Here in the West, purple carrots aren’t commonly found in your local produce aisle.
In fact, you’ll probably have to go out of your way, and search for them at the fringes: places like your farmer’s market or a specialty grocer.
In my neighborhood, there’s a little vegetable stand where I can find maybe 3 or 4 if I’m lucky (mostly because there’s a woman who comes in every morning and buys nearly all of them for herself). The shop owner literally can’t keep enough of these little guys on hand.
This makes me want them more. In short, these little purple guys are special. Remarkable even. And they’re almost certainly a topic of conversation when served to dinner guests. They’re so pretty, they make the chef look special, too. (Another reason I want them.)
But guess what? They’re not a new invention. In fact, they’ve been around a really long time:
It is said that the cultivated and edible carrot dates back about 5,000 years ago when the purple root was found to be growing in the area now known as Afghanistan. Temple drawings from Egypt in 2000 BC show a purple plant, which some Egyptologists believe could have been a purple carrot.
Another piece of trivia: this ancient carrot is currently being touted as the next superfood. Mainly because they have up to 28x more anthocyanins — the antioxidant that creates the purple-red pigment in blueberries and raspberries.
They’re no harder to grow than orange carrots, so why don’t we find more of them in the store?
Because the masses haven’t asked for them. And because the big corporate growers find it difficult to change how they do business.
So until the mainstream begs a little louder, the farmers growing these particular carrots will enjoy fabulous profits in their niche.
What about you and your business?
If you haven’t yet read Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, then this may be new to you. (Hint: get the book! You need to read it!)
But the idea that you can (and should) play up your most extraordinary assets — cultivate them, even — is something that most people, quite frankly, are either afraid of doing, or haven’t really thought about.
I mean, seriously. We are all unique in our own special way. We all have a secret sauce. It’s just that most of the time we go around trying to fit in.
We try to be orange like every other carrot sitting around gathering dust.
The problem is that’s NOT how you build a great business. Great businesses differentiate in small, but extraordinary ways.
So are you willing to take that particular oddity of yours and put it front and center?
If so, step up now and claim your purpleness for the world to see. Go ahead. You can start by telling me in the comments below.
Okay, I’ll start: You may have noticed that I do my thing from a place sincerely anchored in my love of food. I use the metaphor of cooking to draw comparisons between serving up fabulous meals and serving up fabulous products and services. In fact, I have my own set of “secret” marketing recipes. You can get them by signing up here.
And you? Please share!
Funny – I just finished reading Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Fascination and Persuasion, and there’s a bit in it about the Dutch royal family, and how they “branded” themselves by breeding orange carrots (up to that point, apparently, all carrots had been purple and red) to represent the House of Orange (the royal vegetable, if you will). And then I stumbled upon your purple carrots!:-)
Great post Tea! I love this Purple Carrot/Purple Cow. I think I am a purple massage therapist … just defining what that means! This is so true: “Great businesses differentiate in small, but extraordinary ways.” For what I do, client feedback to the ways that I blend massage techniques helps me understand that I’m offering something remarkable or different, yet it’s tricky to verbalize … Anyways, we’re on our way. thank you for this wonderful post, and all the others! to the purple people! jessa
Hi Tea. I was reading your post on scarcity-thinking and was distracted by the purple carrot image.So hopped over. I only discovered them last month. Yes it’s hard to serve a purple carrot soup to friends when the brain say it should be orange! It’s a good metaphor for being different.Im not sure I can qualify for purpleness. Maybe just lilac.On the business centre website I started running a blog on local businesses – to promote them and give them a URL for reference. They found it hard to understand there was no fee involved. I wanted the business centre to be part of the community and loved the connections.The downside is that the many topics now might confuse Google as to what the main site is about. Is ther a way to handle that?Julia