Exciting red and competent blue: the importance of color in marketing

Abstract

From beverages to consumer electronics, marketers are using color in innovative ways. Despite this, little academic research has investigated the role that color plays in marketing. This paper examines how color affects consumer perceptions through a series of four studies. The authors provide a framework and empirical evidence that draws on research in aesthetics, color psychology, and associative learning to map hues onto brand personality dimensions (Study 1), as well as examine the roles of saturation and value for amplifying brand personality traits (Study 2). The authors also demonstrate how marketers can strategically use color to alter brand personality and purchase intent (Study 3), and how color influences the likability and familiarity of a brand (Study 4). The results underscore the importance of recognizing the impact of color in forming consumer brand perceptions.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Participants each rated two fictitious logos for replication purposes. They neither saw a duplicate logo nor a duplicate hue, so the design was completely between-subjects. Significant results were similar between the two logos, thus we only report one logo fully in the text for parsimony.

  2. 2.

    As in Study 1 we replicated with a second fictitious brand logo, taken from Henderson and Cote (1998). Significant results were similar between the two logos, thus we only report one logo fully in the text for parsimony.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. This research is based on the first author’s dissertation and she thanks Ron Michaud, Brian P. Brown, and William D. Diamond for their comments on previous versions of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lauren I. Labrecque.

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Labrecque, L.I., Milne, G.R. Exciting red and competent blue: the importance of color in marketing. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 40, 711–727 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-010-0245-y

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Keywords

  • Color
  • Brand personality
  • Aesthetics
  • Logo design
  • Package design
  • Purchase intent