The ‘7-second rule’ is a recognized concept in human relationships, signifying the time it takes to form an initial judgment about someone upon first meeting. Within this brief span, we swiftly determine whether we form a positive or negative impression, using it as the basis for further judgments.
While first impressions cannot be the sole basis for all value judgements, it is undeniable that they constitute the most enduring and influential pieces of information. This stands as a proven fact, validated through the experimental verification of the ‘primacy effect’ (the tendency for information encountered first to be better remembered than later information) by the American social psychologist Solomon Asch. This influence of first impressions extends beyond individuals and is equally applicable to products.
Capturing the customer’s attention during the initial product launch is crucial in marketing. The objective is to make a striking first impression with something that captivates their gaze. Companies often experiment with distinctive designs or showcase dazzling effects to achieve this. This is essential for grabbing the attention of potential customers and purchase the product. This aspect is significant because humans rely heavily on visual input, accounting for approximately 87% of the information acquired from external surroundings.
‘Color’ is the element that holds significant importance in the realm of ‘Visual Communication.’ It effortlessly imparts distinctiveness to products and conveys individual meanings associated with each color. This would be the reason why numerous brands contemplate the Communication Color they will present to customers during product development.
In essence, Communication Color is the chosen color aimed at conveying the product’s concept and brand image to customers. This color is prominently featured across various channels, including product advertisements and catalogs. Automotive brands also extensively use it; through advertisements, catalogs, and various events, they showcase vehicles adorned in specific colors to effectively convey the values and messages embedded in each model.
As seen in several models that communicate a distinctive image through unique color palettes, Hyundai Motor Group is also dedicating considerable effort to the development of Communication Colors. These achievements stem from the efforts of Hyundai Motor Group’s color designers, who strive to breathe life into their products and deliver a dramatic emotional experience to customers.
Yet, some argue that the effects of color development are not substantial. Their claim is based on the fact that achromatic colors such as black, white, and silver dominate the majority of car sales. However, the significance of Communication Colors lies in communicating and delivering messages with customers, rather than just increasing sales. Furthermore, the advancement of technology in materials, finishes, textures and so on, during the process of creating new colors, also has a positive influence on the existing ones, making it far from a futile effort.
Hyundai Motor Group started venturing into distinctive and diverse colors with the introduction of the 8th generation SONATA (DN8). This generation prominently featured unique Communication Colors such as Glowing Yellow, Flame Red, and Shimmering Silver. Those newly introduced colors brought out the design of the 8th generation SONATA, maximizing the emphasis on detailed features. This bold endeavor was followed by the introduction of colors in subsequent models that respond to consumer demands, align with market trends, and bring out the character of the vehicles.
Hyundai Motor Group actively incorporates product characteristics, design concepts, and brand identity into the development of Communication Colors. For instance, Hyundai Motor company’s high-performance brand, N, emphasizes its identity through the exclusive color of ‘Performance Blue.’ Additionally, the Group applies trendy colors to new sedan and SUV models, with each reflecting its distinct concept and aspirational narrative, aiming to satisfy customer demands.
The incorporation of colors like Aero Silver Matte and Nocturne Gray Matte in the facelift model of the 8th generation SONATA, known as SONATA The Edge, reflects the growing customer demand for matte colors. Moreover, The all-new SANTA FE has expanded its Communication Color selection from the usual two to a total of five. From vibrant chromatic colors like Earthy Brass Metallic Matte, Ocado Green Pearl, and Terracotta Orange to unique achromatic hues like Creamy White Pearl and Abyss Black Pearl, The all-new SANTA FE offers a diverse range of colors. This reflects the vehicle’s versatile character, fitting seamlessly into various customer lifestyles.
To develop a range of vibrant vehicle colors, Hyundai Motor Group’s CMF designers constantly observe trends and make efforts to understand and empathize with various issues like society, environment, and culture. These surveys form the basis for the development of new conceptual Communication Colors, requiring an average of over a year for the creation of each new color.
The colors under recent development specifically adhere to global eco-friendly trends. In partnership with specialists in eco-friendly materials, the ongoing collaboration focuses on developing paints with bio-elements like rapeseed flowers and flaxseeds, alongside exterior colors that incorporate bamboo components, including Bamboo Charcoal Pigment. Those efforts represent the legitimate eco-friendly direction the automotive industry should pursue in the future, not only minimizing the adverse environmental impact but also bringing about a positive effect by elevating the brand’s image.
Assigning names to Communication Colors is also an essential element in conveying messages to customers. Hyundai Motor Group adheres to specific guidelines for naming colors, commonly using the format ‘descriptor, color, pigment type.’ For the ‘descriptor’ section, intuitive words associated with the color are selected. The ‘color’ section indicates hierarchical colors such as blue, red, orange and so on. Lastly, the ‘pigment type’ category classifies the color into metallic, pearl, glossy, matte, and more. The color ‘Hallasan Green (Glossy)’ for the GENESIS G90 follows the naming system combining a descriptor (Hallasan) with a color (Green) and indicating the pigment type (Glossy). Such structured naming system provides an effective way to communicate various information, including color, pigment type, and the messages encapsulated in the palette, clearly to customers.
Successful car launches require a deep understanding of the consumer’s psyche. Therefore, the car’s design undergoes extensive considerations across various dimensions from the planning stage. Reflecting on past shortcomings and areas of disappointment, while also contemplating new ideas, it becomes evident that effective communication with customers is the most crucial factor. The success and prosperity of a product are intricately linked to how effectively it communicates its concept and story to the customers. This is why Communication Color has become a paramount focus in recent development efforts.
It’s common for customers to weigh their options on the color choice until the final stages of purchasing a car. The decision becomes challenging due to the various personalities each color possesses and how well it fits with the vehicle. Even though most choices may lean towards neutral colors, the value of Communication Colors with unique tones and textures is not diminished. The immeasurable value lies in communicating with customers through those colors. Hyundai Motor Group is committed to persistently engaging with customers through a diverse and unique range of Communication Colors.
Under the supervision of Bongrae Kim, Senior Researcher of Hyundai CMF team
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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