I talk a lot about the importance of centering a brand’s color and creative strategy on the values it shares with its consumers. Why all the air time on this point?
Today’s consumers are hyper-focused on who a brand is, its integrity, its commitment to being a force for good. Yes, price and product features are absolutely still important purchasing factors. But, nowadays - and especially as we look towards the years ahead - the values a brand holds and honors are what consumers base their trust, admiration, and loyalty on. Consumers expect brands to be forthright, to use their platform to make progress on social and environmental issues, and to operate with thoughtfulness and sincerity.
To maintain relevancy and respect, your brand must be purpose-driven not product-driven. Have the courage to be real, fallible, and vulnerable. Be upfront about your aspirations, your blind spots, and how you are changing and learning. Do not do lip service or jump on a popular bandwagon that is not authentic to you. Superficial fluff is your kryptonite. Consumers are discerning, vocal, and alert. They see through disingenuous behavior and statements, and they see it as betrayal.
People are looking to brands that offer hope and solutions, that provide a welcoming space to belong, that empower and include, and that lead with decisiveness and warmth. All this in addition to creating a well-designed, well-loved, priced-right product or service. It is a tall order, indeed. But, your results do not need to be perfect to benefit or to win dedicated consumers. It’s your intention and commitment that need to be 100%.
I think the most helpful way to succeed at this is to humanize your brand. Think of your brand as a living, breathing entity. Give it a personality and a strong acumen, allow it the grace to have imperfections, and for goodness sakes, make sure it has a soul. Approach your relationships with your consumers the way that we as people approach relationships with each other - with honesty, openness, and pleasure. Create thriving spaces and opportunities for conversations, experiences, and sharing. Be invested in understanding who is interacting with your brand, why, and the potential that you have together. Here are some questions to get you started:
Questions to ask of your brand:
* What do we stand for?
* What actions do we consistently take that support and amplify what we stand for?
* What contribution(s) will we make to positively impact and improve our consumers’ lives and greater community?
* How does our internal culture reinforce and promote our values?
* What is unique about our brand’s voice? How will we use this distinction to create a credible, flourishing brand/consumer space?
* How will we repair misunderstandings with customers, both at the individual and collective levels?
Being truthful and accountable in your answers, in how you run your business, in how your brand shows up in the world, is essential. Define what matters to you. Know what matters to your community, to your customers. Relish the hell out of this. Lead from this space.
On another note…
I recently started a business-specific Instagram account, @dawnrae_colors, focused on sharing regular, bite-size nuggets about color and creativity. Follow along if you would like!
I love what I do and how it combines multiple things that excite and fascinate me: art, pattern recognition, math, human behavior, emotional landscapes, curiosity, science. With @dawnrae_colors, I wanted to create a space to talk about and explore insights, images, and inspiration related to color and trend strategy, design, palette creation, and merchandising.
On it, I’ll also be sharing what I’m calling “Mini Palettes from Daily Life” - a snapshot of colors from a passing moment in a day. Here is a recent one: