Monday, February 3, 2014

Get Your Sales in Black & White

Soon after it began publication in 1967, the magazine Psychology Today challenged readers to submit as many phrases as possible in which the word “black” had positive connotations. The writers got us started with phrases like “Black Beauty” and “in the black,” but contended that it would be much tougher to meet the challenge than to think of phrases in which “white” implied positive.
     Now, approaching a half century later, researchers at Washington State University, Boston University, and University of Connecticut find that white has more positive connotations overall than does black among consumers. The preference held for both the Caucasian-Americans and African-Americans in the study. 
     Consumers tend to give higher ratings to products, packaging, and ads which feature white than those featuring black.
     There are cultural determinants of color associations. In most of North America, white brings to mind purity and cleanliness, while in most Asian countries, white is associated with death. Shoppers in India, Japan and many parts of Europe think of black as a negative color. Subconscious associations in the U.S. are of power with a touch of menace. But in the Middle East, black has generally positive associations.
     Black and white color preferences are usually subconscious—called “implicit attitudes” by consumer psychologists—and these preferences can be negated when shoppers are made aware of them. Such awareness comes, in particular, when the black and white has to do with people rather than products.
     In a Hong Kong University of Science and Technology study, White American and Black American consumers were asked to view a series of clothing ads featuring a mix of Black models and White models. Later, each study participant was asked to estimate the number of White and Black models in the ads.
     All the consumers in the study—whether Black or White—were generally accurate in guessing the number of White models in the ads. But with the Black models, the Black consumers’ estimates were more influenced than the estimates of the White consumers by a tendency of those study participants to actually count the number of models.
     The researchers attribute the differences to a high interest consumers of a racial minority have in checking that their race is represented equitably. Researchers from Stanford University found that Black Americans had more positive reactions to an ad with Black actors than American Whites had to the same sort of ad featuring White actors.

Click below for more: 
Explicate Explicit/Implicit Attitudes 
Exercise Cultural Sensitivity in Color Use 
Spring Your Colors 
Stand Out 
Race for Recognition 
Diversify Job Duties in Diversity Management

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