The Business of Evolving

The following is a guest post by Jenn Berry, senior vice president & creative director at Borshoff, an Indianapolis-based advertising and public relations agency.

Darwin’s finches were the epitome of his evolutionary theory. Why did one group have pointed beaks while their relatives on another island had rounded beaks? Because they needed to. Their bodies evolved to match the types of food available. Rounded beaks would have equaled starvation.

Adaptation is just as do-or-die in the business world as it is for the little finches. If you’re not moving forward, you’re becoming extinct. If you want to remain relevant, you must always have your eye on what’s next.

Speaking of eyes … I am a bit of a makeup fanatic. So, about a year ago as I was strolling through Sephora (for all you fellas, that’s a high-end cosmetic store), I stumbled upon the PANTONE® “Color of the Year” makeup line. While I didn’t rush to buy the PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango eye shadow – the palette was stunning, just not for me – I have to say I was impressed.

For nearly two decades PANTONE had been a brand that I interacted with daily in my profession as a designer, and here they were in a retail setting! It made perfect sense. And just recently I received a mailer inviting me to come into a store and try out the PANTONE Color IQ® to find my perfect shade of foundation. I think that’s brilliant! I mean, really, do you know how hard it is for a girl to find the right color of foundation?

I couldn’t stop thinking about what a smart move this was. PANTONE had ventured beyond the commercial printing industry to create a makeup line of false lashes, nail lacquers and high-pigment lip glosses. It has even launched a new line of house paint.

When digital devastated the printing industry, PANTONE evolved. Not only did it expand its customer base, it became a bigger and better brand—all while maintaining its reign as the world-renowned authority on color.

Change is inevitable, and how we respond to it is completely within our control. Companies and people who keep doing things the way they always have become stuck and eventually fade away. It’s sad, but true.

So how do we stay relevant? We have to constantly reinvent ourselves. Change our beaks. And being proactive about it means we take control of our future. Whether a little finch or a big company such as PANTONE, the ability to change is one of the greatest qualities of successful beings and successful businesses.