The Power of Red

As promised in our Intro to the Psychology of color, in this post we are featuring the power of red.

“Red is a key color for 2019 as it is being worn either as a pop with neutrals like khaki, white or black or even head-to-toe.  Terms like “fearless”,“brave” and “irreverent” are currently being used to describe color not just on the fashion runways but by major retail brands as well.

Red has gained market share because of the popularity of streetwear brands like Supreme, which uses it as its main branding color.  Because of this, the instant visual connection for consumers currently with red is often that it is a youthful, energetic color with a strong ‘cool factor’.” Vicki Ostrow – Trend Editor at SanMar

Throughout history red has been a color of strength, sacrifice and courage, and is one of the most common colors used on national flags around the world. The use of red has similar connotations from country to country: the blood, sacrifice, and courage of those who defended their country; the sun, hope and warmth the color brings.  

Red is also the color associated with rebellion.  In the 17th century, a red flag was said to signal defiance; a besieged castle would raise a red flag to signal to their attackers that they would not surrender; made famous the world over in the musical, Les Miserables;

The reference to raising the “red flag” according to the Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1602 indicating that the flag was used by military forces to indicate that they were preparing for battle.

Elizabeth Arden first provided red lipstick to women marching for the vote in 1912. It is said that she used said a red lipstick in a time when wearing make-up itself was considered taboo.  It would appear the impact far exceeded the aesthetic.

In 2018, the Elizabeth Arden company released their MarchOn campaign in partnership with Reese Witherspoon along with their Red Door lipstick – 100% of the proceeds benefiting UN women. #TogetherWeMarchOn

Given 84% of US consumers consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when making buying decisions and the power of the color red, it’s no wonder that many social causes have opted for red brands to rally people to their cause.   In today’s age of corporate social responsibility, and the importance of purpose – red really is leading the charge.

For those in marketing and HR, it might just be the 20% jump in the next generation’s interests that is causing us to take notice; particularly in any region where talent is at a premium.

68% of US employees consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. The number jumps to 88% with respondents between the ages of 27-35.

Come back next time when we explore the color blue and all it means to your audience today.