Consumers identify a Brand with several key visual elements; logo, design, name, and color, but often Logo and Identity are used interchangeably. However, the logo is only the tip of the iceberg when comes to the Brand Identity.
Color must be an important consideration in the development of the brand identity. Why?
Because: Color stirs our emotions and affects our psyche.
Research conducted by the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo 2004 documented the following relationships between color and marketing.1
- 93% of the participants put the highest importance on visual factors when purchasing products
- People make a subconscious judgment 90 seconds of viewing to about a product with 60 to 90% of the assessment based on color alone
- 73% of purchasing decisions are made in-store. Eye catching colors are important to successful sales
- Brand recognition is improved 80% with color
Brand Identity is important to anyone who is selling and marketing products and services and there 10 reasons why color is an important factor in identifying a Brand.2
- Color increases Brand Recognition
- Color makes the Brand Memorable
- Color encourages participation
- Color delivers information
- Color draws attention
- Color prolongs interest
- Color allows you to shine out
- Color shows the Brand is of high quality
- Color stimulates the senses
- Color brings emotion
It is clear, on the basis of the above research and facts, that color is a major factor in Brand Identity. Therefore, it’s extremely important the Brand colors are defined, specified and managed in order to ensure proper Brand recognition by the consumer.
We surveyed the management of color for two major university sports brands available at a major retailer. CSI is located in the state of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina sports teams are one of the most recognized teams locally and nationally.
The university’s color is frequently referred to as Carolina Blue. The color is referenced and specified in Wikipedia.3
For our survey, we purchased from the same retail store t-shirts, hats and a mug with University of Carolina logo. The t-shirts were either 100% cotton or 100% polyester and manufactured in China, Dominican Republic, Honduras or Vietnam. The hats were all manufactured in China.
The purchased articles are shown in the photo below. Surprisingly, the Carolina Blue color was very different between all eight products and it is almost impossible to tell which article represents the real Carolina Blue.
The second university was the University of South Carolina. As before, t-shirts and hats were purchased from the same retail store. All of the products were manufactured in a variety of countries. The colors of the University of South Carolina are described on their Wikipedia4 page as Garnet (Ruby Red) or Black. Surprisingly, the colors of the products were again very different and could be separated into two distinct hue groups (either in yellowish or bluish red shades).
How can the colors of well recognized university Brands vary so greatly? These results are caused by inadequate color management systems and supply chain color controls which comprise the Brand Identity.
How can a Brand protect the color identity? The following four steps provide a short guide to achieving color consistency.
- Create a Color Standard for the Brand Color. Color standards may have to be created on textile, paper and plastic depending on the products to properly communicate the color to the supply chain.
- Communicate the Color Standard to the Supply Chain. The communication of the Brand Color should be both electronic and physical standards.
- Control & Monitor the Color in the Supply Chain. Establish a process to pre-approve pre-production (lab-dips) and production samples.
- Audit & Test the Color in the Supply Chain. Validate that the color on the products sold in retail are consistent with the Color Standard.
Establishing these four simple steps will result in Brand Color Consistency. If these four steps were applied to the University of North Carolina and South Carolina products, the color of the products in retail would have looked like the photos below!
If you are interested in information on establishing a color communication system to secure the color consistency of your Brand products, please contact us. CSI will help you establish, communicate, track and audit the Brand color from concept to consumer.
Visit our Website to find out more about Brand Color Management.