Standing Out

There’s nothing new about ‘Purple Cow’ – it’s used the world over by websites, design companies, design and manufacturers to express the concept of difference or create the perception of a point of difference


PurpleCow.jpgSeth Godin wrote his book ‘Purple Cow: 'Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable’ in 2003. In it he presents a personal belief that the only way to gain attention in the market is not only to market a product in a remarkable manner but also to have a remarkable product to market.

“Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance of success is to be remarkable” he said.
Move forward 15 years and the message still applies for retailers.

It’s not always the garden centres that struggle to grow that are the most boring. The ones that risk being boring are often those who retail well. They’re tidy with a good range of product, nice product presentation, a smattering of ideas for customers, good information, strong attention to processes and back office systems, communicate with customers through social media and newsletters.

No matter how big or small, it’s easily possible for most garden retailers to achieve or access all of the above.

On the other hand if you really want your ‘brand’ to be considered head and shoulders above other garden centres in your area there’s got to be something notable or a key benefit you want your target customers to associate with your garden centre ……every day.

Generally it’s a consideration that goes hand in hand with growing our business. If we want to grow the business more than 5% year on year. If we are trying to move across a perceived turnover barrier, say from 1.95mil to 2.1 million. If you want to build business resilience that allows you the owner more time to spend with your family or achieve the lifestyle you desire. Any of these require you to focus on your best chance of success.

Often it’s complacency that risks our best chance of success. Not making time to work on the business and plan. Not connecting with the wider community or noticing new developments. Not keeping up with trends, or getting out and seeing how other retailers handle seasonal change. Not involving ourselves with an external mentor or business improvement programme or engaging with our departmental teams in a sound planning process.

The best or remarkable garden centres take time to work on the business and have a plan. They plan strategies to develop in a remarkable way, creating points of difference that are signature to their business.

- Joy Lamb


Blackboard signs and signage in a blackboard style are signature to Terra Viva Home and Garden in Christchurch, New Zealand.