I work for a broadcast company that, for years, provided local children a much-anticipated day of free fun and games. And each time, the event got bigger and better and local business participation increased and more and more families came to the coveted event. A few years ago, after our biggest, and arguably, our most successful event yet, the General Manager made the decision that we would no longer hold this free event every fall. It was time to do something different. Her vision was to create something with more longevity for the community.
When the decision was announced, the reviews were mixed. There was a ton of time, planning, manpower and money that went in to that one short day that was over no sooner than it began. On the other hand, it was a fantastic free event for families. I asked our GM why she made the decision to find a new initiative. Her reply was that she knew it had run its course and it was time to end it and find something new while the event was at its best.
While it didn’t make sense to some because the event was successful and the station was known for it; our GM was really looking for what Seth Godin calls the next “Purple Cow.”
“If a product’s future is unlikely to be remarkable – if you can’t imagine a future in which people are once again fascinated by your product – it’s time to realize that the game has changed. Instead of investing in a dying product, take profits and reinvest them in building something new.” Seth Godin, Purple Cow
Every day we are faced with projects, initiatives and even policies and procedures that are worked on or followed just because that’s the way it’s done. I would argue that the “Purple Cow” can go far beyond marketing. In this sense, it is really is about challenging good enough. Of course, if you are always looking ahead, sometimes your idea will fail. The alternative is to do nothing and never noticeably fail….until one day, when someone else takes on the remarkable task of challenge and change, which will happen.
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