Purple Goldfish Hall of Fame Class of 2014 announced

Each year I recognize nine companies that embrace the concept of signature added value. These little extras are called a purple goldfish.

Here is an updated Slideshare with the class of 2014:

These Hall of Famers are purple goldfish. A purple goldfish is your one (or more) differentiators in customer experience. The little things that help you stand out in a sea of sameness.

Why Purple and Why a Goldfish?

Let’s start with the goldfish. The goldfish is a metaphor for something small. But goldfish are interesting creatures. The average goldfish is three inches in length, yet the world record is nearly 20 inches (50 cm). How can there be such a difference? Well, it turns out the growth of a goldfish is influenced by five factors. I contend that the growth of a business in influenced by these same factors.

Here are the five reasons:

1. The size of the bowl or pond. The larger the bowl or pond, the larger the goldfish will grow. What’s the equivalent of the bowl or pond if you are in business? Answer: The Market

2. The amount of other goldfish in the bowl or pond. The less goldfish, the larger a goldfish will grow. Who are the other goldfish if you are in business? Answer: The Competition

3. The nutrients in the water or how cloudy the water is. The more nutrients or less cloudiness, the larger the goldfish will grow. What are the nutrients or cloudiness if you are in business? Answer: The Economy (Nutrients = ability to get capital, Cloudiness = consumer confidence)

4. The growth of a goldfish in its first 120 days will influence how large it will ultimately get. What are the first 120 days in business? Answer: Start-up or new produce / service

5. The genetic makeup of a goldfish will determine how large it can get. How the goldfish stands out from the other goldfish. What is genetic makeup if you are in business? Answer: Differentiation

Why Purple? Purple is an ode to an iconic American city and its most famous event. That city is New Orleans and the event is Mardi Gras. Purple is one of the three official colors of Mardi Gras. The other two are green and gold. It’s a reference to New Orleans because there is one word from New Orleans that exemplifies this idea of doing the little something extra. It’s called LAGNIAPPE. Pronounced lan-yap, its creole for gift or to give more.

Here is the Class of 2014:

1. Rainforest Cafe – taking care of customers with food allergies

2. Umpqua Bank – constantly reinventing the branch banking experience

3. Progressive – the immediate response vehicle that improves service and reduces costs

4. Lou Mitchells – donut holes + milk duds are two extras at this Chicago landmark

5. Caribous Coffee – a little something extra on top of your coffee and trivia

6. Nurse Next Door – handling mistakes with a bit of humble pie

7. BMW – leveraging a key insight to create a new experience, the overnight test drive

8. Hard Rock Hotel – check in and rock out with a Gibson electric guitar

9. PDQ – handwashing stations and the power of your name at this QSR

They join the following brands that have earned entrance into the Hall:

Class of 2013

1. Chick-fil-A – Mints, wipes and free refills

2. Wells Fargo – Focus on current customers from growth

3. Safelite – Clean and vacuum in addition to repairing windshields

4. Panera – Clam chowder and cookies for a special need

5. Apple – One to one training, engraving and stickers

6. Plaza Cleaners – Free dry cleaning for those employed who need a suit cleaned

7. Liberty Tax – Tasty snacks and kids waiting area

8. Enterprise – They’ll pick you up and drop you off

9. Zane’s Cycles – Lifetime service

Class of 2012

1. Mitchells – Handwritten notes

2. Pizza Shuttle – Photobooth, gutbuster pie and custard

3. Besito – Churros and worry dolls

4. IKEA – Smaland and meatballs

5. Kiehl’s – Free samples, lots of them

6. Michael Lynne’s – Coffee, 24 hour demos and can of balls

7. Taranta – QR codes to track the freshness of fish

8. L.L. Bean – Guaranteed for life

9. Peter Millar – Mints and packing detail

Class of 2011

1. Trader Joe’s – kids carts, sampling and the whale

2. Nordstrom – Splitting pairs of shoes

3. Starbucks – Bathrooms, downloads, wifi and samples

4. Disney – Alway exceeding expectations with the parade

5. Four Seasons – Walk around the desk to give your key

6. JetBlue – Leather seats, great snacks, DIRECTV

7. Izzy’s – Free mini-scoop with each scoop purchased

8. Amazon – Free 2 day shipping, books and videos

9. Whole Foods – Ice with meat or seafood

Inaugural HOF Class of 2010:

1. Doubletree Hotels – Warm chocolate chip cookie

2. Stew Leonard’s – Free ice cream with $100+ purchase

3. TD Bank – Open 7 days and longer hours

4. Southwest Airlines – ‘Bags Fly Free’

5. Five Guys Burgers and Fries – Bonus fries and peanuts

6. Zappos – Surprise complimentary upgrade of shipping.

7. Lexus – Car wash and vacuum

8. Kimpton Hotels – Lonely travelers get some ‘Guppy Love’

9. AJ Bombers – Free peanuts delivered by P-nut bomber

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here is the executive summary of the first book in the Goldfish trilogy, What’s Your Purple Goldfish: