How Purple Cows and Boomerangs Can Help You Distinguish Yourself Online?



“No way. I will never, ever name her Celia!”

That was my friend Ruth, shouting at her husband David, not long after their new baby was born.

Celia was David’s grandmother. David had been very close to her, and it meant a lot to him to name his new baby after his beloved Nan. But Ruth had other associations.

When she was 12, she told me later, there was a girl called Celia in her class. She bullied her for three years straight.

“I know David loved his grandmother, but there is no way I could ever name our child Celia. Ever. Just the thought of the name is enough to give me PTSD.”

Ruth and David managed to compromise and named their baby Amanda, but I know that David is still puzzled about why Ruth was so upset just by hearing the name Celia.

Do you know why? It’s because names have power – power that you should be using in your online marketing.

Previously I’ve suggested turning your key ideas into models and images which people could understand, remember fast – and identify with you. Just by packaging your ideas better, you attract attention and build authority.

Here’s another way to do the same thing. Take your ideas, and name them.

We spend a lot of time choosing the right name for our company, and probably a similar amount of time naming our products. But you might not have thought of naming your key ideas and methods.

Again, a good name makes your idea instantly memorable.

Take our ‘Boomerang’ method for getting visitors to return to your website after they’ve left, for example. Just one word explains our idea better than paragraphs of description.

Marketer Seth Godin became instantly known for his theory of the “Purple Cow”.

If I told you the theory, you’d be amazed at how utterly unremarkable it is. It’s nothing more than the idea that to succeed in business, you need to be different – “a purple cow in a sea of monochrome”.

But the name was so powerful, it literally made Seth Godin’s name, too.

All the models I talked about in my last email have names too – for example, the SWOT Analysis.

By now, you’re probably wondering how to harness the power of names for your own business.

You need a name that captures the essence of your idea, service or system. It should clearly identify what you are offering, sound positive, and most of all it should be short.

If you’re looking for inspiration, start by thinking of acronyms, puns, or metaphors that convey a positive image. You can also mine common phrases, movie quotes or book titles, or even coin new words.

What key ideas are you going to name?


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