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Is a fear of standing out leading to boring marketing?

By JAMES COAKES Published 31st Dec 2013
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A survey of 2,000 people conducted by Crown Paints found that four out five of us paint our walls at home white or cream. One third of those surveyed admitted that they were 'scared' to choose bolder colours while a quarter chose those colours because they felt they would 'never go out of fashion'.

Meanwhile a survey undertaken by the fashion industry found that more than 80% of people stick to black, grey or white clothes while the AA's annual survey found that silver was the most popular car colour at 29%, followed by blue at 23% and then black at 23%. Add all these up and you will see that 75% of people choose a car in one of the top three colours.

You could argue that these colours are stylish and tasteful. Imagine someone driving around in a colourful car wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a certain type of character comes to mind. However, it does suggest that the average person is a conformist who is wary of expressing himself, or herself, in a way that stands out. 

Does this reticence express itself in the marketing industry? Large brands tend to be fairly bold. They understand that they need to stand out and create a strong, memorable identity. Some small businesses also understand this and you often see clever 'stand out' marketing. However, it's unusual. The 20 - 25% model may be representative, but it's actually probably far less than that.

It's not appropriate in every case for a business to be bold in its marketing. Sometimes you need to put across other values, such as trust and reliability. However, that doesn't mean that you have to be boring.

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