Brandspeak: Why the Empire State Building Changes Color


Brandspeak Joe Pantigoso


The following guest post is by SAP senior director Joe Pantigoso.

The color of the Empire State’s night lights change to promote different seasons, events or causes: Green for St. Patrick’s Day. Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Blue for Hanukkah.

Color can quickly communicate a message or identify an item. It’s one of the most powerful elements in a brand’s visual identity and is vividly evident in the holiday decorations currently on display in towns and homes everywhere.

Foolishly, I tried to downsize the decorations in my house this year, but my youngest would have none of it. Where are the red candles? Where’s the green holly wreath? More than just visual identifiers of the season, these colors and symbols are my child’s fond friends that evoke warm emotion and fealty.

Brands like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup have found that the visual aspects of the packaging and the ritual of eating the candy—unwrapping the orange wrapper, pulling out the cups, peeling back the individual wrappers—are as integral to the customer’s experience and loyalty as the taste of the actual product.

When Tropicana, for instance, tried to change its packaging, there was a public outcry and precipitous sales decline. “We underestimated the deep emotional bond” consumers had with the original packaging,” Neil Campbell, president at Tropicana North America at the time, told the New York Times.

To see how effective color and form used in packaging can be, take a look at the brand-inspired “American Alphabet” by artist Heidy Cody. How quickly can you identify the different brands? Even one letter at a time.


So don’t underestimate the power of your brand’s visual elements to quickly and effectively communicate and engage audiences … and enjoy the holiday lights!

Joe Pantigoso is a Senior Director in Global Branding at SAP, a leading enterprise software company and top globally ranked brand. Read more from Joe in his series on Brand Tips for Branders.

Subscribe to our free e-newsletter for more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *