Attempts to get consumers to participate in new rituals have been falling a bit flat this season. But if inventions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday struggled to ignite interest this year, one year-end ritual has been starting more conversations and engaging a bigger audience than ever.
Pantone’s announcement last week of its 2016 Color of the Year has been hard to miss, with broad coverage across professional and consumer media. Awareness of the Pantone brand is at an all-time high, and is surely a big factor in the colour company’s ability to reach out to an ever-wider audience of trend creators and consumers. But the intense interest around this year’s announcement is also the result of a well orchestrated, multi-pronged campaign involving communication, content and collaborations.
The biggest difference was, of course, pre-programmed: Pantone’s decision to name a blend of two shades instead of a single colour was always sure to be a talking point. With added possibilities for visual styling and even a topical sociopolitical context (gender), #RoseQuartz and #Serenity succeeded at reaching far further and saying much more than #Marsala in 2014.
In the days following the announcement, every voice on style immediately felt challenged to put forward its own take on the style year ahead. Style blogs, sites and shop windows were fast to cleverly combine an on-trend message with the seasonal urge for gift-giving, providing Pantone with a much bigger platform in the process.
But bringing its colour choices to life wasn’t just left to editorial chance: Pantone itself sowed very important seeds with special installations like an Instagram gallery, live street art at Miami Beach, limited edition products and product collaborations with the likes of Getty Images, Thomas Pink and long-time partners, Sephora.
Pantone’s activation across multiple platforms, its easy-to-use content and, in particular the ready availability of actual for-purchase products makes it a particularly effective example of how a B2B brand can put itself at the centre of conversations and purchaser intent.
After a few years where Pantone lifestyle extensions like mugs and scented candles have become a bit of a cliché, it’s gratifying to see a brand capitalize on the consumer notoriety it has earned and doing something that directly supports its core business purpose.
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