I spent a considerable part of my career designing and developing products and while style and taste change from year to year the one thing that remains consistant is that most people can't tell you what they really want in a product that doesn't yet exist.
Many people, some who are quite vocal, can tell you what they love, like or hate about your current product and its beneficial to listen. Unfortunately it is rare to get the same level of feedback when you ask customers to tell you what they want next and the same holds true whether you ask them about clothing or cars or colors.
So while some organizations think that asking the customer directly is the way to make sure the next product is a success I don't agree. It seems almost absurd to think that a customer or buyer or anyone that hasn't taken time to truly think about a problem would come up with the best solution and marketing expert Seth Godin sums this up with one simple sentance "the people want what the people want, but if you ask them first, you don't always end up with something they actually like"
For some this may be a problem but for me it has been a career built around listening carefully and sifting through what customers are saying to determine what comes next. Everyday my collegues and I are listening and thinking; deciphering what people are saying, thinking and feeling about color; watching what's changing in society, the economy and the world and in the end using our best judgement to translate that information into color palettes that we believe consumers will respond to.
The current exuberance for color tells me we've been on the right track.