The influence of colour on our daily choices is undeniable. Understanding the role and importance of colour in the world of consumers and how colour is shaping the future of brands and packaging simplifies our understanding of how to attract and connect to our ideal customers.
To understand the use of colour in retail, we need to know how the retail experience impacts the consumer and how the current spectrum of colour came into being.
In the past, fewer products and packaging types meant there were fewer colours to play with on the packaging. As competition steadily increased, there was an eruption of brands, resulting in availability of wide range of similar products in each category. The competition for brand identification expanded the colour palette, bringing more colours to the retail store.
Below, we’ve outlined three ways to ensure the colours used on packaging are relevant to consumers.
Maintain consistent colour and identity
Each shade resonates with consumers at a unique level. In the world of branding, the use of colour amplifies brand recognition and customers make a subconscious assessment about brands within 90-seconds of initial viewing.
International brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Cadbury have made their mark in the industry by maintaining a consistent brand colour throughout all the brand marketing collateral, from logo to OOH advertisements.
According to a survey conducted by Reboot, colour amplifies brand recognition by 80%, which is reciprocated by many influential brands. In the instance of Coca-Cola and Pepsi, both brands produce the same product. But only when the product is packaged under the respective brand colour, consumers automatically recall the brand. Brand recognition retains the memory in brain and subconsciously that brand now becomes a personal preference when a customer is making a repeat purchase.
Adapt to geographical locations and culture
85% of grocery shoppers cite colour as their primary reason for buying a particular product, therefore brands must follow their colour palette to maintain a consistent brand perception. Colour is the cue that is used by the brain to help identify and make predictions about the products such as taste and flavour.
Colour creates a psychological expectation or associates a particular flavour with a specific packaging colour. For instance, in the APAC region, a yellow bag of chips is immediately associated with cheese flavour, while the pink coloured bag is associated with salt and vinegar flavour.
However, packaging colours are also influenced by the brand’s target geographical location and culture, giving rise to different expectations. Taking chips pack as an example again, while the pink coloured bag of chips is generally associated with salt and vinegar flavour in APAC, it is linked to prawn cocktail flavour in the UK. The difference of flavour for the packaging of the same colour reflects the nature of the individual market’s recognised palette.
Create emotional connections with taste perceptions
Colour can both mirror and influence our emotions. It can affect how shoppers feel about a product or brand. Brand colour can evoke strong emotional associations and also influence taste perceptions. We are often triggered to imagine the taste of the food before our taste buds get a chance. This can predetermine how we will perceive the taste and flavour of the product to be.
In the case of 7UP, customers reported an expected lemon & lime taste for the regular 7UP packaging. Upon enhancing the colour of the packaging by adding 15% more yellow to the green on the 7UP packaging, consumers reported a stronger lemon & lime flavour before the drink is tasted. Modifying the colour on packaging impacts the perception and can psychologically influence customers to perceive its taste differently.
Evolving customers and their needs applies to the type of colours used by brands. Now more than ever, colour is heavily influenced by the lifestyle, gender, culture, social interaction, social channels, globally trending issues and personal interests.
Colour palettes are gaining more extensive vocabulary to match the growing needs of consumers. It is paramount for brands to amplify colours to create an impact and help the shoppers to locate them, simplify customers’ choice, be distinguishable amongst other brands and educate customers with the right brand messaging.
About Steve Jackson
Steve, has been with SGK since 2003, moving to Australia in 2012. He has wealth of experience working with global, regional and local brands from Coca-Cola, Mars, GSK, Nestle, Kraft Heinz, Mondelez and Woolworths to name a few. Steve leads the SGK Australia and New Zealand business based in Sydney and Melbourne.