Can color be a hidden persuader? Home Depot got its original orange color from deconstructed circus tents used in its early marketing signage. Coca-Cola's signature red color also dates back more than 100 years (Reuters)
Can color be a hidden persuader?
Lexile

Google is one of the major U.S. corporations researching the power of color in the working world, in everything from workspaces to marketing and branding.

Meghan Casserly, spokeswoman for the U.S.-based organization built around the popular search engine, says Google is still early in its research but has already found "a clear link between color and satisfaction with a person's work area," which in turn can boost employee creativity and productivity.

Elyria Kemp, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of New Orleans, says there's more competition than ever for time and attention, and color is "the silent salesperson."

"We have so much stimuli in the environment," she said. "That's why it's so important to have those distinctive colors that really stand out."

Kemp is following color trends in business and conducting her own research on the link between emotions and color. She said she's also looking at what colors consumers associate with certain services, such as transportation, health care, banks and financial services.

Kemp said when consumers make an evaluation of a product offering, typically they do this within 90 seconds or less, and more than half of their initial assessment is based on color alone.

That's why so many companies are researching their color choices to the tune of thousands of dollars, Kemp said and trademarking the colors consumers have come to associate with their products, such as UPS's Pullman brown, Home Depot's vibrant orange and Tiffany & Co.'s distinct blue.

Joclyn Benedetto, spokeswoman for Tiffany & Co., based in New York City, said the diamonds and glamour of the company's jewelry is linked to the signature Tiffany blue color that wraps every creation. She said the color was selected by founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for the cover of "Blue Book, Tiffany's annual collection of exquisitely handcrafted jewels," which was first published in 1845.

Coca-Cola's signature red color also dates back more than 100 years, when it was shipped in barrels painted red to differentiate it from beer barrels, said Ted Ryan, the company's spokesman.

Home Depot got its original orange color from deconstructed circus tents used in its early marketing signage and it stuck.

"When we do consumer research and we ask our customers say a word association for Home Depot, the first thing they say is orange," said Trish Mueller, Home Depot's chief marketing officer. "So it is literally seeped into our DNA."

Smaller companies are also recognizing the benefits of color. Emil Hagopian, an Ann Arbor, Mich.,-based distributor for Mar Plast Color Building Accessories, said even in his line of work products and accessories for public restroom spaces there's been an increased demand for color beyond the standard neutrals and stainless steel.

"Color can tend to excite you, make you feel like you are in a better-designed space and just kind of adds to that total feeling of security, comfort," he said.

Technology has played a role in making more products available in a wider range of colors, he said.

But picking the right color is important.

"You know when something is right because you get a feeling of security, of safety, and it's not something that you think about. It just will hit you," Hagopian said. "And sometimes, if it's done wrong, that also hits you."

Critical thinking challenge: How can companies use color to make more money?

Assigned 31 times


COMMENTS (31)
  • BAlyssa-Sti
    12/17/2014 - 10:28 p.m.

    So are they trying to ask if the color of the item is important? I think the brand of something is more apart. I find the color is maybe a bit important because it goes with the brand. This was an interesting article. It made me think about it.

  • MFrancisco-Sti
    12/18/2014 - 10:01 a.m.

    M - Items are attracting so many people by their colors.
    E - So many people are buying things because of their colors and their shape and sizes.
    A - I don't buy things by their color or shape I buy things if they are good for me.
    L - People are buying things because of their colors.

  • tw2001marvel
    12/18/2014 - 01:06 p.m.

    Companies can use color to make more money by using a certain color because it can excite the costumer making them want to buy the product. Colors tend to stick with people so if they see a certain color it would make them have certain emotions towards that color.

  • maddyc-Orv
    12/18/2014 - 01:07 p.m.

    Companies can use color to make more money by picking and using colors that people like. Using interesting color combinations will probably also people will get attracted to. Even if you use a lot of money for research it will pay off if the research is proven right.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    12/18/2014 - 01:09 p.m.

    For years, advertisers have certianly used color selection as a guide to influence their consumers. Psychological studies on human consumers support this theory. Certian colors and color combinations influence our thinking.

  • ameliat-Orv
    12/18/2014 - 01:11 p.m.

    Personally, when I am walking around in a store and I see something colorful, I instantly walk towards that item. Vibrant colors are very attention grabbing to me. I think that companies should continue to use vibrant colors because it is a very good way to persuade people to buy whatever is being sold.

  • cp2000nirvana
    12/19/2014 - 08:37 a.m.

    I think that a lot of company's ukase color to persuade people into buy stuff like at Disneyworld seeing all the colors and smelling all the smells makes you want to buy some things

  • GarrttR-Ver
    12/19/2014 - 09:05 a.m.

    It's amazing what logo colors come from. People just don't pick a random color. They think about it, and have reasons why they have that color.

  • NaynaA-Ver
    12/19/2014 - 09:14 a.m.

    I think companies can make more money by using color because i guess it makes people more happy and excited to shop cause i mean, who wants to shop in a black and white store? I know that some fast food companies also use a lot of red because it attracts more customers.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    12/19/2014 - 01:22 p.m.

    I honestly believe that a color could be a hidden persuader. People are just so biased and about the stupidest things, even myself at times.

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