FIGISM #6: Why Miley Cyrus is a Purple Cow

Branding isn’t just for cows or products. It’s also applied to people, especially celebrities. In our world of branding and refreshing dusty or dull brands, we often talk of the “Purple Cow” brand, a term coined by Seth Gorin and the name of his NY Times bestselling marketing book. When one drives past fields of Holstein cows, not a one is distinct. But if a purple cow was out grazing in the field, well one would stop, take a selfie, tell their friends, go viral with this distinctly different, overtly weird sighting.

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In watching The Voice last night (true confession – I’m a groupie fan), I realized Miley Cyrus is a very violet and vibrant Purple Cow, and, in branding, that’s a triple cow – uh – crown win. Miley is always in the most outrageous outfit with accompanying hairdo, whilst also being sincere, engaged, caring, even emotional. She’s in the game full tilt, like all the judges on popular reality show, but with her personality emblazoned on each episode. If only more companies were willing to go full tilt in telling their true story.

My younger daughter used to defend Miley’s escapades and called her “a true original.” Now, I finally get it. Miley’s distinctions  — even if at times awkward or questionable — can serve to teach brands how they need to go farther, deeper, so they can stand out in the herd, uh crowd.

What brand or celeb do you think is a purple cow? Tell us in the comments section below.

Stay tuned for our weekly FIGISM series – we’ll be sharing tips and lessons learned from FIG’s 20 years of experience in PR.