I have previously reviewed the book The Culturally Customized Website. As I said in my review, this book gives several different ways on how you can customize your communication to different cultures.
One of the many factors multicultural marketers must consider is use of colors and their different meanings and associations in different cultures.
Like many cultural generalizations, these generalizations may be over used, old, out of proportion, limited in context. It is much easier for a person with good cultural awareness to “interpret” how best to use these color associations in any cultural marketing campaign.
What’s Your Favorite Color?
The question ‘what is your favorite color’ is one frequently asked when people are getting to know each other. Children like asking this question and will occasionally go so far as to only dress in that one special color. Some people even prefer to be associated and befriend other people that share a favorite color.
Personally, my favorite color is turquoise. I like any color associations with turquoise. I like anything with turquoise in it. My eyes are reflexively attracted to anything with any shade of turquoise in it. And if I have a particular whim to buy something in turquoise, I have a very specific shade I’ll go for. I also like vibrant colors rather than muted colors.
But I think that’s because I grew in the Bahamas, up surrounded by lovely shades of blue and vibrant colors… and I don’t live around those colors anymore.
If I had grown up elsewhere, I doubt my favorite color would be turquoise.
If I had continued to live in the Bahamas, I don’t know if I would have a favorite color.
So what’s your favorite color? Any idea why?
What Difference Is There In Color?
On an individual level, different people like different colors and associate different things to colors.
On a group level, different cultures associate different things to colors as a group.
It’s interesting to see how these likes and dislikes are created. It’s interesting to see how colors become associated with different things in different places.
How Can International Marketers Use Colors?
It is just not possible to read up on the meanings of various color associations and expect to create an all out winning cultural marketing campaign.
You can still commit a cultural communication blunder if you rely solely on the cultural meanings of color to create something for a different culture.
Cross cultural communication is a subtle mixture of everything that goes into it.
Use the study of different color associations across the globe to enlighten your existing cultural knowledge. It helps to see cultural differences across a wide range of parameters.
Studying the cultural differences in color associations does not really help you to understand cultural differences. But it does give you a broader view on cultural differences.
Where Can You Read More?
There are two places where you can find out more details on the different meanings of color.
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