Mousetrap Marketing Series #27-#28

April 23, 2007

The Mousetrap Series…by Matt Michel

The Mousetrap Series is about helping you sell more mousetraps, no matter what the mousetrap is that you sell. I don’t care how good your mousetrap is, few people will buy it if you do not market it well. 

The next few tips in the Mousetrap Series relate directly to graphic design. As a business owner you do not need to know everything there is to know about graphic design. You do not need to perform graphic design. However, you should be able to recognize the basics of good design when you see it. After all, it’s your money that’s getting spent.

Since it helps to "see" examples, you might want to download a copy of the "Build a More Profitable Service Business" notes by clicking on the Link below…

27. Use Color Sparingly
Having the capability to use 16 million colors does not mean they should all be used. Color should be used sparingly with graphic elements and fonts. Remember, black on white text is the easiest to read.

28. Use Color By Design
Color should be used to set a tone or to draw attention. You’ve probably seen black & white photographs with one part colorized. Think of how the color draws your attention. Now, use this principle in your marketing.

Color and Brands
Color can be identified with a brand. For example, think of Home Depot and you think of orange. Think of Mary Kay Cosmetics and pink springs to mind. UPS has a virtual monopoly on boring old brown.

Pick and Different Color Than Your Competitor
If you have a leading competitor associated with a particular color, select a different one. For example, do you see more Coke signage or Pepsi signage? Most people say Coke. Yet, there’s just as much Pepsi signage. Coke, however, is the category leader and they use red. Pepsi, with red and blue, also used red as their primary color for years. People, in casual glances, would see Pepsi signage and subconsciously register "Coke." Recently, Pepsi’s caught on and begun using more and more blue.

The color spectrum makes a difference. The red end of the spectrum is focused slightly in front of the retinas and appears to move toward you. It attracts attention.
Blue is at the opposite end, appearing to move away. It communicates stability.

Over time we’ve associated colors in certain ways.

Red Attention! (stop signs)
Purity (wedding dress)
Royalty (color of kings)
Luxury (limos)
Environmental (trees)
Leadership (blue ribbons)

Picking a Color
Why did we pick an aqua green for the Service Roundtable? Simple. In the heating and air conditioning industry, 90% of the companies use red or blue. We wanted something different. We also wanted something that’s casual and modern. The aqua green, which is often associated with the beach is casual. While our company is deadly serious about business, we are casual (a tour of the world headquarters would illustrate that) and try not to take ourselves too seriously.

If no one’s claimed a color, seize it. When Ahron Katz wanted to get people to notice his company’s trucks, he started advertising that they were the company with the little red trucks. The more he pushed it, the more people began to see the trucks all over town. When a couple of smaller companies tried to benefit by buying red trucks, Ahron didn’t mind. Like Coke and Pepsi, they saw the competitive trucks and thought about Ahron’s company.

In Toledo, Romanoff Electric started painting tools purple to keep people from stealing them. Eventually, purple became the color Romanoff used for everything. They gave out purple polos to customers. They outfitted employees in purple. People who saw purple on a job site knew in an instant that Romanoff was doing the electrical work.


Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2004 Matt Michel

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