“Color is ubiquitous and is a source of information. Researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product,” – HelpScout.net
Colors pervade the physical world we perceive through our eyes. Primary colors and many derivative shades permeate every aspect of our common existence. Brands and businesses depend on color to create a distinct brand identity. Market research and studies in human psychology indicate that human brains invest a lot of faith and trust in brand logos depicted in their original colors. Modern marketers are aware of color theory, which states that customers relate to a brand at an emotional level. This indicates that color is important in branding strategies. We will examine this premise in greater detail below.
Brands and brand identities are constructed to project a certain brand image. This image stays with the brand as long as said brand remains a commercial entity and continues to operate in open markets. Customers that relate to the brand image are likely to remain faithful to the brand. Therefore, brands invest significant resources to determine the color that is fundamental to its desired brand image. For instance, a motor cycle maker that manufactures and markets rugged driving machines may appeal to a certain market segment. The said segment may prefer machines that project a rugged image and promote a rugged lifestyle; therefore, the brand responds by choosing colors such as black and dark metallic colors. This demand-response approach underlines the fact that color is important in branding a product.
Conversely, another two-wheeler manufacturer may choose to endow its products with diverse color palettes. The target market may comprise teenagers and college students that identify with vibrant colors. In response, said manufacturer may launch products clad in multiple colors that appeal to the target segment of customers. Therefore, we may state that color remains centrally important in branding exercises.
Brand colors confer a competitive advantage in modern markets. Enterprises are aware of this fact and may choose to project a particular shade of a primary color in brand building campaigns. For instance, a super market brand can choose to compete with larger rivals on the basis of color. The said brand can choose to manifest itself in a certain shade of red in a bid to stand apart from its rivals that sport other primary colors. This divergence in branding enables said super market to establish its brand niche and attract customers. It also underlines the fact that color is critically important in branding mechanisms.
Corporate branding exercises often masquerade as advertisements in print, electronic, and online media. Many businesses sponsor such campaigns in a bid to refresh public memory and to mark an outstanding brand presence. For instance, a budget airline can elect to promote its branding in the public domain by colouring its jets in brand colors. This high-visibility tactic has proven hugely successful because color is important in branding and customers have identified the airline with its brand colors. Consequently, the combination of the branding and the color have been vividly etched in the public imagination. The said budget airline attracted enormous customer goodwill and expanded its profits significantly.
Brands that manufacture and market heavy machinery and allied equipment must choose brand colors carefully. We note that the primary color yellow is a high visibility hue and therefore, is suitable for such brands. For instance, an earthmover and heavy equipment manufacturer can choose black and yellow to design its logo. The use of these colors imparts high visibility to the brand. In addition, yellow can be used to color the earthmovers and excavators manufactured by said firm. The high visibility of such vehicles is important in ensuring public safety. These facts indicate that among the factors important in branding, color retains a certain primacy.
Colors define the values at the core of a brand identity. We note that the color red incites appetites in the animal world. Therefore, quick service restaurants and certain carbonated beverage brands primarily use red in their logos and merchandise. Children and young adults represent market segments that react favourably to brands constructed in red. In addition, red represents power, excitement, and passion. The deep effect of the color on the human psyche has enabled such businesses to gather enormous market following and to generate consistent profits over decades. This pervasive use of the color in defining a brand identity underlines the fact that color is important in branding.
Elite fashion labels are designed in black in a bid to promote status and understatement. Grey and black convey traditional values and style and lend themselves well to luxury goods and services. These colors are important in branding for reputed fashion houses because they reflect modernity and sophistication. Similarly, the automobile industry uses black to project a power statement and to attract customers. App-based cab aggregators have deployed black to promote luxury cab services for discerning customers. Therefore, we state that the widespread use of black in constructing a brand identity stems from the fact that black is a high visibility color that stands out in sharp contrast and immediately attracts attention.
Television channels that broadcast content for young children often favour the use of orange. We note that said color represents optimism and playfulness. The branded logo of said channels is created entirely out of orange in a bid to attract young consumers. Similarly, reputed sports footwear manufacturers use orange liberally in their packaging boxes in a bid to spotlight the warmth of said color. In addition, multiple products are available in the market that use orange as a base color. These are essentially branding exercises that reflect the fact that color is important in branding in the context of promoting consumer goods and services.
Earthy colors such as brown are generally associated with an image of ruggedness. We note that this fact has encouraged manufacturers of outdoor products to use brown in their logos and marketing materials. For instance, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing and shoe products may use brown prominently in its logo. This color meshes well with its brand image and spotlights the fact that color is centrally important in branding exercises. However, we note that brown can be deployed in combination with other dark colors in an attempt to achieve the desired effect in the public domain.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the centrality of color in branding exercises. We note that brands and businesses use color to influence public perception and to mould a brand image in the desired direction. Experimentation with brand colors has proved ruinous in the past because it confuses customers and raises the spectre of commercial fakery. Therefore, we may state that brands and businesses have limited scope of such experimentation. That said, it is interesting to note that modern brands have created sub-brands in a bid to cater to diverse customer segments. Sub-brands enable businesses to create new logos and experiment with shapes and colors. However, the outcomes of such actions cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. Therefore, commercial operators are advised to adhere to the ‘straight and narrow’ in terms of creating, developing, patenting, and sustaining a singular brand image.