Make Color & Style Indispensible Elements to Sell More Products

Have you never visited a Williams Sonoma store? Notice how the toaster they sell for $300 per unit is always displayed so prominently. Have you ever asked yourself who needs a $300 toaster when a perfectly acceptable bread toaster can be purchased for under $20 at any big box mass merchandise store? What is the impulse that makes a consumer spend such a premium on an otherwise mundane, everyday small electric appliance? Simple, color and style!

For many years my Product Development and Marketing Consulting firm has worked to create, produce, sell and market a vast range of Consumer Products from Sporting Goods to Pet Products to Toys and Games and Beauty Products.
Color and Design are integral to the successful campaigns we have created for this assortment of clients. The inclusion of unique visual cues in the products, packaging and branding are essential in creating consumer awareness and driving sales.

Every successful Brand has perfected a Color and Style palette that is unique to their product. The well known soft drink or energy drink Brands all have design and graphic cues that have become part of their Brand image. Tiffany has built their Brand around the distinctive Blue Box and packaging that is so lightly touched by printed graphics. New York City streets are travelled by thousands of pedestrians carrying the ubiquitous Big Brown Bag that is synonymous with the Bloomingdale’s Brand.

Auto manufacturers have perfected color and Branding cues that are unique to each flagship producer. Classic German cars are silver, British are British Racing Green, French are blue and Italian nameplates favor Blood Red. Mercedes Benz hoods are adorned with a three point star medallion, the Jaguar is marked with a leaping panther appearing to hang over the bonnet, Maserati famously sports a trident and most spectacular of all is the yellow prancing horse that screams Ferrari.

Product design itself is also crucial in the creation of a successful brand. Apple makes computers and electronics that are priced higher and sell much better than their competition. Why? Of course they have great performing products, but Apple units are uniquely designed. They do not look like any competitive products. Their color offerings, and product profiles are different in a uniquely Apple-way. Even the famous Apple logo is more classic, subtle, appealing.

Money invested in a top flight design engineer is always well spent in our Consumer Product world. Exclusive design features will result in product selling for a premium price. Is the Williams Sonoma toaster worth 15 times what the base brand sells for? Does it make your toast 15 times tastier? No. It commands the price point because it has been designed to create consumer desirability, pride of ownership.

Specialty stores such as Sunglass Hut, Sephora Cosmetics, Barney’s, Allen Edmonds Shoes and Tourneau Watch and Jewelry all sell a range of targeted goods at varying price points. The highest price points are always enjoyed by the product manufacturers that offer the most intense colors, maximum workmanship and prized visual design cues.

Germany is known for producing and exporting superior engineered products. I enjoy Krupps kitchen appliances for their visual style and wonderful performance features. The Scandinavian countries have perfected a design and color story that is wonderfully displayed in the Bauhaus school and at IKEA. The French Provence-style design for table ware is classic. And the Italian flair applied to any fashion or consumer product is, well………so wonderfully Italian.

When we see a beautifully designed product, sporting a vibrant color our eyes are immediately drawn to the object. We admire it. In many cases we come to desire ownership. There is nothing wrong with mass produced, rote products that provide a specific, basic utility. This type of product has enabled people to live better lives because large scale production makes these goods affordable. However, if you want to penetrate a brutally competitive consumer product marketplace and create Brand awareness a luscious color story and cool styling points will greatly enhance your chances for success.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.