Posted January 9, 2010 6:04 am by with 8 comments

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So the other day I logged into LinkedIn and went to my Inbox to view some messages. There I saw a connection request that I had obviously rejected back in November. I don’t like accepting request on LinkedIn unless I have met the said person face to face. So it’s not unusual that I would have rejected someone’s request. However, when I actually read this one request something was different. This person apparently met me while in Las Vegas at PubCon. Why did I refuse his request? Well, to be honest, I don’t remember the guy at all. I mean, I met a lot of cool folks at PubCon and apparently I met some non-memorable ones as well. Being non-memorable is a problem, especially for people at networking events.

I have to make a confession: I don’t have a trendy smart phone.

Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against them, it’s just that my current phone does everything I need and more. I have been thinking lately about upgrading to a new smart phone, but quite honestly it has been really hard deciding which to pick. One of my old friends from college used to have a BlackBerry and now is using a Motorola Droid. So I called him up to get his opinion. We talked for a long time about all the different options in the smart phone market and I still didn’t feel any closer to picking out a phone that I wanted.

Why can’t I decide? What keeps getting in the way with this decision? Honestly none of the phones “jump out” at me. I mean really, when it all boils down to it, they are all the same. Sure some have different features. Some come with different services plans. Some come with different apps and widgets. But seriously they all pretty much do the same thing. Why aren’t any of the smart phone makers creating devices that stand out from the crowd? Why aren’t any of them creating memorable products? Why do they all pretty much look the same?

Smart Phones

Why can’t I get one shaped like a banana with pink and purple stripes? I want one that can also open a bottle of beer, or something else equally ridiculous. Seth Godin will tell you that your brand has to be remarkable.  However, before your brand can be remarkable it has to be memorable. It has to stand out from the crowd. It has to make me want to know more.

  • Great points Joe. You absolutely need to be memorable. Stand out or perish. The difficulty in Seth Godin’s PURPLE Cow principle is that you need to bake that remarkability into the product. That is extremely difficult. A phone is a phone. It would have to be really remarkable for you to overcome the friction (pita factor) associated with making a switch.

    However – let me offer another take on how to color that phone PURPLE. That is by creating a few PURPLE Goldfish. A purple goldfish is something a whole lot smaller than a cow and much easier to create. It’s based on the concept of ‘marketing lagniappe’. Lan-what? Pronounced ‘Lan-yap’ is a creole word that represents the ‘little unexpected something extra’ thrown in by the merchant at the time of purchase. In Louisiana ‘lagniappe’ is part of the vernacular and represents anytime someone goes ‘above and beyond’.

    Do small ‘PURPLE’ things make a big difference? Absolutely. Imagine if you asked that same friend for a recommendation and he started gushing about Product X because they did these little things that were unexpected and extra. It could be the customer service they received (think Zappos), a feature that they decided not to charge for (think Southwest and bags flying free), or a ‘thank you’ with free minutes if you spend X per month (think Stew Leonard’s).

    Tired of swimming in the ‘sea of sameness’, head over to the #PurpleGoldfishProject for inspiration. This charitable initiative has crowdsourced over 175 examples from north of 100 brands. Who made the cut so far? Check it out @ FISHERMAN WANTED

    ‘The average distance between the brain and the heart is 9 inches’
    .-= Stan Phelps´s last blog ..Hotel Burnham in Chicago is #141 in Purple Goldfish Project =-.

  • I concur. Can opener built in with your phone. AWESOME. Give me that + 3G and you can cancel my cable + wireless. I may never leave the house.
    Seriously though – the can opener built in is more COW than goldfish. Lagniappe works on the power of ‘surprise and delight’. It’s a ‘branded act of kindness’. Similar to a good ‘jambalaya’ it takes a number of ingredients. Throw them together (Relevant, Unexpected, Limited, Expression, Sticky) and you’ve got yourself a purple goldfish.
    Find out who is doing it effectively to reduce attrition, build loyalty and drive the bottom line @ #PurpleGoldfishProject
    .-= Stan Phelps´s last blog ..Hotel Burnham in Chicago is #141 in Purple Goldfish Project =-.

  • I never had a IPhone. But I like the design and usability. Most of the german apps are free of charge. But not everyone is useful. Nice toy 😀

  • Pingback: Why a Purple Goldfish (Part Two)()

  • A banana phone with pink stripes is where we would headed to if someone had not figured out that there could be something called smartphones..
    .-= Anand´s last blog ..RIM Brings GPS-Based Security Settings For Blackberry =-.

  • First of all… you don’t have a smartphone? How does it feel to be a digital leper? Lol, I kid, but I’m sure you get a lot of ribbing for not having one around the office. It’s ok; I used to be the same.

    Regarding you post, my opinion is that Apple already made something remarkable… it’s called the iPhone. Everything else is indicative of the industry attempting to create something slightly better. The ironic part is that in their attempt to differentiate themselves, they end up turning phones into a commodity for folks like Joe Hall.
    .-= Josh Braaten´s last blog ..7 Examples of Good Web Design Page Layout =-.

    • i own my own company so no one “ribbs” me around the office. I think before there was the iPhone there was the BlackBerry in 2002. The iPhone came in 2007. I will admit that the iPhone has set the standard for the rather bland aesthetics of the current smart phone market.