In recent years, the international business has received more and more benefits from trading. Companies try to find the best and easy way to receive more profit. The best and easy factors that they can challenge with are colours. Colours are parts of each products or web pages and help people to understand the products or web pages better. Colours have a powerful effect on people's mind. Psychologists state that colours can change the mood of people and can help them to choose between products. There is one point that the companies and web pagers should be careful if they are going to trade with other countries; colours have varieties of meanings all around the world. Because of different backgrounds in different cultures, colours have diverse meaning. Paying no attention in this part put the companies in troubles. People who live in west have no idea about the meaning of colours in east, so the target people can not understand the message of the colours. This article is going to demonstrate that how colours are important for the international business and how this can help to absorb more clients. It is sets out to present and review some of the examples and ideas related to this topic to show that how colours can change the business and the strategies of choosing the best colours for products and web pages according to target countries. It must be relevant that for a purpose of marketing study.
2. LITRETURE REVIEW
The world has become globalised and also international marketing has increased. One thing that can make companies to be successful than others is to know targets. Some points are made so people feel satisfied from a product. First of all is visual communication, if they can receive the message of the colour, it can help the companies to absorb more clients. Hence, choosing a correct colour is one of the steps for having a good business. However the majority of people do not believe in the psychology of colour and also they have no knowledge about other cultures. The varieties of meaning of the colours in different cultures are too much. Two groups of people should be careful in this point: web designers and international companies.
2.1. PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOURS
A lot of studies have been located in different field that colours are a very important role in our life (Gage, 2000). Walch (2002, page 163) described that vision is experienced by things around us. According to marketing research, approximately 80 percent of what we learn is by visual. Rudolf (1974, page 336) pointed out that "It is probably the communicative qualities that suddenly affect the passively receiving mind, whereas the tectonic structure of pattern engages the actively organizing mind. People have been using colours for thousands of years; however counting colour as an effective role is new (Wright 1998, Crosby 2007, page 37). Colours have also the emotional effect on humane body; in addition some others assume that colour is able to be calming or annoying, cause happiness or sadness, attraction or boring. Schneider (1987) demonstrates that if tone, value, or power of colour changes, emotional effect also changes. Dr. Ghadiali pinpointed in a yoga journal in an article on colour therapy that each organ is stimulated by exact colour. He cited that Avicenna, the Arabian physician who wrote the venerable cannon of medicine, described how colour is important in both opinion and behaviour.
2.2. COLOURS IN DIFFIRENT CULTURES
Different colours mean different things in different cultures. This is really important for designers to know because without any knowledge of the cultural meaning of a particular colour, they encounter risk from their target audience. Pipes (2005) indicates colour is also linked with different religious and spiritual meanings in various cultures. Another trend of literature tending to argue that colour is emotional not material (Rhodes and Leon (2005)). Also each colour has different feeling. Therefore each colour has specific backgrounds which are known in different cultures. Rhodes (2005) puts forward that variety of colours make different meaning which is confusing. Colour is important in art and in various cultures around the world. Because of different cultures, religions and traditions people see the colour differently therefore they feel differently.
2.3. COLOURS IN WEB PAGES
Colour is an essential tool for a successful web designer. In fact, colour is like a block to make a building for visual design. Colour has different functions at the same time, also colour makes things look well. It helps the eyes to feel satisfied. Wrong colour injures the eyes and causes lower level of understanding. From Walch (2002, page164) perspectives, colour communicating and also sending a symbolic and meaning which supports the visual experience. In an attempt to identify the colour matter facing user interface and web designer Proctor and Phuong (2005, page 294) described that companies have not yet succeeded in marketing because users are from different cultures and different thinking. In other words, cultural differences such as languages, communications style and social relation may affect web use. Proctor and Phoung (2005, page 294) stated that some researchers and theorizing of Lui (1986) and Hall (1990) and recently Nisbett and Chi (2001) showed people from different cultures have many basic differences in conceptual behaviour. It happens when Asian and Western cultures are compared to each other. They described in the 1980s, the internet became the organ which Tim Berreners-Lee created the World Wide Web. In particular, international marketing is raised and because of various cultural characteristics of web users, companies try to design user intersection (Proctor, Phuong 2005). One problem that may cause is colour. Schneider (1987) explained that despite the fact that colour should be measured to strengthen visual sign; it is the strongest emotional element in visual communication. Colour also is both emotional and informational. He declares colour is symbolic and shared people experiences. In fact, use of colour in marketing can make it easier for users to understand it. Schneider commented research shows that over 200 percent of advert with a specific colour have more effect on people's visual, while only 50% affects when they use colourful advert. Schneider (1987, page 347) said: "Research shows that while one colour, well used, can increase communication effectiveness, speed, accuracy, and retention, multiple colours when poorly used actually decrease effectiveness." Sears and Jacko indicated that all in all, colour is an extremely powerful tool. And if web designers do not pay attention, it can easily be changed.
