In todays competitive environment, cultural diversity plays a significant role. In order to build strong customer relationships across a varied continuum of brand audiences, firms need to familiarize themselves with the cultures of diverse marketing groups. In this process, color perception is fundamental on consumer decision-making as it makes marketing strategies subject to the cultural values of consumers. Organizations convey distinct positioning messages across a diverse spectrum of consumers, who recognize the brands through standardized packaging and associate specific brands to specific colors.
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As consumers become more and more sophisticated, marketing strategies find ways to better understand the associations between color and consumer behavior. In this context, the contribution of color to consumer behavior is becoming increasingly important.
The Cultural Inferences of Color
Colors represent diverse meanings and aesthetics in different cultures. Psychologist Ralph B. Hupka and his team conducted an experiment to investigate the phenomenon of verbal synesthesia in response to color stimulation in Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and the United States. 661 subjects representing different cultures were asked to indicate how they associate anger, envy, fear, and jealousy to a particular color. For all participants, black and red symbolized anger; black symbolized fear; and red symbolized jealousy. However, envy, anger and jealousy was symbolized also by purple for the participants from Poland; yellow for German participants was also related to envy and jealousy; envy was symbolized with green, black and red for American participants, while for Russians it was symbolized with yellow, purple and black. The findings of the experiment indicated that particular colors stimulated different emotions in different cultures as a result of differences on culture-related variables including language, literature and mythology.
Sable and Akcay have studied the cross-cultural associations of color in marketing to identify how people of different cultures respond to colors based on culture-related variables and physiological responses. The findings of the experiment showed that there are differences in the way people perceive colors in the Western and the Eastern Hemisphere. For instance, in Western cultures, green symbolizes growth, nature, money, or envy, but for Eastern cultures green is the color of purity. White is the color of purity in the Anglo-Saxon civilizations, but Chinese, Japanese and Korean consider white the color of mourning.
In the context of studying consumer behavior, Schiffman and Kanuk have performed a cross-cultural consumer analysis to identify the extent to which consumers of different nations perceive marketing strategies differently. The findings of the analysis showed that the more similar the nations, the more relatively similar the marketing strategies implemented. The basic research issues identified in the cross-cultural analysis of Schiffman and Kanuk include differences in the perceived benefits of products and services that suggest color associations to consumer preferences.
The Impact of Color on Consumer Behavior
In the context of consumer behavior, numerous researchers have identified that, based on the impact that colors have on consumers, certain products gain increased marketability. Too often, color functions as a means to build a strong corporate image if a firm manages to communicate a meaning of prestige to consumers. Moreover, given that consumers perceive colors differently based on their cultural and psychological influences, firms that are able to take advantage of different consumer reactions to the use of color in marketing, can build a strong competitive advantage and increase the potential of success for their products and services.
The use of colors in marketing evokes a series of diverse emotional responses and attitudes based on the influence that each color exerts on each personality. Given color is the first attribute that consumers notice on a productââ‚¬â„¢s packaging colors can build sustainable consumer perceptions. Actually, it has been suggested that color is the first attribute that consumers are attracted to when they seek for brand differentiation
The use of color in marketing has also the power to influence the consumer perceptions of price and quality. Consumers classify products into expensive and below average based on color. For instance, in consumersââ‚¬â„¢ minds, black or grey products are typically perceived as expensive and valuable, whereas white products are often perceived as cheap. In this context, marketers use particular colors to convey quality signals to consumers and influence their purchasing decisions. In this context, color becomes an integral constituent of marketing strategies.
Research also suggests that when color is used as a marketing cue it contributes positively to organizational performance. Instead, unfortunate choice of product color may lead to strategic failure.
In conclusion, color is omnipresent in consumer behavior. In the context of marketing communications, color is related to cultural influences that form consumer attitudes, stimulate emotions and guide consumer awareness. As color is the first product attribute that consumers are influenced by and given that each consumer perceives each color intuitively, consumer behavior is subject to the cognitive aspects of consumers. In this context, the use color in marketing creates brand identity and drives consumer needs.
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