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A Pantone Colour With Real Flavour

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.

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Our SEO Rant

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.

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A Study in Blue – And Pantone Classic Blue

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.

So at this halfway point, let’s look at one of those trends – Pantone Colour of the Year – and look at how Pantone Classic Blue has been put to use.

Pantone Classic Blue
©FamilyHandyman, ©MavalaUK, ©TEALEAVES ©GlobeBrand

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.

As a brander, marketer and designer, I’ll stick to the psychology and science.

Top 10 Elements Most Often Lacking in a Company’s Marketing Tools

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.

Metrics and Measurement for Success

To quote recognized management expert Peter Drucker, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” As marketers and brand leaders, metrics and measurement can be one of our most challenging responsibilities, and here at Ink Tank®, it’s one of the most critical things we do.

Metrics do not relate to a single point in time but are vital throughout the life of your project, initiative and brand. Here are three things to ensure your effort is on track for measurable success:

1). Think first. Ensure you understand how you’ll measure success before you implement any strategy or tactic.

2). Stay on top. Measure ongoing elements during the implementation phase so you can pivot and adapt quickly. Be ready to learn and adjust your actions in real-time. We live in an agile world: your activities and actions need to reflect that and be responsive.

3). Reflect after. Do a deep dive and honest post-mortem following the completion of a project launch or initiative. Learn what you can and learn from your mistakes. Future activities and focus can always be better.

Useful measurement requires a clear sense of available metrics, the knowledge to understand them, and the skills to make effective use of the insight you have gained. Look at the whole picture: a comprehensive examination, not just one tactical metric. For example, examining click-through rates from an online advertising campaign is valuable, but doesn’t tell the whole story. Did your click-throughs translate to conversions? Did your click-throughs help increase brand recognition? Are your customers aligned with the value and action that you provided through your campaign? Collect each metric and view it as part of the broader picture. Impressions and reach may not mean much if they don’t translate to growing your business.

There’s no one-size-fits-all for metrics, but all marketers need to measure. And all marketing initiatives need metrics!

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Over 30 years, I’ve seen and heard horror stories from clients of completed projects that were utter failures – good money wasted on disappointing results. Whether these were product launches, updated branding or marketing campaigns, these types of failures are unnecessary and happen way too often. Ensuring success ultimately comes down to taking the right first step: asking the right questions in the right way at the right time from the right person.

Sounds simple, right? Well, it can be if you know what to hone in on and understand your drive, your goal, and your target. Are you making decisions based on gut? On something you read? Or are you making decisions based on the right information and context?

Here are three right questions you need to ask – and understand – before you move forward on any new initiative:

1). What makes you different and unique? Take an honest assessment of who your organization is and what truly differentiates you. Ask your target audiences, staff and clients, and assess those views against your internal insights.

2). Who are your audiences? You need to understand whom you’re targeting, what they think and care about to understand their needs, your value to them and how to communicate that effectively. Focus on your audiences and ensure that they are at the centre of all of your questions and decisions.

3). Where and how do you fit? Is now the right time? There are many questions to answer as you examine your internal and external factors of success. You need to not only assess your internal culture and foundation and prepare for external competition and marketplace readiness. Are you set up to deliver on your vision, purpose and promise? No? Now is the time to pivot to create real differentiation.

At Ink Tank®, we work side-by-side with our clients along every step of the way. We ask the tough right questions, which are essential to helping you get to the right answer. Once we both have those answers, we help you determine the best solutions and the most effective execution for your budget.

The Ink Tank® team provides end-to-end brand solutions, from strategy through creative. We th[ink] and act differently. We breakthrough brand clutter, misconceptions, old ideas, and ineffective creative. And we can help you to do the same. If you need help asking or answering the right questions, contact us, and we’d be glad to share our expertise.

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