2.4. COLOURS IN BUSINESS
Colour strategies are good for visual communication and also can be identified by a brand. Ronkainen and Czinkota (2007, page 342) highlighted that consumers recognized a product by colour, and then colour has an important function. Nevertheless colour has direct meaning and converses in a slight way in societies. Walch (2002, page 163) described that colour is a powerful psychological tool. In addition colour can send a positive or negative message, calm a crowd, or make an athlete push iron harder (Walch, 2002, page 163).
Ultimately, colour has an unbelievable power which can change an idea behind a product. Web designers and international companies should be careful to choose the colour for their web page and their brand. Just misunderstanding the colour can make a huge problem. And this would happen because of cultural back-ground, different countries, different cultures and finally different meanings of colour. To avoid this problem, searching before any decision about the colours can help them to gain the best feedback from society. The next chapter demonstrates some data, result and examples which explains these problems.
As mentioned in the former chapter, colour is one of the important factors for products and web pages. Hence, choosing a correct colour is one step for having a good business. In order to deal with this problem as Rhodes (2005) said a variety of colours make different meaning which cause confusion. It is a good idea to research before making any decision. This chapter demonstrates some examples and some data to show that how colour is necessary for this aim.
The first paragraph is going to show some statistics to show how colours are significant for visual, then examples of some companies and also web pages that changed their colour. Finally, there is a table of colours which demonstrates the different meaning of colours in different parts of the world.
3.1. STATISTICS FOR COLOURS IN PRODUCTS
According to the Institute for Colour Research products are evaluated by 90% based on colours. The shock of colour is essential for brand marketing, due to recognising brands by up to 80% (according to University of Loyola, Maryland, study). By surviving from Institute for Colour Research, 92.6% of people said that when they purchase products they set their visual factor, and only 5.6% claimed that physical feeling is more important.
Also research showed that people judge implicitly about people, products or environment just by 90 seconds in first sight and between 62% and 90% is based on colours.
Henley Centre Research proved that 73% of buying has been decided in store. It is clear that receiving the meaning from the shoppers' vision is a key to have a successful trade.
In addition, colours can increase memory. Psychologists have recognized that living in colour have more senses, also boots recall for scenes in the innate world. Moreover colour can help us to develop and keep images in mind rather than colourless like black and white and it is easier to remember them (Institute for Colour Research).
Embary (1984) said that processing objects at one time can not be recognised by people if they do not have different colour. However, colour can be used as an instrument to stress or distress.
Here is some data which Conducted by Xerox Corporation and International Communications Research (2003). This data clearly shows how colours can be useful for companies to present their products as best as they can.
92% believe colour represents an image of remarkable feature
90% feel colour can support in attracting new clients
90% believe customers remember presentations and documents better when colour is used
83% believe colour makes them emerge more successful
81% think colour gives them a reasonable boundary
76% believe that the use of colour makes their business become visible larger to clients
3.2.1. MC DONALD'S
Mc Donald's in France response to change the colour of the logo from red to green. They changed the colour to say that their food is healthier. The company noticed that people who live in France are concerned about their heath and also their children. As the colour green represents health, it affects people to think that it is a healthy food. (Internet)
Heinz Company believes that unique success that they reached is due to the colour of their brand. In the first seven months Green ketchup sold 10 million bottles. The result was 23 million dollars for green ketchup. All because simply changing the colours. (ibid)
3.2.3. MIDWESTERN INSURANCE
A Midwestern insurance company changed the colour of some parts of their applications.
