Exploring consumers' product‐specific colour meanings

Hannele Kauppinen‐Räisänen (Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Harri T. Luomala (University of Vaasa/EPANET, Foodwest Ltd, Seinäjoki, Finland)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Publication date: 15 June 2010



The impact of colour is acknowledged, yet empirical studies on colours with marketing implications are rare. The paper seeks to advance our understanding of the role of package colours in consumers' product experiences by studying the relationship between colour meanings and product. It also aims at offering insights into the meanings associated with colours in a product context.


Understanding of package colours was elicited by applying the preference‐consumption difference interview technique. The data were analysed applying means‐end chain. Accordingly, it was possible to detect, not only the multifunction played by package colours, but also meanings that colours conveyed at different abstraction level. As colour research within marketing was fragmented and no such colour theory exists, the paper developed a theoretical framework for the paper.


Based on the evidence, the proposed framework is further elaborated so that it could better capture the connections between colour and consumers' product experiences. Hence, the paper supports the significance of the functions emphasised by past research and uncovers the qualitative connections between packages colour meanings and product type.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should extend the size of the sample, types of products, geographical area, and colours.

Practical implications

The evidence shows that colours should be carefully considered when launching new brands or, indeed, when brand packages are redesigned, the multifunction of colours should be taken into consideration.


The paper covers an area neglected by past research, which has implications for understanding consumers' brand preferences.



Kauppinen‐Räisänen, H. and Luomala, H. (2010), "Exploring consumers' product‐specific colour meanings", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 287-308. https://doi.org/10.1108/13522751011053644

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