.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Great moments in sensory branding. Or does your air conditioner dream in color?

In his book, Brand Sense, Martin Lindstrom wrote about building powerful brands through all five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. I think the folks at York Air Conditioners must have bought a copy. They've just launched their new Affinity™ series of air conditioners -- the first air conditioner that gives homeowners a choice of seven designer colors.

Actually, it took more than Lindstrom's book to make that happen. According to York's Web site, they engaged Fitch:Worldwide, a leading branding and design firm, to help them through the process. They did plenty of market research and focus groups to get the colors and style right. Plus they invested nearly $20 million in new tooling and facilities--all so you could say "I'll take Bermuda green."

There are seven Affinity colors in all: champagne, terra cotta, gunmetal blue, chocolate, Bermuda green, stone, and jet black. There's a fun
Flash demo for Affinity that lets you compare the seven air conditioner colors with six colors of siding and two colors each of brick, stucco and stone. In addition to color, you can also have the housing decorated with your college logo. The image above shows Nebraska.

Another company that makes color a large part of its brand is KitchenAid
®. For decades, their workhorse mixers came only in white. Then, in a blinding flash moment, they realized that people use their kitchens for more than just cooking. They use their kitchens (and everything in them) to define who they are, to help create their own personal brand. So now, the KitchenAid Artisan® Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer comes in 19 different colors, from empire red to mango.

I hope York's new color line is successful. To me, it's an important step in product and industrial design. I think the thing that works in its favor is that it's unexpected. Until York came along, we had no expectations of ever having a gunmetal blue air conditioner. Now we do. Let's see what happens.

Look, Robert! You know that Affinty thing well I know I'm from England but why on earth would you want an airconditioner outside? I know it's hot and everything but.......
Love, your mate, Sarah the Copywriter xxx
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