Making Your Product or Idea Remarkable

The Fidget is hardly innovative and may not really be useful, but it it remarkable and flying off shelves in toy stores and sidewalk vendor tables. 

The Fidget is hardly innovative and may not really be useful, but it it remarkable and flying off shelves in toy stores and sidewalk vendor tables. 

Make your product or idea remarkable to stand out. Remarkable means having a unique quality that is useful or compelling enough to have people remark about it.

This insight by master marketer and author Seth Godin can be a guide to how to get noticed in a noisy world. Being different or new is not enough, Godin says, to turn heads. You need a way to put your product or idea on the tip of the tongues of your consumers.

Godin’s point isn’t new. He has been talking about his “purple cow” for years. People would pay little attention to cows along the road. But paint a cow purple and people will take notice, document the purple cow on the smartphones and share it on social media.

Seth Godin says the way to being heard above the din is to make your product or idea the equivalent of a purple cow, which people will stop to see, document with their smartphones and share with friends on social media.

Seth Godin says the way to being heard above the din is to make your product or idea the equivalent of a purple cow, which people will stop to see, document with their smartphones and share with friends on social media.

Godin has noted “the greatest invention since sliced bread” wasn’t an instant success. It took 15 years and Wonder Bread marketing to take the idea from the product dumpster to a kitchen table mainstay. Great idea, but commercially worthless until moms started trading tips about how to save time in the morning making school lunches for their kids.

Advocates for word-of-mouth marketing have profited by following Godin’s advice. They spend less time trying to collect Facebook ‘likes' and more time cultivating connections. A few thousand passive followers isn’t the same as 100 passionate fans who engage, share and influence. ‘Love' trumps ‘likes' almost every time.

What Godin suggests is infecting the brains of customers. Infectious videos, stories or social media posts spread organically in a way traditional advertising doesn’t. The infection can come in the form of new, valuable information, an aha moment or an entertaining vignette.

Empowering consumers is the underlying secret to Godin’s theory or remarkability or word-of-mouth marketing. Instead of pursuing statistical impressions, Godin and word-of-mouth markets work hard to impress consumers and give them the tools to talk and share. The voice that counts comes from the person who shares.

Making a product remarkable, Godin warns, can take you way out of your comfort zone. Marketing to the masses is passé, and so is making a middle-of-the-road products that try to make everyone happy, but wind up being bland. “Playing it safe is the riskiest strategy of all,” Godin says. He urges product designers to be an outlier and aim for the edges, which can generate what we often call consumer “buzz."

All this may discourage entrepreneurs who fixate on innovation. But as the invention of sliced bread illustrate, a great idea only becomes a great product once people view it as remarkable.

No better example exists than the Fidget gadget – a mindless spinning device that has captivated a wide audience and captured an exploding market. You’ve never seen a TV ad or infomercial about it, but you have heard friends talk about it or watch celebrities fiddle with it on talk shows. No one will put this device into the innovation hall of fame, but it looks ready to take its place on the honored shelf of remarkable products.