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The Color Purple: A Stroke Of Branding Genius

January 17, 2012

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By John Lauriello

When most people think of commercial real estate companies, the color purple isn’t usually the first image that comes to mind. In fact, it seems that other firms typically choose more traditional colors such as navy blue or red when they began their branding process.

But at Southpace Properties, from the beginning, our color has always been purple.

The beginning for Southpace starts in late 1983, when Bill McDavid and I were starting the company. We were going through the process of choosing our name and our logo, and picking out a color was a part of that.

Bill’s wife, Beth McDavid, was an art teacher at the time, and she was involved in helping with the color selection. She was a big proponent of the color purple, especially the particular shade that we chose.

Back then no one was using the color purple. It wasn’t just absent from CRE firms, it was absent everywhere. Purple was out. Purple was dead. While most folks would see a reason for that trend, we saw an opportunity. So we went with it.

We ended up choosing the color purple for two reasons. First, because it was unique, especially our shade of purple—which really jumps out at you, thanks to Beth McDavid.

And second, because purple and gold were my high school colors. So I took the color choice as a good sign and felt like I had brought a little piece of my past in New York to my new home in Birmingham.

From that day forward, we have used purple for everything from signs to advertisements to SWAG. You name it and we’ve probably put purple on it.

And guess what. It worked. Because no one else had anything to do with purple, this made us stand out that much more. Now anyone who sees our sign or a piece of swag, whether they read what it says or not, they immediately recognize it as coming from our company. People still think of us to this day when they see the color purple, especially in metro Birmingham.

So we’re the purple people, and we’re proud of the color. We like to think the color purple has set the tone of our firm for the past 29 years. It was different from other firms, and as it turns out, so are we.

As one of our principals Bryan Holt likes to say, “At Southpace, we wear the term ‘blue collar’ like a coat of arms, rather than a label.”

This approach makes us different from most other firms, but we don’t think this makes us any less professional or less serious about commercial real estate. In fact, Bryan says our professionalism merely comes in a pedestrian package and our clients appreciate that. Maybe this means we should start calling ourselves a “purple collar” firm.

And by the way, we also like to think we brought purple back.


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