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Color Triggers Irrationality in Consumers, Says Study
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As we have mentioned before, sometimes consumers place weight on matters that do not directly involve the subject at hand. To think; we can conjure back feelings we had when we first interacted with a product, regardless of if the product was actually responsible for the feeling and whether it was good or bad, and the feeling is therefore always associated with it. Our first interaction becomes the default. How interesting.

Yes, human beings are odd creatures when it comes to examining behavior and decision-making. There are schools of thought out there that maintain that humans were never meant to engage in such thinking or to be exposed to this amount of choice and deduction. We are not a member of those schools. We believe that humans are indeed patterned animals, and through learned behavior, we make decisions and base future actions on experiences and knowledge gained. 

Therefore, the theory of humans being outwitted by the society we created is rendered useless.

But there are some interesting tidbits.

A study from Ohio State University published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that color can affect how a consumer reviews and analyzes a product. The examples in the article and the results from the study are fascinating, and we encourage you to read it.

A few takeaways include:
  • Consumers are more likely to focus on the minute details of a product when in color versus the overall functionality of a product. They focus more on intended use in black and white, when the unnecessary details blend in.
  • When consumers are asked to forecast, to look into the future, it seems more likely that they picture products and events in black and white instead of color, because the black and white makes the consumer look at the big picture, rather than the details they would be bothered with at present.
It's a pretty interesting read, and it definitely agrees with the writings and papers we have seen regarding color and consumer decision-making. Selling features? Use color. Selling a concept or a big idea? Use black and white. Help frame the decision for the consumer. It seems that the brand that does it would be better off.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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