Color Helps Create Thriving Businesses

What if there was one simple element that could be included in business communications to help your company stand out from the other 27 million small businesses in the U.S. today and be one of the 50 percent that don’t fail in the first five years? [1] A lack of financial resources and human capital often limits growth for small businesses, but the strategic use of often-overlooked elements like color can positively impact business growth and increase the impact of customer communications.


To better understand how color can be used more effectively by businesses, HP sponsored a color project at TEDActive 2012, an annual experience-based conference hosted to help some of our biggest thinkers and most creative minds interact and exchange innovative ideas. TEDActive is a live simulcast experience of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference where, together with HP, thinkers and doers engage in hands-on activities that challenge a full spectrum of business and marketing leaders to rethink how they can use color as an effective tool. TEDActive visionaries concluded that color is an unsung hero that can amplify ideas to help businesses grow.


The discussions uncovered the following ways color is used to impact businesses and social initiatives:


1.) Color can differentiate a business and attract specific audiences

To distinguish itself from the competition, a financial startup branded itself using orange, a color not typically found in its industry. Almost immediately upon adopting orange to represent their business, the startup noticed a heightened interest from women in their services. While investing entails risk, and women have been shown to have a lower risk tolerance than men, the use of color served to bridge the divide between the two. Orange, which is vibrant and often signifies adventure and risk taking, also conveys warmth and optimism that appeals to women. Through its use of color the startup tapped into a specific audience offering unlimited potential for growth. A recent study [2] revealed that 95 percent of women will serve as the primary financial decision maker for a family at some point in their life and that women currently control $14 trillion in personal wealth. 


2.) Color can help manifest a set of beliefs across cultures and embody a movement or message  

Color can be used to amplify ideas and can even become the message itself. “Going Green” has become a globally-recognized symbol regardless of culture or language. Today the color green is globally associated with sustainability, and many energy-efficient businesses use it to promote environmental awareness, since it signals rejuvenation and a connection with nature. A leading worldwide coffee chain incorporated green in their business logo and used the recycling symbol on their products to communicate the mission and values of the company. In doing so, it drove a call to action to its employees, partners and consumers that encouraged environmental responsibility. Forty years later, the coffee chain continues to expand its global presence while increasing its commitment to sustainability in all aspects of the business from the materials in which drinks are served to the facilities in which the business operates.


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Small businesses can make a niche for themselves by selecting colors that will resonate with their particular customer audience to drive growth. By using colors that attract and engage their audience, businesses can communicate in a way that matters to their customers, helping to increase awareness – and ultimately sales – of their offerings.


To see how color can boost your business edge on LinkedIn, check out a sneak preview of the HP Color Infographic Generator tool, which will be available this spring.


Share with us

Do you have a compelling idea or story about how color has impacted your business? What color best describes your business personality? Share it with us here and on the TEDActive Color Project on Facebook


Inspired by the TEDActive HP Color Project, 2012.



[1]  Morris, Brian. “Small Business Stats for Small Business Week 2011.” 18 May 2011

[2] Warner, Fara. “Power of the Purse: How Smart Businesses Are Adapting to the World’s Most Important Consumers—Women.” (FT Press 2005).

by juliemalone
on ‎04-05-2012 03:34 AM

What an informative and useful blog you are running. This post has added a lot to my knowledge, please keep us informed about the subject. Thank you


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