The 411 on Your Website Colors and Product Packaging

Know what your website colors mean in the global marketplace.Are your website colors costing you money in the global marketplace? When deciding to market your product or service globally you may want to take into consideration that colors mean very different things to different cultures.

The purpose isn’t to avoid the color completely or always use a specific “safe” color, but to be aware of the cultural beliefs that you are marketing to and how that color might affect them subconsciously. Let’s take a look at the color wheel.

Do you know what color is considered the safest universally?

The color blue is considered the safest color.

Blue is associated with holiness to the Jewish culture, and to Hindus it is the color of Krishna. It is considered a corporate color here in America and the color for baby boys. It’s a protective color in the Middle East, and only to the Native Americans of the Cherokee Nation does it mean defeat.

It is not surprising that the color blue means positive things to so many people. It’s the color of our skies and our oceans. We are globally very attracted and feel safe with the color blue.

Now, let’s look at a few facts that may surprise you about colors.

Want to sell a product in Japan or China, home to the makers of electronics and parts for the Apple computer brand?

You would think white might be an obvious choice here. Apple’s website is white, they market white products and white seems so fresh and clean.

In truth, white means death and funerals to our Eastern counterparts. This has not stopped Apple from designing their site in white, however, and it is the one color that can easily break the rule.

Because white is the easiest color to see images against on a computer screen and is a dominant color in American culture, it is more accepted than some of the other colors.

The Color Product Lesson

I would wager that you would see many more sales for red iPads and iPods in the Eastern cultures where it means purity and good luck. What do you think?

When marketing to the East, white websites may pass but white products may not fly off the shelves. Try packaging in shades of red instead.

Product and Website Colors to Avoid

Would you believe that green reminds men in China that their wives may be unfaithful to them, and that the French also tend to snub their noses at green packaging?

Purple is a perfectly happy color here in the United States that symbolizes royalty and now organic food, but in South America it is the color of funerals and death.

For a last little peek into the perception of other cultures we can look at our own.

Black means death and heavy metal music. It’s usually only a main color when we want to symbolize dark ideas and Halloween, but in Japan black is the color for little boys!

Does it surprise you to consider that your branding colors could be affecting your bottom line? 

Take a minute to look up your favorite color and what it means around the world. I bet you will be surprised.

And for those that are having a website built, while it is important to consider your mission statement, your values and beliefs, it is important to pay attention to the cultural effects of color if wanting to serve in a global market. Considering these things now could save you some frustration in lagging sales down the road. If you want to get crazy with this, go see what color your logo means according to the HubSpot in this infographic.

What color is your website / branding? Does this post encourage you to consider a change?

Patty Farmer

Patty Farmer is a multi-award winning Marketing and Social Media Strategist, International Speaker, Radio Host and Best-Selling Author w/ a network of 100,000+ connections. 2014 SWIBA award for “Social Media Influencer of the Year”

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Patty Farmer