Several years ago Seth Godin wrote a book called “Purple Cow”.

I enjoyed his perspective about how brand leaders should shift their focus away from marketing communication strategies aimed at convincing target markets how remarkable a given product or service is, and instead apply their talents into actually making their products or services more remarkable. I continue to marvel how many marketers believe their job is to concoct advertising, media plans and promotional discounts rather than acknowledge that advertising is largely unnecessary if they properly develop, position, and market value proposition that consumers actually want to engage with.

I witnessed a ‘purple cow’ firsthand on a recent family vacation to The Magic Castle in Los Angeles.

We stayed at the famed Magic Castle Hotel and loved every minute of it. While the actual facility is rather unremarkable (really it’s just modestly renovated small apartment complex that reminds me of the residence on the TV show Melrose Place) the customer service and amenities are wholly unexpected and entirely appreciated.

For example, upon check in the clerk gave us a large ‘menu’ of complimentary snacks. My three sons were giddy about selecting from free treats that rivalled anything they’d find in a fully stocked vending machine. In addition, we were offered a 2-page list of free DVD’s to rent, offered over a dozen board games to check out, and encouraged to take advantage of the free breakfast the next morning. But the accommodation that really went above and beyond was the  “Popsicle Hotline”.

Situated next to the heated pool (which incidentally was accessible 24/7), is an old fashioned telephone with a sign that says “Popsicle Hotline”. When my son picked up the phone, a voice stated that popsicles would be arriving momentarily. Soon a staffer came out with a silver tray containing a variety of Popsicle options – hand delivered poolside with no expectation of cost or tip. My kids couldn’t stop talking about it. They ordered another ‘round’ and told other newcomers to the pool about the ‘free popsicle guy’.

Your brainpower and company resources should be finding ways to surprise and delight guests in such a manner that they want to tell their friends.

The Magic Castle Hotel costs ~$50 more than other hotel options we considered in the area. I don’t know the average cost of free popsicles, candy bars, chips or soda, but I’d guess my kids ate $20 worth of free snacks. That means the hotel benefited from a $30 net premium, and delighted their guests so much I decided to write about it and tell all my friends.

My point is this; there are likely numerous things your brand could be doing that are of low cost to yourself, yet have a high perceived-value to your customers. Your brainpower and company resources should be finding ways to surprise and delight guests in such a manner that they want to tell their friends. The more you do of this, the less time and money you’ll need to spend on paid media strategies the scream, beg, and bribe people to shop you.

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