More power to your palette – getting tone right in your marketing messages

More power to your palette – getting tone right in your marketing messages

My local shopping strip has recently mounted a campaign to get us all to shop locally. It’s interesting how the campaign organisers have presented variations on the same message.

  • You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local, and that’s kind of the same thing;
  • “Keep calm and buy local!”; and
  • Did you know if you spend $100 at a local business instead of at a chain store that would put an extra $3 million into our local economy? It would also create thousands of jobs every year.

Some of the local retailers have also entered into the spirit, displaying signs that say “Local is the new black”, or “Shopping at Chadstone is so last-season”. [Chadstone is Melbourne’s big Westfield shopping centre and noted for its fashion store offerings.]

This is the power of palette, where you express the same message in different ways to appeal to different members of your audience. Multiple palettes create interest, energy and traction for your messages.

Matt Church, the founder of Thought Leaders Global, talks about an informal palette and a formal palette as ways of ensuring your messages hit home. For example, a formal palette for a message could be: “Storytelling helps leaders lift engagement with their audience.” An informal palette could be: ‘Storytelling rocks your listener’s world!”

So much of our communication focuses squarely on just one palette and this can be frustrating for communicators, who often despair that people are just not getting it. Try to spread your message across a range of palettes and see your success rate dramatically jump. As for me, I’m off to shop locally.

Yamini Naidu is a global thought leader in storytelling and business communication. She is a director at, and was previously a director at One Thousand & One, a company she co-founded in 2004.

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