In 2003 Seth Godin published a book on remarkable advertisement and how differentiation is key in marketing. The name is purple cow. He talks about customers inmunity to marketing strategies. It encourages creating companies that are pushing the boundaries to be the purple cow in the herd over and over again. Meaning companies that are significantly different, irrelevant to others and “completely crazy” doing advertisement.
“Ideavirus” as he explains, is a concept that illustrates how quickly users share weird ideas in the short-term. Virality, network effects and replicability are the essence of our digital world today. Experts in replication of the same puppy in TikTok. We have unbelievable examples of this. Influencers without a clear purpose that just post useless content. The world has been influenced by growth hackers that want you to share useless “stuff”.
Peter Thiel famously said “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” Technology in 2023 is advancing, but is stuck in only trying to be “different”. We need diversity in the herd. What I mean with diversity is cows of different colors all shinning for different profound reasons. We need useful content that stands out by itself and it’s able to create a meaningful impact in the audience. An impact that follows coherently the lines of thought and the philosophy that has moved the world trough out its history. The creation of content has to be more transparent and fundamentally based in ideas that can help us change behaviors for the good. “Green cow” is just that. A more ethical, distinguished, coherent and purposeful advertisement. One that stands out and encourages others to look and share with meaning.
A good example of this is the environmental movement that dates back to the end of the XX century. The concept of a “green cow” can be thought of as a metaphor for companies organizations or individuals that are able to stand out in a crowded market by differentiating themselves through their commitment to a purpose that goes beyond their profit and wellbeing. Going back to the example of the environmental movement, It has been able to create a profound impact by raising awareness about the importance of protecting the planet and encouraging people to make more sustainable choices. It’s important for companies to consider the ethical implications of their actions and to communicate transparently about their values and mission. The ownership, responsibility and discipline needed to defend a cause greater than yourself is not common, therefore its viral. It’s the outcome of consistent courage.
In order to be truly a “green cow”, it’s important to have some sort of irrationality. The integration of all aspects of the business, organization or individual have to reflect that mission and values in a passionate way. By doing so, differentiation becomes meaningful. It produces loyal and passionate customer base that is aligned with its values.
To be truly viral, a green cow would need to be able to capture the attention and imagination of its audience, and inspire them to share its message with others. This could be achieved through compelling storytelling, innovative marketing campaigns, or partnerships with influential figures or organizations. By creating content that is both meaningful and different, a green cow has the potential to cut through the noise and make a real impact.
With the rise of AI, and the easiness of the replicability of ideas, a constant and dynamic evolution is required in how we share our creations. There has to be a deeper meaning for the actions taken and content created in every particular context. The evolution of thoughts require numerous individuals around, in order to enable the “green cow” to exist. It requires expertise in the details and breaking the rules in a spontaneous way. Its deeply connected with our idea of God.