Continuing the theme of ‘red’ I wanted to talk about the effect of colour in branding and design. When we think of ‘Mega-brand’, Virgin, the colour we will associate with any of its products, is red. But how do we perceive this colour in relation to the brand – does red accurately convey the values and qualities of the Virgin ‘empire’, the third most recognised brand in the UK?
The Virgin Brand
Diverse and independent, Virgin’s businesses are licensed and branded under the Virgin group banner. The customer franchise is strong and applied to a vast range of businesses across sectors including music, finance, leisure, travel, communication and cosmetics.
Customer service oriented and fun, the Virgin ethos believes in delivering quality, innovative and value products whilst being authentic. The company values are listed as such:
- Fun – enjoyment and humour
- Value for money – simple not cheap
- Quality – attention to detail, not expensive for the sake of it
- Innovation – challenging convention, but not for the sake of being different
- Competetive challenge – responding to consumer needs, not being irrelevant
- Brilliant customer service – delivered by empowered, professional people
Colour cohesion is important in brand design to communicate authenticity. Research in to the relationship between marketing and colour has found that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%. Taking a look at some of the logos for different Virgin branded products and services, it’s apparent that as much diversity exists in the colours of the different brands as in the Virgin group itself. Criticism exists that Virgin’s multi brands don’t make a comfortable fit visually or culturally. Are we becoming confused as to who Virgin are anymore?
Because overall the ‘business personality’ of Virgin would appear youth-orientated, fun, confident and with its roots based in music, communication and travel; I would be looking at hues from a light, clean, fresh palette of yellow based colours to mirror these qualities (spring). I would choose different hues within this group to express the individual qualities of the brand products maintaining both visual and brand integrity.
While the colour red fits the bill for expressing any qualities in branding relating to action, courage, movement and energy; the qualities of fun and value for money are best represented by the colour orange, a hue combining red and yellow linking physical colour red’s action with yellow’s confidence. Orange relates to our feelings of comfort and enjoyment. There seems to be confusion in what the Virgin red is? (Slightly orangeish Pantone Warm Red C would work best).
‘Quality’ is best represented by the colour purple, and ‘innovation’ best represented by turquoise blues. Some gravitas is required within these brands, particularly in Virgin’s finance venture – Virgin Money. We want to trust that this fun, forward thinking brand can be trusted with our money, so slightly stronger (spring) blues ought to be considered to communicate trust and efficiency!