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Color Talk—Connecting With Consumers at Shelf

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: October 5, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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In skin care, many brands are using color in powerful ways to help the consumer navigate product offerings. Olay Deep Facial Cleansers leverage a color palette balancing minty green and light blue, indicative of fresh, deep cleaning. Blum from Jean Pierre Cosmetics uses bright colors and a clear packaging design layout in its Blum Naturals line, with the primary color of the bag on the final packaging a very faint khaki color.

Kathleen Lewis Beauty discreetly labels its products that have a pharmacological vibe with spare, minimalist labeling that meshes both literally and philosophically with the company’s credo of “Do no harm,” an echo of the Hippocratic Oath. Skin care brand R.M. Gattefosse, sold in France and Italy, uses a white backdrop for the aesthetic of its packaging, along with a colorful pictographic system conveying art deco in a contemporary manner. The packaging range by This Works, an award-winning aromatherapy bath, body and skin care line, uses simplicity and color in its design, featuring large-print letters intended to project a sophisticated, modern look.

Hair Highlights

Several hair care brands are effectively using color to appeal to consumers. The Barex Italiana brand noticed an immediate increase in sales when it moved to a color versioning strategy. Barex uses a brightly hued, wide silk-screened band near the top of each package, conveying hair type. Rich lime green, tangerine, hot pink and red provide a fresh, crisp takeaway on the white package.

From LPK’s caseload, the design of Herbal Essences’ new Hydralicious line combines appetite appeal with a strikingly enthusiastic color palette and swirl graphic treatments that simulate movement and energy. The team at Sexy Hair Concepts performed extensive research on color before re-launching its Short Sexy Hair collection with a new color strategy that focuses on yellow, as it is the first color the human eye sees, and has also been a dominant shade this year. Yellow stimulates the brain, and its energy is associated with feelings of wisdom and knowledge. Pantone has taken up a parallel path, engaging yellow as a primary shade, naming it Mimosa, in effort to spark imagination and innovation.

Color Connection

Color, especially in volume, sets the tone and influences mood—connecting emotionally with consumers and inviting a sense of wonder. In the mind of the consumer, color is an influential ambassador of the brand and begins to unlock a message. Brands must deepen their conversation with the consumer. Color as an integral part of brand strategy can provide a renewed interest, simplification of the self-selection process and a deeper, more personal connection with the consumer, resulting in a meaningful brand experience that authenticates the brand story and generates longer lasting customer loyalty.