COLOR-BLIND CUSTOMERS OF TODAY

08 November 2006
Naseem Javed
Naseem Javed

Think of Blue and what comes to mind is a blue ocean. A blue sky? Sometimes Big Blue, which is IBM. It is true that IBM did acquire a secondary meaning and a legendary position of being recognized as such. After all it was an army in blue suits pushing forward the towering blue mainframe computers. It was only yesterday.

Those days, to be identified by a specific color or even called by that name was a great Corporate Image coup. Today, it seems that corporate identity firms have clearly run out of unique and powerful names are now trying using specific colors as a calling device to name and also to identify a corporation. Corporate Identity, by a unique color, that is.

"Plug Orange Every Day", there is no demand to eat the fruit or drink the juice. Simply, dial a number. ORANGE is one of the largest telephone players in Europe, which recently painted an entire town of England, in Orange, to make their point. It seems they are all happy and having an Orangy day. Now they are planning to go global with this success but the name could run into serious trademark and languages problems, as did PriceWaterhouseCooper when it became MONDAY. .despite the shock and luckily was picked up by BIG BLUE, IBM. At a basement bargain price.

The colors of the rainbow are not so pretty in the sky.

"What Can BROWN Do For You Today". BROWN is a new calling device for UPS, the United Parcel Service, which employs 350,000 brown clad personnel, running around in brown trucks. Despite a $45 million campaign BROWN is still struggling to provide a meaningful message to the use of this peculiar name. BROWN makes me happy?

Recently, Pepsi introduced a blue colored soft drink in a Pepsi bottle called PepsiBlue. Maybe as a counter attack to Coke s Vanilla, a dark colored coke with vanilla flavor. Unfortunately to some, PepsiBlue looks more like Windex or 2000 Flushes.

Marketing of blue fluids has often been associated with sanitation products, even when it comes to mouthwashes, like Clorox and Listerine in Blue, etc. Where is the BLUE Ketchup these days, now that Heinz s GREEN ketchup is in the kitchen.

Yellow is considered for the soft at heart and the timid, but then there are the useful YELLOW PAGES. Also YELLOW FREIGHT, a gigantic freight company of strong men on the super highways. Call YELLOW, they must be so mellow.

Green thoughts are often for money, grass and vegetables. GHOSTBUSTERS anyone? THE GREEN PARTY is for the environment, successfully flushed with money, while H&R Block claiming to a green block in their image as their exclusive color.

The customer, at large, is somewhat color-blind to these branding tactics. It s already recovering from the awkward, dumb, and at times, obscene names from the wild branding era of the last dot.com bubble. PurpleFrog; PurbleDog; PurpleRhino; all the way to BlueFrog, BlueDog; BlueRhino, etc. etc. These poor animals were subjected to verbal abuse and named in just about every color of the rainbow. Perhaps, this will end the so-called Verbal Branding and Name Identity via Color Branding and possibly avert a strike at the local zoo.

Naming of a corporation is a very serious business and can no longer be left to a color pallet. The customer cannot be motivated to a branding surge by coming across a specific color. Imagine, every time you come in contact with the color brown, wouldn t you prefer to think of a chocolate bar, rather than calling UPS or hugging one of their delivery guys on the road.

If naming corporations by color is really that important, then perhaps a lot of corporations should simply be called RED; red in embarrassment, blushing or simply for bleeding too much red ink.

Colors are most important for packaging and design, unfortunately they are few and part of our daily life. Therefore, it s dumb to imagine that a single color exclusively identifies a specific corporation. Ad agencies are only hurting themselves with this kind of advice.

Stop, the Corporate ID and Logo shops to peddle such crafts. Look for professionally executed naming methodologies and search for master-naming architects there is no shortage of unique powerful global names, what is short is the naming expertise.




About the Author
Naseem Javed is a syndicated columnist, author of Naming for Power, founder of ABC Namebank International, world-renowned lecturer and an expert on corporate naming issues.