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In his book Purple Cow: Transform Your
Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin
says that the key to success is to find a
way to stand out—to be the purple cow in
a field of monochrome Holsteins.
Forbes magazine says that Godin
himself may be the best example of how
this theory works: The marketing expert
is a demigod on the Web, a best-selling
author, highly sought after lecturer,
successful entrepreneur, respected pundit
and high-profile blogger. He is uniquely
respected for his understanding of the
internet, and his essays and opinions are
widely read and quoted online and off.
Godin himself explains:
While driving through Switzerland a few
years ago, my family and I were enchanted
by the hundreds of storybook cows grazing
in lovely pastures right next to the road.
For dozens of kilometres, we all gazed
out the window, marvelling at the beauty.
Then, within a few minutes, we started
ignoring the cows. The new cows were
just like the old cows, and what was once
amazing was now common. Worse than
common: it was boring.
Cows, after you’ve seen them for a
while, are boring. They may be well-bred
cows, but they are still boring. A Purple
Cow, though: now, that would really stand
out. The essence of the Purple Cow—the
reason it would shine among a crowd
of perfectly competent, even undeniably
excellent cows—is that it would be
remarkable. Something remarkable
is worth talking about, worth paying
attention to. Boring stuff quickly becomes
For newsagents seeking to transform
their businesses by being remarkable, this
book is a worthwhile read.
Google it and read about it. (Google
became remarkable—it didn’t exist 14
years ago and now we all use it every day.)
Being a purple cow...
Most towns have their ‘identities’,
someone who may be eccentric or
exceptional—everyone knows this
character because they are different. They
don’t have to be champions, they may be
a bit odd, but they stand out because they
are different, and we remember them.
There is a lot of advertising and a lot of
events. Why does one stand out and the
others get lost in the clutter?
Red Nose day is a good example—it
stood out and the fund raising for SIDS
was excellent. Every second car had a
red nose. Buildings had red noses! It was
successful and it was fun.
The novelty has gone now and you don’t
see many red noses around anymore.
The SIDS people will have to think of
something new—and that is hard.
Even ‘purple cow’ moments have to
evolve and change completely to maintain
What makes you remarkable? How does
your store stand out?
• Is it the colour?
• Is it your passionate staff member who
knows where everything is?
• Have you a lucky wheel or Budda’s belly
to bring luck to Lotto players?
• Are you known for supporting the local
• Were you there to help in a disaster?
• Do you and your staff bring joy to almost
everyone who walks into your shop?
• Do you deliver to the old and infirm?
Let’s collect Purple Cow moments
National Newsagent asked some of our
top retailers what they have done to stand
out from other newsagencies or stores.”
Peterborough Newsagency became a
ONE STOP SHOP
Peterborough newsagent, Chris
We don’t see ourselves as being
remarkable. We simply keep working
at making our business work for us as
best as we can. This involves looking at
other stores (not only in our area but
throughout the state), trying new ideas
and talking/listening to our customers.
We don’t always get it right and we don’t
pretend that we do. We simply learn from
our mistakes. If we get it right then it’s
remarkable; we sit back, pat ourselves on
the back, marvel at it, then move on.
We can control the quality of our staff,
the quality and quantity of our stock,
even our location but it’s the customers
that determine how successful we are.
As the customer changes we also must
learn how to change to make sure our
customers still want to continue to come
in and deal with us.
We apparently have, as one customer
mentioned recently, “become a one stop
shop. If you haven’t got it then it’s unlikely
anyone else in the town will”.
Our business has a shop frontage
that covers three normal size shops. It
has a massive window display area and
is situated in the main shopping area of
the town. It’s important that the displays
are changed regularly so that they don’t
become boring and that the shop always
looks ‘fresh’ and inviting.
The Burg display has helped drive
tourists into our shop but we can’t sit
back and rely on that alone to keep
boosting our sales. We have to keep on
the lookout for new ideas and/or rejigging
of old ideas.
Just because we are small doesn’t
mean we can’t compete with the big boys.
After seven years we still have the
same get up and go and the will to
succeed that we had when we first started
(which in itself is remarkable as we
haven’t had a real holiday in that time).
Every day is a challenge.
IT’S TIME FOR ThE
Chris and Cathy Woodman – Peterborough with
Damon Arklay SA Lotteries and their Retail award
A magazine for
A magazine for
23/08/12 2:54 PM
National Newsagent September 2012
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