Identity - Creating Your Purple Cow

brandidentity branding brandtuned brandtunedpodcast distinctiveness intellectualproperty marketing purplecow Oct 20, 2022

Seth Godin, in his book “Purple Cow”, talks about the importance of being remarkable.

Purple Cow is symbolic of standing out in the market. Success lies in finding a way to be the business with an amazing product or service. The brand that is top of mind for target customers.

What do you think is the most important way for a business to achieve this?

Identifying a winning strategy to meet customers’ wants and needs is one aspect of what’s needed. The other is to construct a brand identity that’s unique from an intellectual property law perspective.

A distinctive brand identity plays an important role in enabling a brand to be noticed, remembered and bought. IP affects the choices made during branding. If properly addressed in the brand strategy, IP enables the business to be inimitable.

Our identity is what enables our company to look like itself. It’s what attracts customers and keeps them coming back for more.

If you think it’s just about creativity and don’t consider competitor copying, you will likely fail to create a distinctive brand that endures long term. You will not remain a purple cow once competitors begin copying you.

While our strategy needs to change due to competitor copying, so we better address our target market's specific wants and needs, our distinctive identity should remain constant.

The visual identity is how consumers recognise a business. Just as peoples’ appearance remains constant, unless they have plastic surgery, so the brand identity should recognisably look like itself.

For a business, the look and feel of the brand—its name and other identifiers is what enable it to be uniquely recognised. And I'm here to tell you that this is the one part of what makes a business stand out from the crowd long term that tends to be overlooked when IP does not inform the choice of name and identifiers. Making strategic choices of identifiers and deciding how to protect them is an important aspect of branding.

It's not enough to just make a great product. It’s not enough to ensure your brand is different from everyone else's. It’s not enough to truly understand your customers’ wants and needs. What’s essential is to be distinctively recognisable as yourself. That involves using intellectual property laws to stave off undesirable competitor activity.

The lack of training in intellectual property among brand designers and marketers is a problem because the legal concept of distinctiveness is what determines whether the brand names and identifiers that are chosen are good enough. They underpin a business’ identity.

If you work in a creative field, you're probably familiar with the idea of owning your own unique ideas or products, but when you look at the bigger picture, there's a whole world of intellectual property that goes beyond the basic copyright laws that most people are familiar with. These are critical to identity design.

The individual components of identity, when combined, form the basis of our unique identity. Understanding how to choose individual brand elements, and protect them, is an essential aspect of brand strategy that is currently poorly addressed in the design industry. Yet if competitors are prevented from mimicking what make us different or special, we remain the only purple cow in a field of black and brown cows.

If you want to differentiate yourself as a designer, marketer, or consultant, and to potentially add a new revenue stream to your income, learn how to take intellectual property on board in your branding process.

Look no further than the Brand Tuned Accreditation Program which is a comprehensive 101 of branding. The next intake is in January. If you have any questions before registering, complete the form at the end of that page to be notified when we next run a webinar.

In the meantime, my latest podcast discusses all this in more detail, as well as explaining how personal and business brands differ in terms of the role that identifying elements play.