- Previous research suggested that unlike marketing goods,
marketing services required manipulating the physical environment as
well as price, promotion, production, and place. This indicates a role for
interior design in the marketing strategy of a service business. Research
also indicated that little was known about the effect of the different
environmental components, especially the color component on
consumers' responses. Most color research in marketing is in
advertising and packaging but most of it is proprietary and thus
The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of color on
subjects' evaluations of a bank and its employees. The choice of banks
was motivated by the fact that banks have a high degree of familiarity
among potential subjects.
An experiment was designed in which subjects were provided with
an illustration of a bank's interior and asked to evaluate the service
quality at that bank. The illustrations were computer generated and
were identical except for the color scheme. The study used
monochromatic color schemes, manipulating the hue (warm and cool) at
two value levels (dark and light), generating four treatments (light-warm,
dark-warm, light-cool, and dark-cool). A convenience sample of 486
college students, in two lower division classes, was used. Subjects were
each assigned a treatment at random, and asked to rate the banks and
their employees on eight criteria: reliability, responsiveness, competence,
courtesy, access, communication, security, and understanding. The
treatments were in the form of 5 1/2 X 4 inch computer printouts attached to the last page of a questionnaire package. The experiment was
conducted at the beginning of class time and subjects were given
directions by the class instructors. The experiment took subjects an
average time of five minutes to complete.
The study investigated the effect of color on subjects' evaluations of
the eight dependent measures in terms of three independent variables:
value, hue, and subjects' gender. The data collected indicated that value
had more effect on the dependent variables than did hue or subjects'
gender. Banks with dark color schemes were thought to be more
reliable, more competent, and safer. Banks with a light color scheme
scored significantly better in terms of courtesy and communication, and
scales relating to access. In terms of hue, warm color schemes had a
higher mean score on courtesy, while the cool color schemes scored
higher on competence. Warm hues were found to be more aesthetically
pleasing and more familiar than the cool ones. Gender yielded an effect
only on the responsiveness variable where mean scores of female
subjects were higher than males' scores.
Although the study had some limitations the results indicated that
there is potential for using specific color choices in bank interiors to
foster a desired image. Specifically value can be varied throughout a
bank interior to communicate different messages to customers. Dark
values could be applied in the teller area to project the impression of
safety and privacy that customers need. In the loan department light
values can be used to communicate consideration and accessibility.
Findings from this study can be of use in other service oriented
businesses with role demands similar to banks.