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Tag: branding

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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How This Personal Training Business is Thriving Beyond COVID-19

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.

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.

Summer Swelters So We’re Doing — Ice Melters?

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.

Swish Ice Rid ad

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.

False Starts V. Failure

False starts are common in the world of sports. You know, when competitors are so anxious to get to the finish line that they jump the gun and set out before getting the signal that they’re good to go. When they do, the race has to be re-started all over again. More than once, and they often find themselves out of the race altogether.

False starts are even more common in everyday life – for much the same reason. They happen in small ways, like forgetting our phones, keys and documents as we rush out the door. They happen all the time with fitness goals (especially this time of year). They happen with jobs and careers – sometimes it takes several to land in our ‘happy place’. They happen with companies trying to launch or expand too soon often resulting in spectacular brand and financial disasters. And they happen when brands, and people, lose sight of who they really are.

False starts have the same motivators…

No matter how large, small, or frequent our false starts; whether they’re personal or business; they come from the same starting points. We rush. We become so focused on the finish line that we often don’t think things through or research enough, are blinded or boggled by the hype of what everyone else is doing and fear of being left behind or found wanting. We ignore or underestimate risks. We overestimate our skills, resources and abilities. We focus on the future and take our eye off the present.

…and the same effects.

Business or personal, false starts have pretty much the same effects as well. Stress and frustration increases, Productivity decreases, finances often stall or take a beating, and motivation suffers. We’re back at square one with our day, our career, our growth plans, and our dreams. Or are we?

False starts v. failure

Failure is one of those words that should be eradicated from the dictionary. It’s negative. It’s defeating. It’s final… the whole concept is just wrong.

False starts, on the other hand, should be opportunities – steps on the learning curve of life and business. We can choose to see them as self-defeating, or as growing pains that help us learn more about ourselves, what we want and don’t want, and what works for us – or not. Trial and error is the stuff progress is made of – it keeps us true to our brands, and to ourselves.

Find the finish line.

Even when you learn from them, too many false starts can be defeating. Whether you’re trying to lose a few inches, keep up with your kids, colleagues or competition, running your first marathon, or launching a new product, service or business, my advice is this:

• Learn from your experiences
• Look for the positive
• Do your research – find the people that know their stuff, care about what you care
about, and care about you
• Filter the hype
• Take the time to do it right and sustain what you achieve
• Realize that faster isn’t always better

And trust that, with the right help, you’ll cross the finish line – ready to tackle the next challenge.

Want help turning false starts into forging ahead? Let’s talk.

Why Brand Storytelling Is No Fairytale

One of the things I like most about helping clients to truly understand and engage with their brands is reaching down together for their brand stories.

That conversation often initially elicits what effectively sounds like a resume: “I spent so many years at this company or that company, gained a lot of experience, bought or sold, and here we are.” Or, “We made this product and, as the market changed, it led to that.” These may well be how the business came to be in its current form, but it’s not the story anyone cares to hear.

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