28th March 2017
The power of colour in marketing
If you’re re-branding your company, or creating a brand for the first time, you’re sure to be thinking about the company name or the design of your logo. But are you also considering the importance of colour?
Studies into the psychology of colour suggest that your colour choice could be crucial, having a marked impact on the way your clients see your company – even how they feel about it. In fact, your choice of colour might even be responsible for whether your clients buy into your products or services – or leave them on the shelf.
The effects of colour
Whilst it’s true that we all react differently to colour, it’s widely acknowledged that different hues and tones affect our cognitive behaviour. Research has shown that colours really do have the power to make us happy or sad, relaxed or energised – even to leave us with feelings of confidence or trust.
So how does it work?
When we see a certain shade, our brains are stimulated to react, recalling strong memories and powerful emotions associated with that colour. See red and yellow together and it’s quite likely that even without an image of the ‘golden arches’, McDonalds will come to mind.
When US-based Colour Marketing Group ran a study into the effects of colour in marketing, they found that when you add a colour element into your logo or company branding, you boost brand recognition by up to 80%. We invest so much time and money in getting our marketing right and increasing brand loyalty, but perhaps we don’t always pay enough attention to our colour choice.
Pin your colours to the mast
In a recent post, we looked at how Archetypes can be used to define and portray the character of your brand. In a similar way, any colour that you choose to align with your brand, needs to sum up the personality and ethos of your company – and not work against it.
If you’re keen to get your colour scheme right, but don’t know where to start, we’ve looked at the personality of some key colours commonly used in the branding palette and what emotions they’re likely to evoke in your customers.
Not for the faint-hearted, red is an extremely strong and distinctive colour, and one that’s associated with danger, passion, excitement and energy. In branding terms, it packs a powerful punch and signifies strength, confidence and power. It can help you stand out from the crowd, especially if your competitors are steering clear of it in favour of safer colours.
There’s a certain exuberance and optimism about the colour orange and it always comes across as fresh, youthful, vibrant and creative. It’s a good choice for brands that want to tap into their clients’ spirit of adventure or show an energetic and lively side. Its popularity in the 70s, also gives it a slightly nostalgic feel that may strike a chord with customers of a certain age.
The colour of sunshine, happiness and friendliness, yellow communicates joy, energy and a certain clarity of thought. It’s also an extremely bold colour to adopt for branding purposes so should be used carefully to avoid your brand looking cheap or down-market. The golder tones of yellow are a good choice, giving your designs the vibrancy you want but with a more professional, high-end feel.
Not surprisingly, green is often used to represent nature and the environment, and symbolises growth, life and sustainability. A darker shade of green however is more likely to represent wealth, prestige and abundance – in the US it’s also the ‘colour of money’ so often used for financial institutions or large, corporate organisations.
Choose blue and you’ll be in good company. This calm, cool shade is the most universally used colour in branding and emits trustworthy and communicative properties. It’s corporate, reliable, harmonious and widely adopted by companies who want to express their authority and status.
Purple conjures up images of royalty, nobility and luxury or elegance. It’s also a hue that has a spiritual and mysterious side. It’s often appreciated more by a female audience, especially when using a lighter, more lavender shade. It’s probably one of the less popular colours to work with for branding purposes, despite Cadburys adopting it so successfully.
Although an intrinsically feminine and romantic colour, pink can work very well in branding terms and comes across as confident, fresh, exciting and modern. While paler pinks have long been used for products or services aimed at women or little girls, today pink is being adopted far more widely for genderless brands.
While other colours may be more memorable, the use of black can be a powerful way to portray a brand that is sophisticated, formal or luxurious. It’s a distinctive colour that asks to be taken seriously – and one that suggests exclusivity. It has to be used carefully and lightly though, or your brand may end up looking too funeral.
In the study, Exciting Red and Competent Blue, it is found that a consumer’s purchasing intent is greatly affected by colors because of their impact on how a brand is perceived. So the colours influence how consumers view the personality of a brand.
Many attempts have been made to associate consumer reaction to different individual colours:
Image credit: The Logo Company
But the truth of the matter is that colours don’t always mean a certain reaction and depend more on the personal experiences that translate to specific feelings. So one individual colour can be perceived differently by two different people.
If limiting yourself to one colour seems too restrictive, you might prefer to identify a ‘colour season’ that captures the essence of your brand. The Brand Stylist, Fiona Humberstone champions this approach. This will give you a complementary palette of colours to work with, whilst still allowing you to remain loyal to your brand character and values.
This season is for brands that are warm and approachable with a youthful and forward thinking personality – they’re bursting with life. Although these brands like simplicity, they’re also very expressive and easy to communicate with. Spring colours are soft and light with warm undertones.
The summer personality is graceful, elegant, and slightly more reserved than fun-loving spring. Summer brands are caring, good with detail and very creative. They also have a strong sense of responsibility and will never let you down. Summer colours are cool, classy, delicate and muted.
This season is for brands that are earthy, organic, warm and passionate. They like to understand how things work and have a strong connection with nature. Although not materialistic, they are ambitious and love to find better ways of doing things. Autumn colours are natural, warm, intense and sometimes slightly muted.
This season is one of extremes. It can be dramatic, stylish and opulent but also grounded, understated and modest. It’s highly aspirational but always focused on the finer details and the job in hand. Winter colours are distinctive with rich, bright hues and an intense but cool feel.
If you want to identify which colours or seasons best encapsulate your brand, give us a call and we’ll be delighted to help you assess your colour usage as part of our marketing breakthrough programme. Call us today on 07803 207 590 or book your consultation here.