Posted on December 8, 2017
Why does liquid dish soap have a color? After all, the essential ingredients of liquid dish soap are water, cleaning and foaming agents, antibacterials, stabilizers, and agents that control thickness and clarity.1None of these are naturally colored candle apple green, blue raspberry, or lemon, nor do any of their mixtures result in these bright, final colors. To achieve these colors, manufacturers must mix in dyes during the blending process. So why go to the extra trouble, spending extra time and money procuring, assessing, and admixing dyes? For the same reason that perfumes are included: customer perception.
Color Impacts Consumer Perception
Dyes have no effect on the cleanliness of the dishes. Yellow dish soap works precisely as well as blue, green, or orange dish soap. Yet, customers will prefer one color of soap to another and will purchase their chosen color preferentially when the time comes to replenish their supply. Most customers intuitively understand that yellow soap does not clean better than blue soap; their preference is not, then, based on assumptions of relative efficacy. Rather, it is the color itself that they like. Perhaps it is the color of soap they grew up with, perhaps it matches the color scheme in the kitchen, perhaps it corresponds to the scent they like, perhaps it is their favorite of all colors. Whatever the reason, dish soap color can be a significant factor in purchasing decisions.
Not only do customers choose dish soap partially in response to an emotional reaction to color, color can also inspire loyalty in a brand. Rather than making a new choice each time customers return to the store to resupply, we shop to a significant degree based on habit. If “the blue one” worked well last time, they’re likely to choose “the blue one” again. In this way, customers begin to recognize and associate brand with color and color becomes an important aspect of a brand’s identity. Even if competing liquid dish soap manufacturers have a similar color complement, small differences in shade and hue can be enough to distinguish the products. These differences work best in combination with bottle shape and size and label text and images to create a cohesive aesthetic and promote both brand recognition and loyalty. The importance of color in liquid dish soap requires manufacturers to implement a strict regimen of color quality control.
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