By Dian Hasan | March 5, 2010
The role of Culture in Brand-Building. Admittedly, we’ve all heard about its utmost importance, but seldom do we really understand until we are faced with situations that involve business people from other cultures. In our globalized world of today, one doesn’t need to deal business and travel to distant shores to commit a cultural faux pas (a cultural blunder).
Culture drives human behavior, touching every aspect; from language, customs, habits, body language, dining manners, facial expressions, social etiquette, the concept of time… even the way we drive.
What many people don’t realize is the POWERFUL MEANINGS that different cultures attach to seemingly mundane daily things we often take for granted, like Color, Symbols and Signs, among others.
The greater challenge today is no longer how people from the West & East, North & South interact and forge business relationships. But how the business landscape has changed, because business is color and country-border blind. So, you’ll have unique interactions between people of different cultures that was a alien concept just a few years ago; the Argentinian and the Armenian, the Bangladeshi and the Belgian, the Chinese and the Cameroonian, the Dane and the Dominican.. everyone’s doing business with whomever and culture is inescapable.
Because Brands have no borders! But Brand-Building requires a basic understanding of cultures, which is crucial in communicating brands across different cultures, and being CULTURALLY ON-CODE, and in tune with the local customs!
Meanings and associations are applied to many things – flowers, gemstones and colors. So when it comes to choosing your wedding colors, do you know what your choices are actually implying? Here are some examples about how different cultures and attitudes have attached different meanings to colors which you may be thinking of choosing for your wedding.
Traditionally the color of love and passion in Western cultures, red is also the color of choice for extroverts & males. In China, red symbolizes happiness and good fortune and you will often see Chinese brides wearing a red wedding dress. Red is depicts bad temper and anger, and is the color of Mars – which is named after the God of War. As red is a warm color it is associated with fiery heat, warmth and danger or burning, and as the same color as blood, red carries strong symbolism with the essence of life and vitality.
Pink has always been a popular choice for weddings as it is the color of universal love. A favorite amongst lovers of beauty. Pink carnations mean ‘I will never forget you’. With pink being a combination of red and white it takes on the symbolism of those colors. White stands for the potential for fullness whilst red is said to help achieve that fullness. Deeper shades of pink are said to neutralize disorder, aggression and violence. This is also the color that promotes feelings of caring, love, acceptance, self-worth and tenderness.
Orange is a warm color which can evoke a sense of fire. Subtle shades of orange are said to stimulate the appetite and reduce tension, whilst brighter shades promote high energy and anxiety. It also considered a power or healing color and can stimulate enthusiasm and creativity. The meaning of orange is vitality and endurance whilst people who like orange are said to be thoughtful and sincere. It is also the color associated with Lady Luck! As red is associated with fiery heat, orange is associated with the warmth of the sun. It is a dynamic color which brings with characteristics of curiosity and wanting to try new things.
A popular wedding color which brings with it a sense of warmth and comfort. It said that brown can also stimulate the appetite and make food taste better. People who chose brown as their favorite color are said to be conventional and orderly. On the negative side it is said they can be lazy. It is the color of earth and is associated with the material side of life. Brown is a color which can coordinate with many different surroundings, being a mixture of red, blue and yellow. It is a stabilizing color which can promote practical energy and mental focus. Certain shades of brown can create a sense of warmth, comfort, wholesomeness, naturalness and dependability.
As it is often associated with the sun it is regarded as a cheerful color. Widely associated with spring time, it is revered in China as an imperial color, although some Western studies have shown yellow to be many peoples least favorite color. It is the shade of yellow which determines its meaning. A bright sunny yellow is the easiest to see and is full of creative and intellectual energy. It symbolizes wisdom, joy and happiness. Those of high intellect will favor yellow. Yellow daffodils symbolize unrequited love. Yellow can bring with it a sense of clarity and awareness, but it is the different shades of yellow which can determine its meaning. A yellow green means deceit and can create disorientation. An orange yellow gives a sense of establishments whilst a light yellow can clear the mind leaving it active and alert.
Green has both sides of the coin. Associated with spring and prosperity it can also be a negative color in terms of feelings of jealousy and nausea. For many centuries green has been thought to represent fertility, and was the color of choice for many 15th century brides. Green also means learning, harmony and growth and is often considered a safe color. It symbolizes well being and balance as well as money. It contains the energies of nature, growth and the desire to expand.
Often associated with the color of water and the sky, blue has come to symbolize serenity and infinity, particularly shades of aqua and teal. Be careful though because some shades of blue can cause feelings of sadness. Pure blue shades are the colors of inspiration, sincerity and spirituality and is the color most often chosen by conservative people. Blue is a calming and soothing color, whilst a dark blue is the color of truth & moderation. Wear blue gemstones such as sapphires or topaz for a sense of calm. Turquoise blue symbolizes youth and communication. This shade of blue has been traditionally used for protection, health, confidence & strength.
Purple has often been associated with Royalty in the Western world especially as purple was a hard and expensive color to produce. Even in today’s modern world where purple is as easy to produce as any other color, it still invokes as sense of elegance and sophistication. Purple is said to be the color of good judgment and profitable to those seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is also used to represent mystery and magic, as well as peace of mind. Violet shades of purple are associated with imagination and inspiration.
The symbol of wealth and prosperity and of good health. Those who favor gold are said to be optimistic. Gold is linked with divinity and is associated with those gods linked to the sun.
The color of purity and a mainstay of many weddings. It is the color of kindness, wholeness and completion. Carry white daisies in your bouquet as a symbol of loyal love.
Possibly the most misunderstood color. Often associated with formality and elegance but also death. Native Americans believe black to be a good color as it is the color of soil, the bringer of life. There are those who will say that black is not a color, it is merely the absence of color. It is often linked with the unknown, unseen, fear & bad experiences. In a positive light black is seen as being restful, mysterious and gives a sense of potential and possibility.
Regarded as the color of sorrow, gray is actually this years color of choice for weddings. People who favor gray are seen as narrow minded or loners. However a silver gray can be an active color. Native Americans associated it with friendship and it is seen as the symbol of security, maturity and dependability. It also gives off a sense of responsibility and conservative practicality. Gray can be seen as a restful color although some will associate it with feelings of emptiness and devoid of emotion. It has a cooling effect when teamed with other colors especially more vibrant shades.