They try to highlight key information on their payment paper. The result was surprising; they received clients' payments approximately 14 days earlier. (ibid)
3.2.4. ORANGE COMPANY
One of the famous European mobile companies led to change its AD in Northern Ireland in 1994. Their advertisement was "The future is bright, the future is orange." The problem was orange. The orange colour is representing protestant and loyalism. The implied message was that the future is bright, the future is loyalist. (ibid)
3.2.5. INTERNATIONAL WEB PAGE
After the Sichuan earthquake in China a few corporations with International websites changed the colour of their web page to black to respect the Chinese people. However, white is the colour of grief in China. In this case, the Companies did nothing. (ibid)
3.2.6. PEPSI COLA
Pepsi Cola Company changed the colour of its vending machine from deep regal blue to light ice blue in late 1950s. The result was terrible in Southeast Asia. Pepsi had death a leading sell share, which reduced the sales because light blue represents death and mourning in that part. (Czinkota and Ronkainen, 2007, page 342)
3.3. THE MEANING OF COLOURS IN DIFFERENT CULTURES This chart shows that each colour has different meaning in different cultures and from east to west the meanings are opposite. For instance, colour red has several meanings in different parts of the world. Colour red in China represents good luck and celebration however, in South Africa red is a colour of mourning. Red in Russia means Bolsheviks and communism and in western, the red colour uses for danger, love, Christmas, Valentine's Day and passion. Another colour can be mentioned here is white. Colour white has different meanings. For example, in India white represents unhappiness and in Eastern is used for funerals and mourning. Although in western colour white are represented brides, angels and peace. It can be seen that one colour has rang of meanings that can make confusion for the people who have no idea about the meaning. This should be the part of the companies' researches to find out the meanings of each colour in their target countries.
Cultures and Meanings
Celtic: Death, afterlife
China: Good luck, celebration, summoning
Cherokees: Success, triumph. Represents the East.
Hebrew: Sacrifice, sin
South Africa: Colour of mourning
Russia: Bolsheviks and Communism
Eastern: Worn by brides, happiness and prosperity
Western: Excitement, danger, love, passion, stop, Christmas (with green), Valentine's Day
Apache: East - where the sun rises
Cherokee: Trouble and strife.
China: Nourishing, royalty
Eastern: Proof against evil, for the dead, sacred, imperial
Western: Hope, hazards, coward, weakness, taxis
China: Green hats indicate a man's wife is cheating on him, exorcism
Ireland: Symbol of the entire country, religious (Catholics)
Islam: Perfect faith
Eastern: Eternity, family, health, prosperity, peace
Western: Spring, new birth, go, money, Saint Patrick's Day, Christmas (with red)
Cherokees: Defeat, trouble. Represents the North.
Iran: Colour of heaven and spirituality, mourning
Navajo: Tsoodzil - Turquoise Mountain
Eastern: Wealth, self-cultivation
Western: Depression, sadness, conservative, corporate, "something blue" bridal tradition
Japan: White carnation symbolizes death
Navajo: Tsisnaasjini' - Dawn or White Shell Mountain
Eastern: Funerals, helpful people, children, marriage, mourning, peace, travel
Western: Brides, angels, good guys, hospitals, doctors, peace (white dove)
Australian Aboriginals: Colour of the people
China: Colour for young boys
Navajo: Dibé Nitsaa - Obsidian Mountain
Thailand: Bad luck, unhappiness, evil
Eastern: Career, evil, knowledge, mourning, pennance
Western: Funerals, death, Halloween (with orange), bad guys, rebellion
To sum up, we can prove that colour can act as an important part of products or web pages. According to the Institute for Colour Research the noteworthy points are that colour can affect people's mind. Also they should be careful of using the colours in different culture. Paying no attention could have a terrible result. These features might reinforce the power of colours; however, if the companies are unaware colours can play an exact opposite role. In next chapter, discussion, is explained about the meaning of each colour that cause some companies became successful or unsuccessful.
International companies try to absorb more clients to gain more benefits. This can not be achieved if they do not pay attention to one of the most important parts, which is colour. According to the previous chapter, some colours have different meanings in different cultures and it causes confuse for a target place. Chapter 3 will analyse the meaning of colours in different parts of the world and the problems or success that some companies encountered. Firstly, it demonstrates the effect of colour in general. Secondly, it discuses the roles of colours in web pages and finally, the function of colours in business.
4.1. EFFECT OF COLOURS
According to market research, approximately 80 percent of what we learn is visual.
Research from Xerox Corporation and International Communications Research (2003) can be defined that colours act as an important part of our visual. 90 percent of people feel that colours can be supported in attracting. And also 92 percent of people can remember the brands by their colours. Some researchers stated that colours have a power and can change the people's decision. It is deniable to say that colours have no effect on human's mind, and also it is a good way to represent a brand by a specific colour. As colours are one part of the products or the web pages and in addition colours can be seen at first sight, it should be chosen carefully.
