How Colors Change Your Brand’s Message
Have you ever noticed that some of the largest banks and financial institutions use the same color in their brand? Whether it is Chase, Citibank, or Barclays, the logo may be distinctly different, but the dominant color is the same: blue. Is there something more to this specific color that meets the eye?
Studies show that colors can affect or change the way people perceive your brand. The same is true regardless of what niche or industry your brand belongs to, or the market you are trying to target. As a result, the colors you choose have the potential to attract or repel your intended customers.
Using the right colors, you can even persuade consumers to perform specific actions. Researchers say that up to 90 percent of first impressions are based merely on color. As such, to maximize your marketing efforts, you must understand how color psychology works.
Experts from a branding consultancy services provider in Dubai share their insights on the use of color and how it can influence your brand and marketing efforts. Whether you are starting a new business or rebranding an existing one, understanding the basics of color psychology is key to your brand’s success.
Making sense of color psychology
By definition, color psychology involves studying how colors affect human behavior. You may not be aware of it, but minute changes in shade or hue can compel you to make a decision. Given a plethora of options, colors could be the deciding factor in choosing one brand or item over the others.
Think of the times you go to the department store to buy a dress. In many cases, color plays a significant role in the decision-making process. It could be the color of the outfit itself, the packaging, or even the colors used in the brand – any of these could be the deciding factor.
Why this happens is still a mystery. Specific colors may have particular meanings, but the association is not universal. What a color means for an individual can still vary depending on a person’s background, experience, values, and even gender, among others.
Take the color black, for instance. In many cultures, it is used in mourning clothes or formal attire. However, in parts of Africa, the use of black indicates masculinity.
Many studies have been conducted over the years concerning the effects of color on the psyche. No need to feel overwhelmed as our specialists have taken the time to scour the studies. Here are some of the best takeaways from these findings.
Finding the appropriate colors
It’s all about context. Instead of worrying about specific colors, what you need is to determine how appropriate the colors are to the message you are trying to convey.
Collect data from your customers or target market to find out what colors they see as appropriate. Keep in mind that certain factors, such as gender, age, and background, can affect a person’s perception of or preference for color. Through surveys, feedback, or reviews, you can gain a better idea of what works with your audience and how they will perceive your message.
In one study conducted with men and women residing in Western countries, the findings showed that blue is a definite favorite for 57 percent of the male respondents. Blue also gets the most votes from women, although these only make up 35 percent. This is followed by purple at 23 percent; for men, however, this color does not make it to the list at all.
Think of your brand’s personality
Think of it this way: How do you want your audience to feel about your brand when they see your logo or products? Do you want them to feel excited or see your brand as sincere? Is your brand meant to appear sophisticated or tough and rugged?
Specific colors are associated with some of these characteristics. For instance, a lot of people generally connect greens and browns with nature, the outdoors, being tough, and rugged, among others. But the conventional perceptions of color should not supersede the importance of character or personality you want your brand to impart.
According to a separate study conducted by researchers from Stanford, perceptions of a brand’s personality generally fall in one of five categories. This includes sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Use colors that help convey a specific personality.
Red, for instance, is the color of passion, danger, action, and excitement. You can see many products and logos designed with this color. However, given the intensity of the color, red should be used carefully or sparingly.
The perception of danger is one of the reasons why logos of banks rarely feature reds. Instead, what you commonly see is blue or blue with green, such as in the case of Standard Chartered. Based on the Stanford paper, blue signifies sincerity while green symbolizes competence and reliability — characteristics that a reputable bank should have.
Red is a prominent part of Coca-Cola, and for good reason. The deep, bright color is hip, imaginative, and exciting — all qualities that the brand wants to portray.
Choose the right name for the color
There are a plethora of colors, not all of which have a name. If your company sells products or offers services that involve a variety of colors, finding a creative yet descriptive name can help differentiate your brand from the rest.
Your company could be selling makeup, crayons, wallpaper, spray paints, or offering services that involve using or installing these products. Studies indicate that consumers are more drawn to items that use vivid color names. For instance, a makeup palette that includes a bronze or caramel eyeshadow may attract more attention than if it were simply labeled as brown eye color.
Even products aimed for kids feature creative names. Milky Way sounds more appealing than sky blue, don’t you think? If the use of descriptive names boosts sales for Crayola, it may work for you as well.
There are many other ways you can use colors to convey your message. These are only a few examples. Contact a reputable branding agency today if you need advice on how to use colors to make your brand stand out from the crowd.
Hasan Fadlallah is a Serial Entrepreneur – Founder & CEO of Brand Lounge, the region’s leading and award-winning branding consultancy, whose role is to help organizations align their business behind an idea that will deliver success time and again.
Equipped with over 20 years of professional consulting experience, today he advises businesses throughout the Gulf and Africa on brand development and in 2014 was recognized by the World Brand Congress who awarded him the prestigious Brand Leadership award in Brand Excellence.