- Mon, February 13 2012
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Photo from businessblunder.com
This redesign cost Tropicana a 19% plunge ($33 million) in sales in two months. The company trashed the new look.
Dan Ariely points out that the initial explanation for the consumer revolt was the emotional bond that consumers had with the old packaging. But further investigation revealed something more: The change made it harder to spot Tropicana on a store shelf or to differentiate it from other brands. He wonders, “Is it plausible that simple visual features of choice options, such as a package’s color or brightness, influence consumers’ choices?”
According to a group of vision scientists, the answer is yes. In a study, they found:
When consumers chose between items they prefer (such as a Snickers bar) and visually enhanced, i.e., brighter, but less preferred options (such as Sour Skittles), a significant portion of their choices was biased toward choosing the brighter, less liked, item. This visual saliency bias, or bias toward brighter-colored items, was even stronger when consumers made choices while being engaged in another cognitively demanding task, akin to talking on a cellphone while shopping in a grocery store. Finally, the bias toward visually brighter items was especially strong when consumers did not have a strong preference for one item over another (i.e., choosing between Snickers and KitKat bars, which consumers stated they like almost equally). The latter two variations of the experiment is highly representative of today’s competitive market place and consumers’ tendency to multitask.
So what do Skittles and OJ have to do with us?
I wonder if there is a lesson here. While these studies are focused on bright colors as influencing impulse buying, I do think the concept of visual salience has broader application. Just as simple, easy to read type can make people more friendly to your words, I think bold, recognizable colors may help make people pay attention to you. It’s at least worth a test. When you’re promoting your cause in a crowded, noisy space like on a bulletin board, at an event or side-by-side with other organizations online, try to visually stand out. Ask, are you catching the eye? How’s your visual salience? I think it helps - and there’s a reason the cover of my book is bright orange and yellow:)
And for more on the topic, here’s an infographic via Karen Zapp with more on the influence of color.