Human Sense: Color triggers various hormonal releases in our brains evoking physical and emotional reactions in our bodies. Color is used in marketing, branding and design to represent symbolism, cultural tradition, business ideas, pricing strategy, segmentation and emotion. The meaning of color can vary across different geographies and cultures. For instance, white symbolizes innocence and surrender in the West, but death in the East.
Colors can also have a range of meanings within the same culture. Blue may be used to define one brand as conservative and safe and another brand as fluid and customizable. Black is often used to symbolize luxury and elegance, but also used to signify mystery and discovery. Green symbolizes health, but it can also evoke cathartic feelings of renewal.
And color can drive the physical type of experience you want a consumer to have around a product. The color Pink makes us crave sugar so many desserts and pastries are sold in pink boxes or on pink plates because the mind is tricked into thinking they taste better.
Color is a strategic marketing choice that requires much thought, as it is the backdrop for the story you want to tell or the behavior you want to influence.
Certain brands today are going against tradition and strategically using color in disruptive ways to generate buzz and appeal:
(Inkling) Wedding Noir: Vera Wang, now with Senior Designer Keith Lissner on board, recently created quite a stir in the Bridal Market. During her Fall 2012 Collection, she sent stunning, show stopping black and nude bridal gowns down the runway with no whites or ivory in sight. It was a tribute to a more modern bride, one with a bit more sensuality, mystery and elegance. It is yet to be seen if brides in the U.S. will go for black on their wedding day, but Vera’s creative genius has made her brand Queen Bee of the Bridal Market this season with all the buzz generated. And bonus, if you only plan to have a “Hollywood Marriage”, these gowns are good investments as they can be used many times over beyond your wedding.
(Inkling) Rethink Pink: Traditionally, brands like Mary Kay and Victoria’s Secret have used the color Pink to symbolize femininity. Today, Pink is more linked to Breast Cancer Awareness, and the pink ribbon has become a marketing power symbol on a global level generating a lot of revenue for those brands linking with it.
One man is rethinking the meaning of Pink and making it part of his masculine brand. Karim Rashid, the infamous industrial designer, artist and interior designer has used the color pink when redesigning household items, appliances, furniture, restaurants and retail stores making everything he designs more joyful and playful for consumers. As far as his personal brand, he has infused the color pink into his living space, workspace and even his wardrobe. While many designers are often clad in dark colors working in white spaces, Karim is creating differentiation by showing the world the possibility of Pink. And given his global success rate, there is Power in Pink too.
(Inkling) A Red Square: Red activates your pituitary gland and increases your heart rate, sense of vitality, sexual desire and drives call to action. Not a typical color for a hotel pool that is usually associated with tranquility or refreshment while on holiday. The Library Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand has a blood red pool that is warmly inviting, yet hedonistic, setting this hotel apart from its competitors in this upscale resort area.
Business Sense: Next time you are considering colors for your brand, product, packaging or retail and hotel environment, consider the use of a very disruptive color to get noticed, create differentiation and generate buzz in a world saturated with traditional brand colors and combinations.