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The marketer's prismatic palette: Essays on the importance of color in marketing with implications for brand personality

Lauren Isabelle Labrecque, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Color is important not only in terms of aesthetics but also because it carries meanings that can influence affect and behavior. People’s daily experiences are saturated with color, however scant research focuses on the influence of color in marketing. Essay one of this dissertation offers a conceptual model that provides a framework for understanding how people experience and create meaning from color in order to contribute to a better understanding of how color affects consumer behavior. Additionally, it provides a review of color research in different areas of marketing. This review brings attention to areas where more empirical research is needed and also provides research questions and directions for future study. Essay two examines the role that color plays in branding and fills a major gap in the brand personality literature by empirically testing how nonverbal elements contribute to the establishment of and shape brand personality (Batra, Lehmann, and Singh 1993). In addition, this essay fills a gap in the branding literature by examining the brand-building qualities of logos (Keller and Lehmann 2006). Based on color theory and previous empirical work in psychology and marketing, the relationship between color and brand personality (Aaker 1997), and color and brand equity is tested in a series of five studies. Study 1 demonstrates the link between hue and brand personality using two fictitious and two real brand logos. Study 2 further examines the relationship by focusing on the other two components of color, saturation and value, using four fictitious brand logos. Together, these studies show that all three components affect brand personality perceptions. Study 3 offers replication and extends these findings to package design. Study 4 shows the incremental value of color in logo design, using one hundred real brand logos. Results show that color is an important driver of brand personality and that the combination of logo design and color influences likability and familiarity. Lastly, the relationship between color and brand equity is examined in Study 5. The results provide evidence of product category color norms and reveal that while color differentiation may be helpful for certain categories, it may hurt others.

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Recommended Citation

Labrecque, Lauren Isabelle, "The marketer's prismatic palette: Essays on the importance of color in marketing with implications for brand personality" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3409617.