Colorful Marketing Opportunities —Sherburne
In February, I talked a bit about how print service providers could use their color expertise as a marketing tool. Although I am not a color expert or a graphic designer, I do love the way colors work with each (or, hate it when they don’t). In my spare time, when I am not writing columns for Printing Impressions, I am also a fiber artist, weaving, spinning and doing needlework. So, because of my dual interest in the craft of printing and the craft of fiber arts, I like to keep my eye on the latest color trends.
You would think that with all of the colors we have available to us in the wide range of PANTONE color guides, we could meet just about any color need. But, according to Pantone Vice President of Marketing Doris Brown, there are many designers who feel differently. She says, “We had a product called “VIEW Home 2007,” which forecasts color for interior design and was made up of textile and print sample swatches and visual keys covering different trendy new palettes. We thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to deliver something like this to the printing community to give them new colors aligned with the trends we are seeing in home and fashion?’ So, we identified 56 colors out of the trend book and palettized them into eight palettes, each with seven colors, and called it ‘Color Inspiration/2007.’ ”
Trendy, New PMS Colors
According to Brown, these 56 new colors are not found in the traditional PMS system; they are all brand-new colors with mixed ink formulations that allow you to accurately derive each of the colors. This is the first time since 2001 that Pantone has introduced new colors into its system, and only the fourth time in its history.
These colors are very cool, and apparently designers have been thrilled with them, so it is likely that you will start seeing them turn up in work brought into your shop. Putting on your proactive marketing hat, though, why not think about how you can take your “color marketing” to a new level with your designer, in-house marketing and agency customers?
Bone up on the new color trends that Pantone is documenting, and put together a customer seminar. There are lots of resources available on the Website (www.Pantone.com), and each new palette is prefaced with descriptive text that will help you in explaining it to your customers. Maybe you can even secure a speaker from Pantone to help you with a seminar.
And, it looks like more new, trendy colors will be coming because Pantone already has its “VIEW Home 2008” offering on its Website.
Holding educational seminars for your customers is a terrific way to market yourself, whether the topic is color, or it is another topic that shows off your company’s expertise. For larger customers, you can even take these seminars on-site. If you add a free lunch to the mix, you will probably get an even better turnout. Or an evening seminar could be held in a fun venue, combined with a little food and drink. It is a great way to interact with your clients on a different level, enhancing both your relationship with them and their perception of you as a thought leader.
If you choose to do a seminar on the new PANTONE colors, perhaps you could partner with a designer or two to develop some pieces that use these new colors. During the session, the designers can discuss the designs and why the colors were exciting to them. Or you could sponsor a contest. Designers love the opportunity to get their work out there, and to add to their portfolios in new and creative ways. What better way than using the newest, trendiest colors? Then, your event can include recognition of the contest winners. And, maybe you can get some new, trendy promotional materials for your business out of this contest or, at a minimum, some good PR.
Nevada City, CA-based LectraMedia used this approach to generate interest in, and awareness about, the value of variable data printing among its clients. Partnering with local marketing associations, the company has run variable data design contests for the past two years, with a substantial cash prize for the most creative entry with the highest business value. Not only did they host an educational event where they recognized the winners, they also invited the industry trade press and local business press to the event, garnering both local and national coverage for the program.
Creative and Colorful
Investing in keeping your color expertise up to date is an important element of marketing your business. I hope you will take the opportunity to look at the new colors, and see how you might leverage them with your customers. I would love to hear about any creative approaches you come up with, and the results that they deliver.
Speaking of which, Pantone is sponsoring a contest that, perhaps, you can participate in.
“There are a lot of YouTube videos about Pantone, and we thought it would be fun to use that medium to show how people dispose of their old PANTONE guides,” adds Brown. “We have seen them used as table leg props, projector stand elevators and some really funny things, as well.”
So, Pantone invited customers to create fun videos of how they dispose of the old guides and then post them on YouTube. Finalists will get a 35 percent discount off of new PANTONE guides and have the chance to win some cool prizes.
If you don’t want to participate, at least, go check out YouTube, especially if you haven’t been there before. Talk about a new marketing medium—you might be surprised to see who is there. Search on Kodak, for example...
Tune in to a future column for more discussion about how to harness the power of new media like YouTube in your own marketing efforts. PI
About the Author
Cary Sherburne is a well-known journalist, author and strategic marketing consultant working primarily with the printing and publishing industry. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, a regular contributor to industry publications and has written three books, available for purchase through the National Association for Printing Leadership (www.napl.org). Sherburne can be reached at Cary@ SherburneAssociates.com.