LONDON, United Kingdom – When LVMH agreed the $16 billion deal to purchase Tiffany & Co., the luxury conglomerate was also buying a shade of blue.
Pantone 1837 — or robin’s egg blue — is, in the minds of consumers globally, Tiffany Blue, so powerfully does it communicate the storied American jeweller’s visual identity and heritage.
First chosen by Founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for the jeweller’s Blue Book catalogue in the 19th century, robin’s egg blue is thought to have been inspired by the turquoise gemstones favoured by Victorian brides of the day. Now, the colour permeates Tiffany’s advertising, marketing campaigns, packaging and products, Chief Artistic Officer Reed Krakoff explained to BoF. “Tiffany’s heritage is richly reflected in the Tiffany Blue that wraps everything we design. The colour is so distinctive,” he said.
Tiffany isn’t alone in claiming ownership of a single colour. The red soles on Christian Louboutin’s high heels and Hermès’ warm citrus orange boxes are both trademarked. Outside of the luxury market, US beauty company Glossier is working on its own version of millennial pink.
Colour registration is “one of the most elusive elements of a brand[’s identity] that can be ‘owned,’” said marketing consultancy Interbrand’s Global Chief Learning and Culture Officer Rebecca Robins. So how does a brand own a tone, and should smaller labels try?
A Single Colour Can Be Powerful
Tiffany’s harmonised use of a specific shade of blue for well over a century has been instrumental in cementing the colour in consumers’ minds. Robin’s egg blue is intrinsically connected to Tiffany’s brand value (placed at $5.3 billion by Interbrand) because it creates an instant association with the jeweller’s DNA.