By Barb Parker, colour designer at JDSU.
How important is colour in the wider marketing mix? If you are buying a high-end product how far up your list of priorities is colour actually going to be? Would you pay more for a product if it comes in a colour you like
Some companies treat colour as less important to branding than factors such as market positioning and cost, but in my experience colour should be one of the first considerations for any company looking to market a product. There is even evidence that getting colour right can directly lead to enhanced sales.
According to Cadillac, one of the most enduring of car brands, 50% of new car buyers are willing to upgrade and pay more for Cadillac vehicles that have special colour options. Make no mistake, colour and colour forecasting is essential to driving bottom-line growth and increasing customer loyalty.
Every day consumer purchasing decisions are impacted by the colour of the goods they are buying and companies need to make sure they are getting this important area of branding right first time.
The danger is that often the choice of colour for a product is considered a relatively simple affair. After all colour is just colour, right? Apart from using market research to find the most attractive and marketable colours for their products how can businesses really differentiate and provide a richer customer experience?
The fact it that increasingly colour is becoming more than simply a choice of shades. New pigment technologies are opening the doors to an ever greater range of customisable colours that companies can use to build up consistent brand image and open up a wider choice to their customers.
Cadillac again provides a great example of this. The brand uses highly specialised pigments to add depth to the colour of its vehicles by changing tone when viewed from different angles, creating a striking and aesthetically pleasing effect.
The pigments provide outstanding colour saturation (chromaticity) with dramatic and vivid colour shift depending on the angle the product is viewed at.
Such pigments are comprised of multi-later flakes manufactured by the deposition of ultra-thin layered structures similar to those sometimes found in nature such as soap bubbles, butterfly wings, and sea shells.
Precisely controlling the thickness of the multi-layers in the flake structure produces the different colours and allows the shades to be customised to a degree not seen before.
There are, therefore, many aspects that need to be considered when deciding on which colour to use for a product and it is far from a simple choice for businesses to make. For the consumer, colour plays a major part in building an emotional bond with a brand and for businesses it allows them to differentiate themselves from the competition and create a consistent and powerful product set.
More than this, however, businesses can make more money from getting the colour of a product right and companies in all sectors should be reviewing what steps they need to take to benefit from the advances in colour technology.
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