The Third Ingredient of a Purple Goldfish (Limited) – Chapter 9


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[Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing excerpts as we work towards completing the manuscript for ‘What’s Your Purple Goldfish?’. Today is Chapter 9 and the third of the ingredients or R.U.L.E.S]

The third of the r.u.l.e.s is the concept of being ‘limited’. What does limited mean? If it’s a small token or extra, it means selecting something unique to your business. Ideally you want it to be ‘signature’ to your brand. Something rare, different or just plain hard to find elsewhere. A ‘limited’ extra helps you differentiate your offerings, while providing insurance against being copied by competitors.

Let’s look a few examples:

The Fillmore West

fillmore west purple goldfishGene Willis submitted this gem from the west coast:

“The Fillmore, a famous San Francisco music auditorium has hosted everyone from The Grateful Dead to Snoop Dogg. At the end of each show they hand out a limited number of music posters….free. Each poster has it’s own unique artwork, and the date of the show and artist. People collect the posters, and sometimes look forward to getting the poster as much as the show. Generations of posters are framed and make-up the walls. Also, when you enter the Fillmore, there is a bucket of free apples and someone who welcomes you to the Fillmore. No wonder it’s one of the most loved places to see a band perform live.”

The posters and apples are brilliant. It scores high on the five ingredients/rules of marketing lagniappe, especially limited:

R elevant – each is designed with the artist in mind
U nexpected – the posters are handbills that are distinctive in size
L imited – a limited run creates that ‘one of a kind’ special feel
E xpressive – the posters are handed out when the concert-goers leave as a keepsake
S ticky – a collector item that folks share and talk about

Donut Holes and Milk Duds

lou mitchells donut holes and milk dudsThere are reasons native Chicagoans and tourists alike consider Lou Mitchell’s a must-visit. From the donut holes and the milk duds while you wait to the double-yolk eggs that make every dish even more sinfully indulgent, Lou’s knows how to do breakfast.

Located in the South Loop, the restaurant has been a Chicago institution since 1923, and decades later, they’re still dishing out thick French toast, enormous platters of pancakes, fresh-baked pastries, and of course, those famous skillets. The extras are just as delectable. Lou’s boasts pure maple syrup, fresh-squeezed orange juice and slabs of toast served with every omelet.

Be prepared to make some new friends — chances are good you’ll be seated next to strangers at one of the lengthy tables. Even if you don’t bond with fellow diners, the employees’ perpetually friendly smiles — and free Milk Duds for the ladies — guarantee that you’ll want to return soon.


four seasons singaporeA good friend Doug Pirnie shard his experience of staying at the Four Seasons and receiving a signature purple goldfish when checking out. In Doug’s words:

“At the end of my stay at the Four Seasons in Singapore, they gave me my own personal “chop” – a stamp with my own insignia on it. Chinese tradition is for all documents to be “stamped” with the owner’s/writer’s/artist’s chop. If I can find it, I’ll end you a note with my chop!”

The hand stamp (especially for a Westerner) is something rare and unique. The addition of personalization on the stamp by the hotel makes is special. Two thumbs up for the staff at the Four Seasons who leveraged Chinese heritage to give an sticky compelling gift with the ‘CHOP’.

Guatemalan Worry Doll

besito-mexican-restaurantBesito means ‘little kiss’ in Spanish. It’s also the name of an authentic mexican restaurant based in Roslyn, New York. I met Lilliam Villafane De Giacomo the other day and she waxed poetic about Besito. She spoke of the amazing food, but paid special attention to two added value items. At the end of the meal the restaurant hands out wrapped churros and little worry dolls.

The following excerpt from a NYT Review posted on their website mentions the churros and worry dolls.

“The best dessert was the churros given gratis to every table. The warm, long spirals of fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar were delivered in a white paper bag. Along with them we were given tiny Mexican “worry dolls” to be put under our pillows to take away worries. My only worry was the amount of delicious food I’d just eaten.”

Here is another review from slapphappe:

“A fresh dish of chunky guacamole is created at your table side from perfectly ripened fruits in a molcajete, the authentic Mexican basalt lava version of a mortar and pestle. It was near perfect for my tastes. Even at twelve bucks a pop we occasionally have two bowls. Their beef enchilada, huevos rancheros and chicken enchilada in creamy tomitillo sauce are all very good.

Service is excellent. At lunch today we were each sent home with a complimentary “worry doll” and a wrapped churros to go. Legend has it that Guatemalan children tell one worry to each doll when they go to bed at night then put the dolls under their pillow and in the morning the dolls will have taken their worries away.”

[Next Up is Chapter 10. Expression – the fourth ingredient of a purple goldfish]

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Check out this commercial featuring a ‘worry doll’. Funny peculiar, but not ha, ha funny given the last month in the financial markets:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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