Orange Spine and Purple Cow: Stand Out with Color

My wife is writing her first book. But as she’s working toward that title of author, she’s filling the roles of teacher, maid, dishwasher, and chef (and every other job title that comes with being a stay-at-home mom of a homeschool family).

In addition, she loves science and everything about the outdoors. So much so that when she was working outside of our home, she preferred working, well, outside. She couldn’t sit still behind a desk all day.

Thankfully, she’s found a dream job or three working “in the field.” And while she was always aware and appreciative of her surroundings and the environment, it was while working at her first job in marine biology that the entire world seemed to “go green” and become eco-friendly. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

Orange Spine, Purple Cow.But suddenly I noticed the orange spine.

See, while studying design and color theory, myself, I took an interest in my wife’s work and began brushing up on environmental matters, too. One day I was browsing the science section at our local bookstore and this one orange spine jumped out at me among all the green.

As you may know, the color green is often associated with nature, earth and the environment. So all the How To Be Eco-Friendly in 3 Recycled, Repurposed, Organic Steps books were green, of course. Except one.

In that row of green books, there was one with an orange spine that stood out. And I bought it. It stood out on the shelf — and in my mind all these years later — like the purple cow in Seth Godin’s popular book of the same name.

Standing Out as an Industry Expert

So as an industry expert you have two things to think about as you build your brand.

First, of course, you have to “fit in.” Maybe you are in the environmental space and you do, in fact, use a lot of green. And to fit in, you have to believe in what you teach. You’ll have to “go green,” recycle or eat foods with minimal packaging. You must choose to embrace it! Whatever your industry, your niche, you need to be one with your target market. Talk their language. Hang out on their favorite social channels… Whatever you need to do to fit in.

Just don’t blend in.

Fitting in doesn't mean blending in.Click To Tweet

Second, you have to stand out. Besides fitting in, you have to rise above the clutter and let it be known you’re the expert. Fit in among your peers but stand out as an industry leader.

Differentiate yourself to stand out. You could offer the premium course when everyone is discounting. Focus on one topic (and be the best at it) instead of trying to be a jack of all trades. Be the orange spine that rises above the competition; the purple cow that stands out from the masses.

Can you think of some place, like the bookshelf example above, where color can help you stand out? What else can you do to stand out while fitting in?

Blending in among your peers online? Grab a free download to start standing out on Instagram today: Stand Out on Instagram and Attract More Customers.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] If you’re building a personal brand — or the brand of a business or organization — the colors in everything from your logo to the clothes you wear can impact the thoughts, decisions and opinions of clients or customers. A small tweak in color could alter the way a customer clicks on your “buy now” button (or misses it) or even picks up your product from the shelf, be it virtual or within the walls of your brick and mortar store. You can stand out with color. […]

  2. […] If you’re building a personal brand — or the brand of a business or organization — the colors in everything from your logo to the clothes you wear can impact the thoughts, decisions and opinions of clients or customers. A small tweak in color could alter the way a customer clicks on your “buy now” button (or misses it) or even picks up your product from the shelf, be it virtual or within the walls of your brick and mortar store. You can stand out with color. […]

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