Getting Closer at Colour

‘Getting Closer’ at Colour


A run through the ‘news’ page on Colour’s website ( will quickly reveal a business playing full out and succeeding in the advertising world. They are a co-creative company with a conscience.

I am interested in the intention Colour, and in particular, President, Chris Keevill, brings to his employees, his clients and his community. Is this a business manifesting some form of spirituality in the workplace?

It didn’t take long for me to answer in the affirmative. Chris is a genuine human being. He is able and willing to share his experience. He listens with care and curiosity, and responds thoughtfully. He is generous with his time and energy. I immediately felt comfortable in his presence

I think what I experienced first hand, is the approach Colour uses with their clients. They call it, ‘getting closer’. This approach requires one person to be fully present to another. There are many kinds of distractions competing for our attention all the time. The ‘getting closer’ approach requires that one skillfully filter distractions by consciously setting a priority in one’s mind and heart to be present. Not a rigid form of attention. More like a wine taster, using all their senses. Being fully present requires the heart, mind and body be all in one place, at the same time. An authentic inquiry.

How inspiring to find a business, particularly in the media, that senses the public’s need and the desire to be heard. This can only be accomplished when we slow down and take the time to listen. I don’t know if it is a factor of getting older or spending a lot of time alone. It sometimes feels like the train is going through the station and I’ve barely got my ticket. I find people are talking so fast, especially on the phone, I find it difficult to catch what they say. Miscommunication is commonplace. Many people have lost the art of listening.

Chris says, “The world is craving humanity, more kindness and less phoniness. Fortunately there is a business in helping our clients and the consumer appreciate more humanness.”

Not everyone is able to trust oneself or another to ‘get close’ and yet this is a key part of authentic communication. Communication is, after all, what advertising is all about. Colour’s philosophy is not the old standard and strategies employing shock, sex, and low-grade humour. Shouting is easy.

Colour is interested in clients who are ready for change. Clients that want to speak to the consumer’s real needs and not just their fleeting desires.

“Being successful in business, “ Chris tells me, “one must manage risk and predictability. It is challenging to offer our approach. Some are not ready for the shift at all. Others will only go a certain distance.”

Take the example of alcohol. Most people know how to enjoy a social drink without doing harm to themselves or others. The majority of the public is outraged at violence and death where abuse of alcohol is a component. Producers of ‘drink’ are not going to cease producing or advertising. Colour is interested in creating a skillful message, an endorsement for a fine product and company, while at the same time demonstrating respect for family values, the values of the majority of the public.

The cool thing, Chris explains, is that “the more in tune a business is with their customer, and their community, the greater the attraction to them as a business.” It is a win-win situation.

‘Getting closer’ is relatively easy with clients like the IWK, the United Way, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Laing House and the Children’s Wish Foundation, some of Colour’s “community” clients. They understand the value of being real. Colour has written the anthem for the United Way in Halifax, which has now been adopted by United Way campaigns across the country and as far away as South Africa.

What is the price of connection? Chris tells me a poignant story from his past. Some years ago, Chris was successful in the sale of a successful business. At the same time this sale meant that he would lose the connection to his team of colleagues and employees. He literally felt sick. He felt a deep sense of having betrayed the very people that had built the firm’s success. Many people would not share such a story. For Chris it was a wake up call. Success at the price of human connection was too high a price to pay. For Chris, who personally has the awareness of a higher power, there has to be a higher purpose. There is more to this earthly experience than what is visible and touchable. On some level that is what Colour is seeking to integrate into every ad.

Chris tells me, “In the long term, spirituality and money are inseparable, in the short term a difficult balance.”

Patricia Aburdene, who wrote Megatrends 2010, said it this way: “We know that if greed, fraud and speculation got us into the crisis of capitalism, it is going to take character, trust and spiritual leadership to get us out.”

Grace McKnight is a feng shui designer who is passionate in her ability to combine creativity and spirituality in the service of others. She is completing an MA at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. Her focus of study is spirituality in the workplace and contemplative learning techniques.


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