For those who are not in the know, Pantone is a company that creates colour-matching systems. These have always been the design industry’s undisputed colour ‘bible.’ Still, over the years, they have become a trendsetter for everything from interior design to furniture, food and fashion. And their colour names are the fodder for creativity, inspiration and great storytelling.
Pantone pronounces a “Colour of the Year” each year to represent the cultural zeitgeist. With neutral browns, beiges, taupes and creams making a comeback, it seemed a good time to talk about – drumroll – Root Beer Float.
We wanted a simple website, figuring it would help you get some of the nice things our clients say about us. Like that we’re patient, accommodating, effective, easy to work with and make it fun.
But in these Google-eyed and Meta-madness days, if we want to be seen for more than our creativity, award-winning work, exacting standards and unrelenting customer service, we need to bow to the browsers and the algorithms.
A lot of Ink Tank’s time this past year has been dedicated to helping our clients through the changes the covid-19 pandemic has wrought on their businesses, small and large. With Thrive Fit, that meant flipping their personal training business entirely online, readying to reopen, closing again and communicating with members.
It’s been a challenge, but with careful planning and innovative strategies, they have not only survived but thrived. So, when the owner suggested taking advantage of the gym closure to brand and redo the personal training business’ interior design, we could not have been more excited.
Thrive has built its personal training business around the importance of a positive attitude –serious about workouts and outcomes and lighthearted in outlooks. The updated design introduces spots of vibrant colour that breathe life and energy into an otherwise calming environment.
An inspirational quote reminds members not to take themselves too seriously and be proud of who they are and where they are in their fitness journeys. A photographic mural inhabits the back wall and is a subtle nudge to keep going. And the brand philosophy Ink Tank developed for the personal training business lays bare everything they believe and live by as a unique fitness studio model and a unique brand.
Everybody gets the blues. While the phrase often implies feeling low, lonely and depressed, the use and psychological effect of this versatile colour are as varied as its shades, tints and hues.
Teal, turquoise, azure, cerulean, sky blue, baby blue, ultramarine, some shade of blue is everyone’s favourite colour. Blue can be calm, spiritual and non-threatening – and lower your heart rate. It’s one reason why we commonly find in medical facilities and yoga studios. Blue can also be strong, stormy, energetic and powerful. Substantial, stable, secure, orderly, conservative, traditional, reliable.
Colour and its effect on behaviour have long been a topic of conversation and study for architects, designers, clothiers, retailers, manufacturers and psychologists. Context and the exact shade matters. Perceptions are ‘coloured’ by culture, gender, environment and even light. It defines both design and consumerism. And one of its most prevalent uses is in branding, like these from our clients.
I’ve seen many brand identities designed using a hue based on nothing but personal taste. But choosing the right colour to manage people’s perceptions about your brand is very much about personality and appropriateness to the product. Broad statements such as “green is calm” are misleading at best, yet frequently used by logo designers in support of their choices. And while jumping on colour trends is great for seasonal clothing or lipstick, it doesn’t fit the science when it comes to branding.
Products like shoes, clothing, nail polish, paint and even a tea flavour picked up on the Pantone Colour of the Year trend. And this year, brands like GM, Visa, Facebook, PayPal and Intel that had been built on ‘Classic Blue’, or some version of it, had an opportunity to relate it to their brands. But these brands were using the colour long before 2020. They didn’t jump on the bandwagon and follow the trend. Nor did we find others who had.
Think about it. Would you still feel the same about trusting Visa with your credit information, or buying a truck from GM if their logo colour was Pantone Colour of the Year 2019 – Living Coral?
Classic blue would make a perfect choice for many brands to hang their hat on – but not because it’s the Pantone Colour of the Year. Trends are short-lived and trendy colours are great for short-lived applications.
Blazing blue skies, brilliant sunshine and sweltering heat. It’s the height of summer, so our thoughts must be turned toward – ice melter?
Crazy, right? But par for the course for those of us in the branding and marketing business. We start thinking retail Christmas in July to have the packaging, point of sale and promotions ready to roll out in-store when fall turns the corner; digital and print campaigns and strategies planned well before that. In the case of some of our manufacturing and distribution clients, the balmy months of June through August have been all about ice melter.
At Ink Tank, we’ve been developing brand-name and private label ice melter packaging for over 30 years. That’s also just about the number of different ice melter brands we’ve created, along with multiple SKUs and all the sales and marketing tools to support them. Ice melter isn’t something most people think about – except for the mad dash to Canadian Tire following the first snowfall or ice storm. But it’s there on the shelf when you need it – safety and liability insurance in a bag. In the case of commercial customers, its an automatic line item in their budgets.
So here we are, once again, feeling the cold when it’s hot outside. This summer, we’ve been redesigning some of our landmark brands. After years of healthy shelf life and sell-through, they were ready for a brand refresh. Current strategies, a new look and new private-label customers also called for additional SKUs and sizes, developing advertising to promote new green accreditation and producing exciting new sales tools for agencies and distributors across North America. The sales season starts in two weeks. Our client is ready!
It’s been fun, as always, but we’re happy to temporarily get out of the cold and enjoy the last throes of summer.
Next to your actual sales force – and your undeniable powers of persuasion – websites, corporate brochures, sales materials and identity kits should be among your hardest-working marketing tools.
To ensure you’re maximizing the power of these marketing tools, we’ve put together a checklist of attributes that every self-respecting corporate identity package should include.
1. Synergy With Your Company’s Overall Image This synergy is key to building awareness of your brand. Everything should look and feel like everything else – because that’s what makes you look professional. That’s not to say everything should be identical, but it does need to be identifiable.
2. A Strong Selling Proposition Without it, you might as well write your communications materials in Latin or some other dead language.
3. An Appealing Look & Positive Feel… That’s both ‘in character’ and engaging to read. People read things that are verbally and visually appealing and interesting. Anything else, they tend to ignore – and why not?
4. Consistent Narrative Logic Flow From Top To Bottom Bad grammar and poor storytelling are rampant in communications these days. They make your brand look like a not-so-bright, not-so-organized, and therefore a not-so-trustworthy company.
5. Obvious Corporate Identification It’s all the rage in the design world to play down logos and taglines. But that’s how most readers end up missing them and missing the connection.
6. First Person Focus When you talk ‘to’ your prospects as opposed to ‘at’ them, chances are they’ll pay greater attention to what you have to say. And talking about your company in the third person is just plain weird.
7. Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity… In the use of supporting language and graphics. Remember, you know more about your business than your audiences. Showing respect for what they don’t know will always be rewarded.
8. A Definite Selling Attitude Throughout If your communication isn’t selling your company, it’s unselling your company.
9. Testimonial & Case Study Support Your satisfied customers are, bar none, your best salespersons. Anything that quantifies results is going to be more meaningful to your readers than abstract notions or platitudes. You’ll be surprised how powerful these underused selling techniques can be.
10. Concrete Reasons Why The Prospect Should Be Doing Business With You
Too many companies fill their communications with reasons why they are so great, but seldom turn it around and give their prospects a real sense of what’s in it for them.
If you find your marketing tools to be lacking in any of these areas, contact us ASAP. We can help you rectify that situation quickly and cost effectively, to help get your brand break through and your marketing materials back on track.
The Ink Tank is a full-service boutique agency located in Toronto. We offer a wide range of business-building communication services from strategy to concept, execution, production and evaluation. You get senior-level only participation and highly competitive rates. We work in all on and offline media, and pride ourselves on being able to hit the ground running – getting it right the first time around.