The cat is out of the bag and, with much anticipation, Pantone has announced its Color of the Year for 2020: Classic Blue. This bold yet traditional hue is one that we can expect to see splashed across event magazines, Pinterest boards, styled shoots and more.
Yet, as we plan ahead for our events this year, it’s important to consider the best strategies to play with Classic Blue. After all, how often did Living Coral (Color of the Year in 2019) or Ultra Violet (Color of the Year in 2018) show up in your events in years past?
The truth of the matter is that clients don’t typically care about the Pantone Color of the Year. The events you have slated for 2020 are already in the works and your clients likely already have a color scheme in mind--no special announcement is going to change their minds.
“There is typically a lot of buzz around the Pantone Color of the Year, but it never really affects actual wedding designs,” asserts Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events. “My couples are more interested in what makes sense for their wedding given their aesthetic and personal style, which rarely--if ever--coincides with the Pantone Color of the Year.”
That’s not to say that we can’t embrace Classic Blue in other ways; in fact, the Pantone Color of the Year can fuel powerfully effective marketing tactics year after year since we get to welcome a new shade annually.
“Who does care about the Pantone Color of the Year are the designers,” Chang explains. “Designers who have a trendy aesthetic care a lot and will try to create designs that showcase these trendy colors. Classic Blue won't rock the wedding industry as this color is something found pretty easily and regularly already, but it’s very approachable and easy to use.”
Here are a few ways to greet the Pantone Color of the Year and make Classic Blue your own:
1. Promote your expertise.
Regardless of the colors, trends, and styles that your clients want, they appreciate knowing that you’re up to date on the latest event designs buzzing around the industry. So, while Classic Blue may not be their choice, you become a far more reliable resource if they know you’re on top of industry news and trends.
“Our website is looked at as a resource for couples planning their wedding, so it’s important for us to be able to provide inspiration on how to use the Pantone Color of the Year in their event,” says Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map.
When it comes to the opinion of your clients, this hue in particular is great for those that may be looking to go outside of the box, but perhaps still want to play it relatively safe. “I personally prefer this color for men’s suits and tuxedos and bridesmaid dresses--even over black--as it is so flattering on everyone,” notes Tracie Domino of Tracie Domino Events.
This striking shade is particularly great in the way of florals, as many florists and designers will have ample opportunity to show off their creativity for both present and future clients. Joan Wyndrum of Blooms By The Box says the variety of pairings is endless. “Thistle, like most blue flowers, pairs flawlessly with the grayish-green of eucalyptus, and it really ties everything in nicely. Looking ahead, a beautiful color palette of classic blue delphinium, coral roses, peach ranunculus, blush peonies, and soft greenery makes for a beautiful spring or summer wedding.”
According to Kelley Nudo, client manager of Momental Designs, this has the potential to open up new doors in your niche to achieve that ideal, chic look most couples are after. “As stationers, we are thrilled to know that Classic Blue will be something that stakes its claim in the wedding industry for 2020. We are often called on to illustrate landscapes for our clients, where blue has a strong presence in skies and water, so it is exciting to think that Classic Blue will be more sought after.”
Use your website, social media and office space (for in-person meetings) to showcase Classic Blue in fresh and innovative ways to exemplify versatility and creativity.
2. Create custom content.
Content marketing has long been an excellent way to target prospective clients and now is the perfect time to create posts that speak to the Pantone Color of the Year and how to incorporate Classic Blue into different design schemes and color palettes.
“For my business, the Pantone Color of the Year is a seasonal topic like seasons themselves or holidays,” Chang explains. “It comes and then goes quite quickly, but can be used for interesting timely content in the form of blog posts or as the start of an inspiration for a design that may have nothing to do with the color. I enjoy using the Color of the Year as a topic of discussion about color or a kicking-off point to an idea that’s even better.”
On a related note, use this as an opportunity to highlight a fresh take on something traditional. According to Maddie Kane of Destination Weddings Travel Group, “It’s also a great tone to use as a client’s ‘something blue’--nail polish, shoes, embroidery, engagement rings, you name it. We think Classic Blue will be written all over it!”
The idea is to present yourself as an authority on all things trendy and, when all the buzz is about the Pantone Color of the Year, you need to be in the middle of the conversation.
3. Put it into action.
If you’re going to talk the talk, you should be prepared to walk the walk as well. Styled shoots are a direct and effective way to curate your own imagery that incorporates the Pantone Color of the Year. The important thing, however, is ensuring that you can create this content when the announcement is still fresh and relevant.
“Plan a styled shoot for December or early January each year with a set theme and vendor partners, then wait until the color is announced to finalize that part of the photo shoot,” Tarrant recommends. “You can always design the theme and then work the color into the decor. Make sure the turnaround time is fast and get the photos blogged and shared as quickly as possible to get maximum traction on the post.”
Getting this content out around the start of the year is critical, as people will have moved on from the topic if your styled shoot isn’t published until June. Careful planning can simplify this process and have you ready to go once the announcement is made.
4. Consider how the announcement affects your 2020 calendar.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider how you can fit it into your client weddings if they’re truly looking to stay on trend. You’ll need to stretch your creative muscles with how you envision this new color statement to make an appearance. According to Jennifer Charles of Something Fabulous: “This hue is going to be a great addition to weddings and events as the shade is easily paired with so many different colors, which is different than past Pantone selections like Living Coral and Ultra Violet.”
Kylie Carlson of The Wedding Academy advises, “There are so many ways to showcase this--whether as a stand-alone shade to stick with a classic aesthetic, or by pairing it with something more modern as a pop of unexpected color. We’ll see Classic Blue really shine in even the most subtle details, such as florals, table runners, centerpieces, food and beverage presentations, and more.
Morgan Montgomery of Paisley & Jade adds, “In rentals, I think we'll be seeing a lot of this blue in upholstery for lounge areas, and it will make a really great backdrop as a ‘wow’ factor with pillows and accent pieces. I would love to see this tone become the new signage color of choice at weddings--think chalkboards with gorgeous hand-lettering or vinyl designs!”
5. Ready, set, go.
Now, it’s your turn to start planning. How will you use Classic Blue to your advantage this year? Get creative with your strategies surrounding the Pantone Color of the Year and keep a careful watch on what works with your target audience and what doesn’t work. After all, your most effective tactics can be replicated annually when the new color is announced, so consider this an ongoing strategy to promote your reputation as an expert trendsetter.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.