Color Me Different
– by Matt Michel
You want to own that color. You want the public to associate that color with your brand.
Walk down the aisles of any HVAC trade show and look at the colors chosen by the companies present. Most will be red, blue, or both. When they differ, it’s often a slight difference, such as a redish orange. It’s the same with contractors. When everyone looks the same, no one is standing out.
Understand Color Psychology.
Websites are full of articles about how this color has this psychological meaning and that color has that one. While a lot of it seems to be mumbo jumbo, some makes sense. For example, in HVAC we associate red with heating and blue with cooling. In plumbing, we associate blue with water because it is, you know, blue. Duh.
Since red, white, and blue are the colors of our nation’s flag, they are also patriotic colors. What about other colors? Green and brown are typically environmental colors. Pink is feminine. Purple is royal. Grey is dull or classic. Yellow is happy. Black is luxury. Or, so say the psychologists. Many also have different interpretations.
Forget psychology. The most important factor for a contractor is red and blue are the most overused colors for heating and air conditioning. Blue is the most overused color for plumbing. So if you want to be different and stand out (and you should), use different colors. Or, use different colors in combination with red or blue. Do not blend in.
Pick a Color.
Almost any color will do as long as it is unique to you. Dan Antonelli of KickCharge™ Creative says, “Be bold, be unique, and develop a set of brand colors that no one in your space has.”
How? Informally survey your market. Take note of service truck colors. You are trying to eliminate colors. Ideally, you will find a color no one else has. You want to own that color. You want the public to associate that color with your brand so that whenever someone sees trucks your color, he automatically thinks of your brand. As Antonelli puts it, “Build brand colors that people uniquely associate with yours.”
If every color in your market appears owned, play with color schemes or combinations. Combine two colors, but make sure they are complementary. Try to avoid red/green schemes since 7% to 10% of the male population has red/green color blindness. Of course, women seem immune and since you are marketing to women, you may not care.
Another option is to play with the tint of one or more colors. Tweak the color. A large contractor in your market may own green, but no one may use teal green or turquoise green.
Whatever color scheme you pick, make sure there is plenty of contrast. Contrast makes it easier to see. This is especially important if you serve an older customer base.
Wrap Your Trucks (and Everything Else).
Your best advertising vehicle (pun notwithstanding) is your trucks. Wrap your trucks with your new color/color scheme. Use a professional graphic designer to develop your wrap. While wrapping your trucks is expensive and using a professional designer is expensive, this is not the place to cut corners. Vehicle wraps receive 30,000 exposures every day.
Use the same color/color scheme on all of your literature. Use it on your building signage. Use it for your business cards and letterhead. Use it on your uniforms. Use it for your home show booths. Repetition leads to ownership.
Stick With It.
Once you identify your unique color or color scheme, stick with it. Remember, repetition leads to ownership. Once you own the color, do not change it. No matter how tired you get of the color, do not change it. No matter how much your kids tell you that the color needs to be updated, be made more modern, do not change it.
The biggest and best graphics design team in the industry is Service Nation’s. When you join the Service Nation Alliance, you will be able to tap into this team for vehicle wrap designs, literature creation, and more as part of your membership. Learn more at a free Success Day seminar. Call 877-262-3341 and ask for more information or view the schedule of upcoming Success Days at the Service Roundtable’s website. Visit www.ServiceRoundtable.com.
A serial entrepreneur with 40 years of industry experience, Matt Michel is member of the Contracting Business Hall of Fame and a Speaker/Writer/Rancher with Ranchlands of Texas LLC.
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