A Purple Cow for your Birthday

Posted on July 14, 2011


All I hear about is how hard it is to get a consumer’s — or in our case a listener’s — attention. People are inundated with too many choices and too much information. It’s hard to stand out.

Yet so many times we miss the obvious opportunities to do just that.

Like wishing listeners a happy birthday.

Maybe I’m just a big sentimental goober but all the birthday messages I got yesterday from people across the whole spectrum of my life, grade school friends to recent business colleagues, really made my day.

As a host, if you aren’t sending birthday wishes to your Facebook friends you are really missing an opportunity.

But a simple post isn’t really enough.

Seth Godin would say you want to be the purple cow in the herd of Facebook well-wishers

For anyone not familiar with Godin’s book Purple Cow the concept is really simple: in a herd of cows that all look pretty much the same a purple one really gets people’s attention.

For example, my friend, colleague and fellow all around smart guy Kipper McGee wished me a happy birthday and posted a list of celebrities who share my birthday (Cheech Marin and Han Solo to name a few). His post stood out.

That got me thinking about other easy-to-find bits of content a talent could post on their friend’s walls on their birthday: horoscopes, “this day in history” information, or goofy YouTube videos were just a couple of thoughts that jumped to mind immediately.

It would be even better to personalize the message. Record a video to send. You don’t need a new one for every person. On the first day of each month shoot a simple 30-second birthday video in the studio on the camera in your phone. We’re not talking about a huge time commitment especially considering the potential reward.

Of course, the only thing better than getting a birthday card is a birthday present.

Work with your station sales team. Partner with an advertiser to give listener’s something free on their birthday.

It doesn’t have to be big or expensive: a free birthday drink or an appetizer at a restaurant will do the trick. A word of caution though, don’t send coupons for money off or buy-one-get-one-free offers. Making a person spend money to get their birthday gift isn’t right.

So thanks again to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday; it was both touching and inspiring.