31 Jul 2014

Come On You Purples!

Blue is so last year. Purple is the new black. Marketing people have long understood that colour plays a key role in communicating your brand says MRA Creative Head Kate Woodford.

Blue is so last year. Purple is the new black. Marketing people have long understood that colour plays a key role in communicating your brand. Given that colour, according to research by the University of Loyola in Chicago, increases brand recognition by up to 80%, they probably have a point.

Cadbury famously lost a four-year legal battle against arch rival Nestlé for the rights to Pantone ref 2685c – the tell-tale purple of its chocolate bar wrappers. Cadbury knew the value of that shade of purple to its business.

But no one is pretending it’s as simple as turning all your corporate brochures purple, for example, or yellow, because yellow is a ‘happy’ colour. Getting colour marketing right depends on making sure your customers form the right associations in their mind about your brand. And, as Cadbury have shown, consistency is key. Their colour purple has been around since 1905 and is still evoking warm fuzzy chocolatey feelings to this day.

After all, colour is such a personal thing. To some people navy blue might mean safe and trusted, to others it’s cold and corporate or just plain dull. Apparently green is meant to evoke calm and thoughts of nature but to me it means the lime green leather seats on my grandfather’s Ford Cortina on our seemingly never ending trips to Wales when I was a child. Every mile was wretched as I felt terribly car sick. I’ve hated that shade of green ever since.

Colour marketing is all about making sure that the colours you use to communicate your brand actually reflect that brand’s personality. So you shouldn’t find pink in a Harley-Davidson brochure for example. You would expect to see tough black and positive orange.

So what you have to decide is what colour best reflects your brand personality? If you’re trustworthy and dependable then maybe blue is for you. If you’re exciting and dynamic, pick a red. And so on. But of course, it’s never that easy. If your biggest competitor has nabbed the blue end of the colour spectrum, you might want to rethink your strategy. After all, no one wants to blend in. Stand-out is everything. Maybe you should consider a different shade of blue and combine it with a different secondary colour. There are all kinds of weird and wonderful colour combinations out there; you just have to find the one that’s right for you.

Agree? Disagree? Want help with your marketing? Comment below, tweet @MRAMarketing or email social@mra-marketing.com.

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