Brand Building | Owning the color red [1]

When talking about strong brands that connect emotionally with customers, a brand essentially has the ability to touch all 5 human senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. In turn, these are the brand’s touch points.

So how the brand looks, sounds, feels, smells and tastes makes every bit of difference how customers perceive the brand, and vis a vis, how the brand communicates back to the customers. It goes beyond mere visual, and that’s why many companies are short-sighted when they change or makeover their old logo thinking that they’ve done a good job in branding. This of course is already dabbling in branding, however limited, as it only deals with the facade, and other human senses are left largely untouched.

It is a well-known fact that design plays an important role in bridging this gap. The look and feel of a product and service is crucial, and it gives brands their competitive edge. Color is a major part of this (design) equation. Of course other factors play a role too, the shape, size, typography, and font.

Ponder at a few famous world brands and you’ll notice that their color is distinctive. For example, Coke will always be red, Kodak yellow, IBM blueUPS brown, and Pepto Bismol pink. These brands TAKE CLEAR OWNERSHIP of their brand and corporate colors, a major source of their brand equity…. if not THE most compelling. Can you imagine if instead Coke were yellow and IBM were pink?

Let’s have a look at each color. Here’s the color RED. I found an excellent reference on the subject of brand-building and color ownership, via Cathy Cotter of Cotter Visual Communications.
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Red is the most extroverted color in the spectrum, representing vitality, life and energy. People want to eat and drink more in the presence of red (i.e., Campbell’s Soup is a good example). In American culture, and in an American marketing context, red represents strength and leadership. The perceptual set of “red brands” includes: Target, Coca-Cola, Marlboro, Band-Aid, and Jell-O, market leaders all and “representatives” of classic, mainstream Americana.

Red IS the color to “own” or to use as an umbrella ‘owning color’ strategy because of its status as the most dominant color of all. It’s always a good idea for a brand to try to “own” a color in people’s minds (e.g. Immediate consumer associations of a color with the brand … i.e., Kodak and yellow, Duracell and copper/black) since people remember color first in the hierarchy of visual memory.

Owning a color affords instant recognition and distinction by customers in our highly saturated, complex and competitive brand landscape.

Inspiration: Cotter Visual Communications


About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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One Response to Brand Building | Owning the color red [1]

  1. Pingback: Brand Building | More on the compelling role of color [6] | IDEAS INSPIRING INNOVATION

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