I was listening to Dan Patrick the other day, and he asked the Boise State football head coach if it were time to change the field to green since his team is now respected and poised to win a national championship. Boise State’s stadium sports blue turf, or “Smurf Turf.”
The head coach laughed at the question and said they will not be changing the color. He said it is “unforgettable.” In a sea of sameness of college football, Boise has found a way to stand up and stand out from all the other teams. This fall, Eastern Washington University will unveil its red field. Nebraska may think it is the red wave, but Eastern Washington is as red as it gets. They even have a red song playing under their promotional video.
Color branding can be powerful, but you must remember a few simple rules:
You must be a differentiating color. In other words, you can’t be a ‘red’ retailer, because Target owns red. If all the hospitals in your area use blue, and you want to stand out in the healthcare arena, why would you select blue? You probably can’t ’out-blue’ the hospitals. You must select a color that will stand out from all the color marketers in your area, or you run the risk of inadvertently linking your brand to the stronger color-marketer’s brand.
You must commit. Wartburg College has a bright orange track. That is commitment to color branding. You will take some kidding, but it is the kidding that means that your color branding is really working. UPS is so brown, they even ask, “What can brown do for you today.” The drivers are brown all the way down to their socks.
You must be ruthlessly consistent. John Deere is a particular shade of green and they closely guard that color. You can flash a picture of a green tractor for one second and the audience (even a non-farming audience) will guess that the tractor is a John Deere. That is enfranchised color identification.
If you would like to see a little red, watch these two YouTube videos. As the coach for Eastern Washington says, the new red turf has brought EWU ”national attention (including an article in USA Today).” And it really gives EWU some home-field branding advantage.
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