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I just read an interesting article in Design Week about a high end magazine (£75 per issue) that helps designers understand colour trends. Apart from the price for this high end ‘coffee table’ publication the really interesting thing is the positioning of the brand behind it.


The more interesting thing, when you realise that Pantone is as synonymous to colour as Hoover is to vacuum cleaning or Google is to website search, is that they ‘sponsor’ the publication.

This is subtle but very important to the positioning and ownership of the publication. By sponsoring rather than delivering, written by, or published by, Pantone is taking a clever and objective position that opens up perceived ownership of the magazine by the readership, the community of designers with whom they are seeking long term and loyal relationships.

This is a subtle, one-step-removed, position which means the reader gains confidence that the overt sell is unlikely and that they are being welcomed in to an objective, collaborative networking space where their ideas, opinions and voice is valued.

In many ways Pantone is acting as a curator rather than a creator. This again is subtle but positively positions the brand at the heart of its community rather than on the outside trying to sell in.

So it leaves us with the question of whether or not you have a subject that you could curate and ‘sponsor’ deep within your target audience’s community? Becoming perceived as a thought leader in such a way, positions you and your business in a sustainable and highly valuable and influential manner with those who count.

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