Be Like a Platypus
Updated: Feb 25
The platypus is a seemingly impossible creature. But it is also a very successful animal in its niche. We think of it as a great example of a marketing genius. And we can learn from this animal as business leaders and marketing students—whether for your business or for your personal brand.
The Platypus demonstrates four key concepts in marketing:
It’s memorable. There are few mammals in the animal kingdom that inspire such wonder. Wouldn’t you like to be as memorable in your space? The goal should be to stand out in such a way that it is difficult to forget. A platypus is unignorable. You should be too.
It’s creative. Author William Dugan, author of Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation, points out creativity is rarely something completely new. Instead, novelty comes from taking known concepts and putting them together in new ways. Much like parts of the platypus come from our mental file of normal animals and are reconstituted to create something fresh. Do you have something fresh and creative to offer your customers? It’s possible you do. Take a note from our duck-billed, beaver-tailed friend.
It’s strategic. The platypus has a finely defined niche and has survived for millions of years. Over thousands of years, this animal has embedded itself within the ecosystem of rivers in Australia. They serve a unique purpose by dredging the river bottoms and keeping them fresh. They are secondary prey so they fill an important role in the life of the forest as a provider for larger mammals. Do you fit into the system of life in your industry? Would you be missed?
It is positioned for success. The platypus defends its territory with deadly venomous spurs on its feet. It may look cute and cuddly but he’s no pushover. Snakes in the water may try to eat our little friend for lunch but platypus has one heck of a kick. She will challenge defend herself from predators. Every successful business has one thing that prevents the competition from encroaching on its territory. It might be price, it might be service, it might be a unique offering. What is yours?
When it comes to defining your difference in the marketplace there’s no better metaphor than the platypus. You could be a Purple Cow or a Unicorn but frankly, that’s trying a little too hard to be unique. Differentiation only needs to be grounded in being memorable, strategically smart, offering creativity, and being able to defend your territory. Just follow the way of the Platypus.
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