What IS The Color Of That Dress?

This week an oddly styled dress took Tumblr by storm. If you haven’t heard about it yet, set the rock aside, and read up a little about it here, here and here. Yes, my wife and I got caught in this too. I saw it, and said to myself, “Yup…this is STUPID. That dress is white and gold.” I handed it over to my wife, on my phone that I had just looked at it on. I asked what color she thought it was and she replied that it was blue and black…well periwinkle and black anyway.

I was dumbfounded, thinking she must be playing a joke on me. So I asked my 7 year old son as well, and he saw it the way she saw it. I’m encouraged the way I saw it was the way over 70% of others saw it as well (at least according to one poll conducted through Twitter).

So what’s the point of me writing about it here? No, I don’t care whether you saw it blue and black or white and gold. Rather, as I was experiencing this, it made me think of the impacts this may be having on the designer of that dress and what we can pull out of this build our business. Here are a few quick things I took from this experience.

How Clear Is Your Message?

One thing that became very evident with this phenomenon was that the message wasn’t clear. Blame it on the quality of the picture taken, or the lighting or whatever excuse you want to blame…but 70% of the people who saw it online got the color wrong. That’s a real challenge if you want to sell something. If 70% of your audience can’t understand what you’re selling, then they won’t buy from you…or won’t be satisfied, which is as equally big of a problem.

How Much Control Do You Have Over Your Message?

Another component of this phenomenon was that it became clear the company had little control over the message. Some people think this is something to be fearful of because of the possible implications. However, in today’s digital age, the idea of any control over your message is a fallacy. This makes the clarity of your message even more important.

How Engaged Are You With Your Market?

The other thing I cringe at with this kind of phenomenon is how engaged companies are, or not, with their market. This made news around the globe, and most certainly was viral across social media. Yet in none of the reports or stories I read was there anything from the dress’s designer. Now, it’s possible I missed it, but the point is I have seen things like this where brands are on the back-end of something like this, trying to make their message more clear or harness what has become huge…rather than being on the front end and riding the wave.

This was incredible to watch. Be sure you take the time to ensure your message are clear so you don’t feel the need to try to control them, and then listen to your audience closely and engage when they talk about you, your products, or your services.