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Color Decoded


If someone asked you “What’s the first thing you think of when you see the color red?”, chances are you’d name some pretty trivial objects: stop signs, fire trucks and apples. But the possibility is just as strong that you’d name some major brands as well: McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Virgin.

The fact is color is a trigger for our brains. Not only is it the first thing we process (even before words and symbols), but color can also increase comprehension by 73%.*

For marketers, this knowledge has a profound impact. Think back to the question about color. If you were now asked to say what you think of when you see the color purple, you might think of Cadbury or Yahoo! Green, maybe you’d say Sprite or Irish Spring. Color is what makes a brand memorable. In fact, color can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.* 

Perhaps even more important is that color can influence a person’s decision to buy a product by up to 85%.** Color has the power to refresh or completely reinvent a brand, especially through attention to current trends and preferences. Just as fashion trends move through cycles, color preferences change in cycles. Experts from around the globe meet every year to determine how these cycles are affected by cultural and demographic factors.** By understanding this, you can maximize the impact your product has on your target audience at shelf. Here's how:

Differentiate from the competition. Brands become iconic when they own a color – Tiffany’s signature blue (Pantone 1837) is so distinct that it even has its own Wikipedia page. Owning a color is a sharp way to disrupt the category norm and differentiate from your competitors.

Create a buzz at shelf. In a sea of similar pastel-shade products, make your product stand out with brightly colored hues. Combining aesthetic beauty with the functionality of a product grabs the consumer’s attention.

Contemporize your identity and bring relevance. These days, everyone is talking about how to effectively market to Millennials and Generation Z. Countless blog posts list the “top 5 strategies you should adopt” – but what if the answer is as simple as choosing the right color? Create a culturally cool brand by identifying current trends among 12-18 year olds.

Create fascination and desire for your product. Ultimately, the goal is to attract consumers to buy your product. What better way to pique the consumer’s curiosity than with flirtatious, eye-catching colors?

Using color as a tool, you can draw attention to your brand by differentiating; creating a buzz; increasing relevancy and creating desire for your product.

That is the power of color!


*Morton, J. (2010). Why Color Matters. Retrieved from http://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters

**Schlotter, D. (2015, May). The Art of Color Forecasting: An Inside Look at Selecting Global Color Trends. Coatings World. Retrieved from http://www.coatingsworld.com/issues/2015-05-01/view_features/the-art-of-color-forecasting-an-inside-look-at-selecting-global-color-trends