“Target is red…”
I have an almost 4 year old grand daughter, Lexie, who is one of the great blessings in my life. She is very precocious and often makes statements that involve concepts that are beyond what you think a 4 year old thinks about. About once every couple of weeks, I have the pleasure of picking her up from her half-day school. We have engaging conversations during the ten minute ride home.
This week, I picked her up on Tuesday, the day after my birthday, celebrated the evening before at my daughter’s home. Following the obligatory singing of “Happy Birthday” and my birthday strawberry short cake, Lexie gave me a present that she had picked out for me all by herself. It was a “Mrs. Sock Monkey,” a stuffed sock monkey doll with a shock of bright red yarn hair. Lexie’s mom was perplexed, and didn’t understand why Lexie had, without hesitation, said that she wanted to give me a sock monkey for a birthday present. It has to do with a 4 year olds’ perception that the single sock monkey on a shelf in my bed room is lonely and needs a companion.
On the ride home from school, we discussed the purchase of Mrs. Sock Monkey. Lexie informed me that I can expect a whole flock or gaggle, or whatever package they come in, of future sock monkeys on future birthdays. I asked her where she was going to get them. She told me that “Mommy takes me to the store to get them.”
When I asked if there was a “special” sock monkey store, Lexie said “No, just a regular store. I think it was Target because Mrs. Sock Monkey is red.”
There you have it – a not quite 4 year old associating anything that is red as coming from Target because, that’s right, the store logo and branding is red. She also told me that “…things that are green come from Publix…” Publix is a regional grocery chain with a green logo.
Target didn’t discover red as a branding color. That may have been Coca Cola. I remember back in the day that there was a specific PMS color for “Coke Red.” Lots have brands have based their branding around a color. Those unique Tiffany boxes. Kodak Yellow. Home Depot Orange. And more recently, in the digital space, Facebook blue, Yahoo purple, the graphite and red of You Tube.
Color is a key element in building a brand. When a 4 year old acknowledges color as part of a branding statement, it obviously works. Colors are emotive and associative. Marketing psychologists have long known that the colors red and yellow excite people. When a person sees red or yellow (or both together) the heart rate increases and the pupils dilate. These colors motivate people to take action – to buy something. Blue exudes trust and intelligence. Green represents health and the environment.
There’s a site, cymbolism.com that associates the attributes and feelings of different colors. It might be worth a look to see what the color of your logo is projecting to your customers.