The Power of Color

March 1, 2011

I work in marketing, so I often think about color in terms of its applications for branding. Color is a crucial element of brand identity, and adopting a signature hue is one of the smartest things you can do for your organization.

The effects are psychological, physiological, and sociological. Signature colors attract attention, stick in your memory, and carry positive or negative connotations that can make you feel happy or sad. Considering that the goal of most organizations is to attract and keep followers, the colors of your brand or logo are a powerful tool.

Pink and the fight against breast cancer provide an excellent example.

In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants of their New York City race honoring breast cancer survivors. This event is regarded as the first known use of the symbol and color in connection with the cause. The very next year, the pink ribbon was named the official symbol of National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Since then, the color has literally exploded, finding its way onto stamps, silicon wristbands, airplanes and NFL players. There are literally now hundreds of groups out there involved in the cause and most, if not all, have embraced the color and further contributed to its spread. Pink has become so intrinsically linked with breast cancer awareness in my mind that every time I see the color, I think of the cause. Upon passing a baby girl tucked in her stroller and bundled in a soft pink blanket, I admit that my first thought is often “Amen, sistah, save the ta-tas!”

While the color pink is a powerful, unifying element, it also provides a significant challenge to those organizations that are looking to differentiate themselves. This is where distinctive, consistent branding becomes absolutely essential to an organization’s success. If you pay close attention, you will notice that Susan G. Komen and the Avon Foundation are very specific about the shade of pink and the style of ribbon that they use in their marketing materials. They are not the same organization, and they want you to know it.

I can’t easily think of another corporation or cause that has come to dominate an entire color group in the consumer’s mind as much as pink and breast cancer awareness. I take that back. UPS has done a pretty good job with the color brown, but let’s be honest here they picked the color that nobody else wanted.

Pink is both an important cause and a remarkable example of smart marketing. And that’s something I can get behind.

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I Have A Pink Problem

February 23, 2011

Pink.

The color of cupcake frosting, flushed cheeks, marshmallow Peeps, lip gloss, and sunsets. In a nutshell, all that is right with the world.

I’ve been through phases with pink.

My mom will tell you that one of my childhood nicknames was Pinky Tuscadero. The name had less to do with my smallest finger as I thought at the time (seriously what 3-year-old is going to catch the reference to a classic television sitcom?), and more to do with my infatuation with the color. My bedroom in Maryland was painted “My Little Pony Pink” and I kept up with the pale pink decor when we moved to Virginia, adding an accent of dark green for sophistication.

Pinky Tuscadero

At some point I grew out of it. I lost touch with my inner girly girl and resisted the hallmark color of femininity. In high school and college, I played lacrosse, ran track, and wore T-shirts and sweatpants most days of the week. Blue, then yellow, then orange and navy achieved priority status.

Now at age 23, pink is back, and I have breast cancer awareness to thank for it.

When I got involved with the fight against breast cancer, the color took on new meaning for me. I no longer associate pink with Barbie dolls, daintiness and fragility. Today it speaks a more powerful message of strength, health, unity and courage. I plan to write more in the coming days about breast cancer’s instrumental role in the color’s re-branding.

I am happy to say that pink has returned to my closet, and I’m back to my old habits of squealing with delight at the very sight of the color. Pink sprinkles, cherry blossoms, decorated football players, blushing orchids, and grenadine-tinted beverages all bring a smile to my face.

It might not be a “problem” just yet…

Pink Things

… but it’s getting there.


What to Wear?

February 19, 2011

At work Monday morning, I received an email from Nancy. “You likey?” she asked.

Pink Hat for Avon Walk 2011You bet I likey!

One of the best parts of the Walk is dressing up and sporting unique pink gear. Last year I wore a pink tie-dye T-shirt, pink track shorts, pink shoelaces and pink Mardi Gras beads that ended up turning my neck a lovely shade of fuchsia. Festive, yes, but unique, not so much.

I was a newbie last year, so I can let the lackluster attire slide. This year, however, I will definitely step up my game.

Here are some of the creative outfits I saw during the D.C Walk 2010:

Crew Member at the DC Avon Walk 2010

Cross-dresser at DC Avon Walk 2010

Pink ladybugs at DC Avon Walk 2010

Wear Your Bra Over Your Shirt at the Avon Walk

Crew Member on Bike at DC Avon Walk 2010