Cadbury’s Win Exclusive Rights to Pantone 2685C Purple, and the Importance of Brand Recognition.

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Pantone 2685C

Following a High Court battle, Cadbury secured exclusive rights to their shade of purple, Pantone 2685C. Which they have used for over 100 years.

After a four year long legal battle with competitors Nestle. Cadbury can now exclusively use that shade of purple on their milk chocolate bars and drinks.

Some people think that being able to trademark a shade of colour is ridiculous. However being able to trademark Pantone 2685C for Cadbury’s is vital for brand recognition and protecting their brand. Cadbury’s feel that protection of vital marketing assets (such as the pantone colour) are of significant strategic importance. And will help them grow their current 34% UK market share. (Source: Marketing Week 2010).


What is brand recognition?

Brand recognition is the ability of consumers to recognise a brand when they see your product, packaging or logo.

For example when you see that chocolate in purple packaging, you think of Cadbury’s. When you see a meerkat in a red velvet smoking jacket, you think of Compare the Market. (Not meerkat, remember.)


Why is it so important?

Brand recognition is so important because people buy from brands they know and trust.

Given the choice between a Cadbury’s chocolate bar and an unheard of brand of chocolate, most people would choose Cadbury’s. As they know the brand and they know what they’ll get.

While people are cautious with their money nowadays. Sometimes they would rather spend more money buying from a brand they trust. Rather than spending less on a brand they’ve never used before.

The brand they’ve never used before may not live up to their expectations or provide the results they were after. Which would be viewed as a waste of money.

Earlier in the year an iPhone app called ‘Logos Quiz Game’ was released. Which tests your ability to name a company even when the company name is removed from the logo. It’s surprising how many you can name before you begin to struggle and how many of them you can name even though you’ve never been a customer of theirs.

Logos Quiz Game is proof that with a well designed logo and brand recognition, your company can still be recognised.


Why securing rights to Pantone 2685C is so important for Cadbury’s.

When you see that shade of purple, you automatically think of Cadbury’s. You don’t have to think about it, you recognise the colour and associate it with Cadbury’s automatically.

Over the past few years we’ve seen many supermarket own-brands imitating well known and established brands. Similar packaging can fool consumers into purchasing a supermarket brand product rather than the genuine brand product that they actually intended to buy.

Whether consumers are genuinely fooled by copycat packaging, or are fully aware that they aren’t the same brand but choose to buy it because it looks the same yet it’s cheaper is irrelevant. Because established brands are losing out on sales.

Being able to secure their own shade of purple reduces the chance of Cadbury’s losing sales to copycat brands.

If you think you brand is being copied, we’ve put together a guide on how to protect your copy, images, brand and ideas.


How do The Marketing People approach brand recognition?

Brand Recognition is a key aspect of the corporate identity development. Organisations that place a strong emphasis on corporate or brand identity undoubtedly have a strategy for brand recognition.

When developing branding and corporate identity programs, we deliver recognition into each stage. These stages essentially are:

  • Naming
  • Wordmark development
  • Application of colour
  • Symbol Development

The approach for different businesses in different stages of maturity varies. But as a general rule of thumb, we apply the following recognition framework to the key branding stages:



We construct names using a bespoke framework that has been evolved over many years. At the heart of it is uniqueness, but also authenticity. We use a range of techniques including acronyms, morphemes, constructed words and literal descriptions. We slice, dice, chop and change. Having serious fun with a word until it has the right tone, catch and can be legally protected with an available domain. Often how a name sounds can be the difference between acceptance or rejection. The name may be conceptually correct, but if it doesn’t sound quite right then it likely will not work.


Wordmark Development

The wordmark (sometimes called the Logotype) is the typeface that is used to ‘write’ the business name. As a visual device, a font is able to convey the essence and positioning of the business it is used to brand. Getting this right is a delicate business, as there are a lot of fonts out there and many companies use similar fonts. For example, one of the many wonders of Helvetica is how it is used in a whole range of applications from directional street signage to high fashion brands.

In brand identity design, in order to subtly differentiate from the font that is used to create the wordmark. It is important to personalise and alter the font to adapt it more closely to the spirit and essence of the business. Along with better trademark criteria.


Application of colour

In different cultures, different colours have different meanings. We all know the obvious ones, however when The Marketing People look at brand recognition we need to consider these influencing factors in relation to operating markets, and also know how our client competes in relation to colour as a message communication tool and the colours used by competitors.

It is important to map these in order for the client to see where competitors operate visually, then it is important to experiment with colour that works with the brand or identity design and produces a balance that is recognisable and also, retainable. Is it memorable is a question we always ask of our designs.


Symbol development

Every business in the world has the potential to be well branded. Most will use a symbol to visually represent their brand essence and what they are there to do.

As branding has evolved, these have become known as ‘visual devices’ and as they deliver value, are heavily legally protected. Most had humble beginnings for example – the Nike Swoosh reportedly cost $35 in the ‘70s. The iconic Apple symbol was designed for not considerably more.

As most symbols are abstract, it is arguable that it is the business behind them that transfers its value to the symbol and then vice versa over time. This reinforces the point that a brand is only as good as the business behind it. It also takes time for symbolic recognition to be achieved.

We approach symbol design from the baseline of simplicity. If the symbol can be faxed, emailed, photocopied, created as an external sign, used easily on stationery and most importantly be recreated in black and white then it is an example of good design. All too often symbols are over complicated, and cloud over their ineffectiveness with over complication.

From there it is a matter of taste, aesthetics and the skill of our identity designers to capture the essence of the business in an abstract shape.

The approach for different types of business is slightly different. As an example, we have considered three generic types:


Emerging consumer brand

The importance here is to develop an instant recognition. In branding a business like this, it is important that the business name stands out, is possibly punchy or energetic, and typifies the product or service in a way that will resonate with the target audience. From this, the brand architecture will follow these themes and build around this initial idea.

Good examples of this are innocent smoothies, reggae reggae sauce brand and also the emerging healthy snack food business – graze

What do we think about the new ‘Everything Everywherebrand though – instant recognition? The jury is out on that one.


A large, established B2B firm

Again, depending on the market or audience, the business name will more than likely be more formal and/or corporate. If the business competes in a relatively narrow or mature market then it is important to build recognition through modernisation (often older B2B businesses have not held much value in branding), and a strong positioning through colour application and logo design. By lifting this aspect of the brand, the business is able to refresh awareness, relevance and subsequently recognition within its market.

Good examples where businesses have rebranded to reflect their movement with the times are financial, tax and business advisers Grant Thornton and accounting firm PWC


An online retail business

With online retail set to continually grow, and online technology becoming ever sophisticated the purely online businesses now face increasing competition from high street businesses now running multi-channel operations. It is increasingly important for the purely online operation to have a strong brand and value proposition.

Consumers increasingly do their research online and compare prices of products they have seen in store with online operators. However for them to purchase online, there must be a degree of trust, sophistication and comfort in the brand they are buying from. Therefore credible, volume online businesses need a strong brand and strong brand application throughout the website. This includes copy tone, graphic imagery, and brand style applied to supporting online marketing (email, banner adverts, remarketing ads and so on). When developing an online brand, The Marketing People ensure that the brand essence, in line with the business that it is in is clearly communicated throughout the site and supporting communications. Brands that do this very well exclusively online (apart from the obvious: Amazon, eBay et al) are ASOS and mydeco.


Branding is really personal, and can sometimes feel like a bit of a lonely journey, so please use more of the blogs from our branding category to keep you focused.

Get in touch with us now and lets talk about how we can help your business and it’s brand. Call us now on 01543 495 752 or visit our branding services page for more information. 

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