One element of your brand (whether you are a law firm or a country…like Canada) is colour and its consistent use throughout your marketing mix. The idea is to provide consistent visual cues so that your target audience associates the visual cue with an emotion (hopefully positive) about your brand. If you continuously change up your colours or use them inconsistently it can create confusion and dilute the clarity of your messaging. Instead of a clear association between visual cue and concept you get people wondering if you are trying to say something else entirely…and what that might be exactly.
Case in point…Canada has great brand colours. Red and white: high contrast, vibrant, energetic, bold, fun and so forth. So, for the life of me I cannot figure out the thinking that went into the god awful building wrap that is currently displayed on the federal building (also Canada Post HQ) located at the corner of Georgia and Homer here in Vancouver.
Corner of Georgia & Homer, Vancouver BC 2010
If there is one time when you’d think brand colours might be crucial…it’s during a major international event…you know…like the Olympics. In addition to the absence of any significant amount of white (one of our two brand colours) we have a colour combo of black, yellow and red within the banner placed in stacked stripes no less, ok they are in slightly the wrong order but doesn’t it remind you of….
… the German flag. (no offense to our German friends it’s just that it’s supposed to be OUR banner)…add in several different colours of blue and the Cheerios brand and you have the dog’s breakfast. Terrible. Bad design and a huge missed opportunity. We have some of the best brand colours of any country and boy did we blow it – in my opinion. The cool swag is all Red, White and Black…as sported by Brian McKeever and the golden boy himself, Alexandre Bilodeau (they are honestly the only good things about the piece) and at least gets some of the colours right…but the country name is…cut off. Granted everyone knows the name Alexandre Bilodeau…now. But a couple weeks ago that was more of a “might” know his name and where he hails from.
So…what happened? Somebody dropped the ball – that’s what. Wonder if it was the same people who forgot we might need a Canada Pavilion and stuck us with a tent? Hmmmmm.