will notice.

Where am I going with this? Well, I hosted a meeting at Sanford House yesterday to talk to key staff members about all the things David Green and I have been doing to let the world know about Sanford House. I told them the Seth Godin story.

There was so much passion in the room. We were defining ourselves as a women’s only drug and alcohol treatment center. What that meant to us. How we are unique – no direct competition that I can find – and how our residents are given their lives back: their humanity and dignity. How we provide a safe haven to do courageous work. How proud we are of the women’s successes. And Rae Green said, “We’re a purple cow.”

And the best part is that it’s not just the packaging.

It’s a marketer’s dream.

Shame on me if I don’t find a way to let the world know we are here. And PURPLE.

Today I’m not drinking because I am on the way to WordPress training. Yippee!

How come you’re not drinking?