Consider a red can of cola; blue striped capital letters, a black apple, and yellow arches –what brands come to mind? In each instance, color is the predominate element of identification and association with a brand. Color enables us to instantly recognize and draw emotional associations to a brand.
Today’s retail environment is unlike any we have ever experienced. The complexity of brand SKUs and myriad POP materials bombards the shopper, making it almost impossible for individual products to stand out on shelf.
Despite brand marketers’ belief that the words on pack are the most important driver of purchase intent, recent studies demonstrate that they are actually the least important component of the packaging mix. In fact, the operative communications hierarchy puts color atop the list, with shapes, symbols and words following in that sequence. When approaching a package redesign it is this hierarchy of semiotics that ultimately drives sales in the store aisles.
Studies show that on average shoppers take just five seconds to locate and select a given product, generally at a distance of from three-to-six feet. Locating that product occurs when it is visible to the passing shopper. Here visibility is measured by contrast and the physiological driver that creates contrast is color. Color is one of the brain’s three visual pathways and, since we process every object within view simultaneously, color is the mechanism that places emphasis on certain areas. In addition to enhancing on-shelf visibility, the appropriate use of color can increase brand recognition by some 80%, while also serving as an important brand identifier.
While color works on one level, it is not the only factor leading to product selection. Memorable shapes also initiate a cognitive process of evaluation and brand preference. Shapes often determine the first impression of a product while metaphorically communicating key benefits and advantages. In combination, color and shape combinations can signal quality, while enhancing perception. For instance, symmetrical shapes pair well with passive colors… triangular and diamond shapes with active colors. Color /shape combinations can also communicate brand personality, so like color, the use of shape in brand identity and design plays a role well beyond on-shelf visibility.
Did you know? Ads in color are read up to 42% more often than the same ads in black and white (as shown in study of phone directory ads).
See here for more on the significant impact of color.
Source: White, Jan V., Color for Impact, Strathmoor Press, April, 1997
Sponsored By: Brand Aid
What colors have you chosen for your marketing materials? What were your reasons for making that particular choice? Was it because you liked those particular colors, or did you have a particular marketing message in mind? While visual appeal is an important consideration, your color choices could be sending a specific message to the people who view them. Are you sure you know what that message is?
Color is one of the most important components in creating brand identity. The purpose of a brand identity system is to encode a brand in people’s memory and retrieve it from their memory. In a visual system, the two most powerful components are the consistent recognizable shapes and colors. (Scents and sounds are more powerful than visuals as understood by Cinnebons and Harley-Davidson.) It is best if these shapes and colors are distinctive (at least within the product category). Color can have a significant affect on people’s perception of a product or brand. For instance, burgundy and forest green are perceived to be upscale while an orange label or package indicates an inexpensive item.
Third, colors can actually have an affect on a person’s state of mind and cognitive ability as demonstrated by numerous research studies. For instance, pink has been shown to increase a person’s appetite and calm prison inmates. Additionally, if your brand is sold outside of North America, be aware that colors can have different symbolic meanings (not all positive) in different countries and cultures.
Sponsored By: Brand Aid