What colour is your business? That might sound a strange question but many of the world’s most successful organisations are synonymous with a particular hue: red (Coca Cola, Ferrari, Santander), blue (Barclays, Facebook and General Motors), green (Land Rover, Starbucks) yellow (Chuppa Chups, Hertz, National Geographic) black (Coco Chanel) and brown (UPS).
These seemingly random colours have more significance for a business than you might expect. If UPS ever issued a profit warning, for example, perhaps it could use its chosen colour as an excuse. In 2012, when the Australian government tried to identify a colour to deter smokers, it opted – after months of tests – for a shade of brown identified as Pantone 448C to brand cigarette packets. The shade, dubbed "the ugliest colour in the world", has since been used for the same purpose elsewhere.
For colour is not the purely scientific phenomenon that Sir Isaac Newton’s optical observations might have us believe. We see the spectrum through a set of lenses – psychological, social and cultural – and if companies are to truly connect with customers, especially internationally, they must understand this.