USING COLOR TO BRAND EFFECTIVELY

A January 19, 2012 Website Magazine blog post (See http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2012/01/19/the-meaning-behind-color.aspx ) discussed the meanings that certain colors evoke to consumers.

I summarize that post below:

The author of that piece noted that “red” was the “color that eyes are drawn to first” and creates a sense of urgency. She noted that brands associated with red included Target® and Coca-Cola®.

She pointed out that “orange”, used by Home Depot®, was associated with “fun and energetic times or citrus fruit. It is recommended for kid’s websites.”

Yellow, she noted, is also “associated with laughter and happiness. It is said to make people feel optimistic and youthful” and “is often used to grab consumers’ attention.” A major brand associated with this color is McDonalds®.

She wrote, “green” is “associated with growth, nature, wealth and can also be calming.” Starbucks® uses the color “green” selling coffee, a stimulant, in its stores, within a calming setting

Blue, she wrote, is “probably the most popular color in the world.” “It is calming, and can be associated with dependability and security,” which is why it is used by many financial institutions.

Pink, she writes, is a “feminine color..best associated with romance.” “Depending on the shade it can also be seen as sentimental or youthful.” For these reasons it is used for brands targeting women and young girls.

Black is described by the author of this piece as a “powerful color” representing authority, stability and strength, and is often seen used for expensive products.

White is described by that author as symbolizing simplicity and purity and is often used with health related products. Interestingly, Apple® uses that color, probably intuitively, to indicate that its computers, tablets and phones are easy to use.

While many brands, such as financial institutions, tend to use particular colors, such as blue, that does not mean that a financial institution or any of the other types of businesses identified above, needs to use the particular colors attributed to them, above. However, color is an excellent means of identifying your brand and is registrable in the U.S. as a trademark. For example, if you are a goods provider, by using a single color across your labeling and advertising, e.g., in a band in your packaging under your brand name or as a background for that brand name, you can more easily designate your products as coming from a single source, particularly if that color is unique from that used by your competitors. And designating your products as coming from a single source is what trademark usage is all about. Similarly, if you are a service provider, using a single color in your advertising and across all of your web pages helps them to stand out and differentiate you from your competitors. An excellent example of this is in the vehicle rental field where Hertz® uses the color yellow, Avis® uses the color red and National® uses the color green. Ignoring the associations with each color described above, the overall effect of this usage is to distinguish each vehicle supplier from one another from the time one makes their reservation to the time when, exhausted and late at night, one arrives at an airport searching for the right rental counter or taking the shuttle bus to the right rental car lot, making it easier to find the rent-a-car company that you are looking for, making it less likely that you will turn to a competitor and, over time, building brand loyalty.

One of the most colorful examples of the use of color is the use of the color “magenta” by the mobile phone provider T-Mobile®. The color appears on their store signage, on their billboards, on their product packaging and on their products themselves and on the dresses worn by Carly, their spokesmodel. See http://youtu.be/2pCZHVu2OOU for a video example. That color is also the subject of U.S. Service Mark Registration #3,263,625.

So, in the upcoming weeks, as the trees bloom in their resplendent colors, think color, use color consistently and widely in your branding efforts and protect those branding efforts by registering color as your trademark or service mark.

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