4.2. COLOURS IN WEB PAGES
In an attempt to identify the colour matter facing user interface and web designer, Proctor and Phuong (2005, page 294) described that companies have not yet succeeded in marketing because users are from different cultures and different ways of thinking. In other words, cultural differences such as languages and social relations may affect web users. People from different cultures have many basic differences in conceptual behaviour, Proctor and Phoung (2005, page 294) stated. In fact, the use of colour in marketing can make it easier for users to understand it. Colour is an extremely powerful tool and if web designers do not pay attention, it can easily change the meaning. In this case, having knowledge about that culture would make a flourishing work. For instance, after the Sichuan earthquake in China a few web pages with an international target changed the colour of their web page to black to respect the Chinese people. Nevertheless, the colour of mourning in China is different from western countries. White is the colour of grief in China. In addition, the Companies did not show their sadness to Chinese people, because they could not understand the meaning of black which is shown sorrow. As Rhodes (2005) puts forward that variety of colours make different meaning and also because of different cultures people see colours differently, therefore they feel differently.
4.3. COLOURS IN MARKETING
A brand can be identified by colour and it can happen by visual communication. Ronkainen and Czinkota (2007, page 342) stated that customers know a product by colour so colour has an important function. Moreover colour has direct meaning and converses in a slight way in societies. Walch (2002, page 163) described that colour is a powerful psychological tool. For instance, Mc Donald's in France led to change the colour of its logo from red to green. Green is a colour that represents health. And they noticed that the French people are worried about their health and also their children. They changed the colour to say that their food is healthy and the colour green is affected people to think that Mc Donlad's is a healthy food.
Another example, that one company should change its advertising which belongs to one of the famous European mobile companies. They changed their AD in Northern Ireland in 1994. They advertised "The future is bright, the future is orange." The problem was because of the word orange. Orange colour represents protestant and loyalism. The implied message was that the future is bright; the future is loyalist, which for the people who are not loyalist is politically controversial.
It was mentioned before that the colours can be defined easily. Walch (2002, page 163) explained that vision is experienced by things around us. According to marketing research, approximately 80 percent of what we learn is by visual. According to this study a Midwestern insurance company changed the colour of some parts of their applications. They try to highlight key information on their payment paper. The result was surprising; they received clients' payments approximately 14 days earlier. This is because of colour. By changing the colour in some key data, they highlighted the important information. Human's eyes can catch these differences and focus on it. Finally the company received more attention after these changes.
Colours have direct meaning in some societies and it causes because of different back ground that they have. For example, Pepsi Cola Company changed the colour of its vending machine from deep regal blue to light ice blue in late the 1950s. The result was terrible in Southeast Asia. Pepsi had death a leading sell share, which reduced the sales because light blue represents death and mourning in that part (Czinkota and Ronkainen, 2007, page 342). Maybe it is really silly for the company because they just wanted to change their vending machine's colour, but they had no idea that light blue colour represents death in Southeast Asia.
Arguably it can be stated that colours can do positive and also negative things in the people' mind. Also colours have different meaning in different cultures. Web designers and international companies should be careful to choose the colour for their web page and their brand. Just misunderstanding the colour can make a huge problem and on the other hand it can make them to become successful. These features might reinforce the power of colours; however, if the companies are unaware, colours can play in an opposite way. It surprisingly can be seen in the results.
The following conclusion is taken from all chapters. This one is entitled 'the importance influence of colours in international business'. The current chapter has provided a brief approaching into some of the research findings that how colours can change the position of the companies and web pages. In simple terms, colours can cause the companies received benefit or detriment.
Colour has an unbelievable power which can change an idea behind a product. Web designers and international companies should be careful to choose the colours for their web pages and their brands. Misunderstanding the colour can make a huge problem. And this would happen because of cultural back-ground, different countries and finally different meanings of colours. By avoiding this problem, searching before any decision about the colours can help the companies and web pages to gain the best feedback from society. These features might reinforce the power of colours; however, if the companies are unaware, colours can play an exact opposite role.
In this chapter I hope to have highlighted the importance of colours in trading. This could be a good starter for a person who wants to search about the companies which are successful or unsuccessful due to the colours maters.