the apprentice… affordable luxury doesn’t have to be bland

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

The Apprentice - Modern gentleman product range. This opens a new browser window.

If you watched the UK apprentice on Wednesday night you would have seen Tom Gearing and Ricky Martin go through to the final for winning this week’s task.

The brief was to create an affordable luxury product range. They were then asked to present their range, along with their business model, to Lord Sugar and to leading industry experts.

Tom and Ricky created a grooming product range called  Modern Gentleman. They definitely had the better team work ethic, the best pitch and business plan. Based on this, it’s clear why they won. There was however, a unanimous thumbs down for their choice of brand colour – pure grey.

When it comes to colour psychology, pure grey is psychologically neutral. It has no positive effect. It communicates a lack of confidence and a fear of being exposed, essentially cloaking the personality.

It is no surprise the industry experts and the panel voiced their concern the brand was dull and boring. Even Tom admitted the branding he designed is boring and not exciting enough, stating “It’s a bit safe.” A visiting customer commented “The colour schemes on the labelling are also very very conservative.” Another customer stated “I’m not sure I like the branding to be honest, it’s not distinctive enough, it’s too bland.”

The Apprentice’s Nick Hewer explains the important of getting the branding right “get that wrong and people turn up their noses”.

This is where bringing in a brand colour psychology specialist would have been ideal.

If you fail to engage with your customers’ emotions, you’ll fail to make the sale.

Whenever we buy anything, it is because of an emotional reason. Afterwards, we explain our choices to ourselves on the basis of performance, or price. We like to think of ourselves as logical beings. But really we buy because of an emotional want or need.

“85% of shoppers place colour as a primary reason for when they buy a particular product.” Source: KISSmetrics

brand personality
Be really clear on the personality of your brand. Think about what your business stands for and who you want to attract as customers. Lord Sugar gave a steer in this task with values of affordable luxury.

When your business brand’s personality is authentically expressed, your current and potential customers will know; exactly what your business brand stands for and, how to choose your services and/or products with confidence.

engage with your customers’ emotions
Think about your customer’s experience of your brand, from their point of view. When they see your brand and your brand colours, what do they see and how do they feel?

Use the correct tone of colour/s in the right proportion to trigger the kinds of emotional responses that will make them feel they can trust you and your brand.

Lose the idea that a colour is just a colour. It is vitally important to your business that you use the right colours, in the right way for your brand at all times.

store styling
When it came to the styling of their ‘store’ they went for the minimalist look. This is actually a good concept as this is one design style that represents modern luxury and exclusivity. However styling is a skill. As they found out, it is more than just having a few things on a shelf. Instead they created what one observer called  it looks ‘like a closing down sale or something.’

what you can do
To find out more about the effects colour has on your business brand, products and store interiors, download my free e-book 7 mistakes most business owners make with their branding colours.

Image:  BBC The Apprentice.


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