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YOU CAN'T OWN A RAINBOW
31 July 2015

Studio Thoughts Own A Rainbow

YOU CAN'T OWN A RAINBOW

I had a client once who believed that they owned red. It’s nonsense. Nobody owns red or any other colour. Colours are from nature. It’s like saying you own a rainbow.

Not even Cadbury’s could get trademark registration on their purple. “The required clarity, precision, self- containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration” did not exist, said the Court of appeal.

You can’t hope to differentiate simply by drenching everything you own in red, purple, orange or anything that’s the new black. There are only so many colours that humans can perceive and they are way outnumbered by the amount of brands out there. Adherence to a PMS colour will guarantee consistency, not uniqueness.

Categories lean towards particular colours. Fast food tends to be red. Pharmacies are almost universally green or blue and their store interiors are predominantly white. Colour clues will get you into the category but won’t differentiate you within it.

Differentiation comes from having an offer so unique, so fundamentally different from anyone else, that even if someone does knock it off the imitation will always look second rate. It could be your service proposition. It could be your product, or how it’s made. It could be the unique way your stores are put together. Or a combination of all of the above.

Just don’t try to differentiate with colour alone. Like a rainbow, it’s not ownable.

 

Gary McCartney is the owner of McCartney Design and can be reached on newbusiness@mccartneydesign.com.au

31 July 2015
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