As we all know, colours can affect our mood, feelings, and perception. But did you know that colours can also affect your customers?
Colour psychology is the study of how colours influence human behaviour. Different colours evoke specific emotions and behaviours. And we can use that to guide our consumers’ thoughts and perceptions of our brand, products, and marketing efforts.
Just how powerful are colours?
- 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on colour alone, according to a study called the Impact of Color in Marketing.
- 93% of shoppers place visual appearance and colour above other factors, according to KISSmetrics.
- Color increases brand recognition by 80%, according to the same KISSmetrics study.
So let’s look at what certain colours convey to consumers…
Red. Red is an intense and aggressive colour. It can express feelings of love and passion. But it can also express feelings of anger and excitement.
Most people associate red with strong, bold emotions. Companies that use red in their branding – Coca Cola, Netflix, Walkers potato chips, KFC, Red Bull, and Target –want to capture the viewer’s attention and make a lasting impression.
Blue. Blue is most often seen as a calming colour. But it can also convey security, authority, loyalty, and success. Everyone loves blue, which means it’s no surprise that blue is the most popular colour used in corporate branding.
Brands such as GE, Samsung, American Express, Visa, NASA, Facebook, and Twitter use blue in their corporate image to show their consumers that they are trustworthy and dependable.
Yellow. Yellow is a bright, visible colour. It can evoke feelings of happiness, creativity, playfulness, and positivity. It is also best used with other colours, since yellow can actually be too bright on its own.
Brands that use yellow in their image want to get attention and promote feelings of happiness. McDonald’s, IKEA, Ferrari, Post-its, and Shell Gas all use yellow to support clarity and optimism.
Orange. Orange combines red and yellow to get the best of both worlds. Orange is seen as a fun, youthful colour that’s light-hearted, affordable, and friendly.
Nickelodeon – a television network aimed primarily at children and teens – is the perfect example of a true orange image. Hooters, The Home Depot, and Fanta also use orange to promote confidence and draw attention.
Green. If you want your consumers to see you as peaceful, healthy, and eco-friendly, green is the colour for you. Green symbolizes money, growth, and balance.
Companies that use green – Whole Foods, Spotify, BP, and Starbucks – are seen as prosperous and fresh.
Purple. Purple is the colour of royalty, sophistication, and spirituality, but can also portray feelings of creativity and imagination.
Hallmark, Cadbury, Yahoo, Barbie, Aussie, and Craigslist all make use of purple in their corporate images.
Pink. Pink is a warm colour and is often used to add a pop of brightness or a feminine flare.
Brands such as Victoria’s Secret, T-Mobile, Sanrio, and Lyft use pink to conjure up feelings of romance, innocence, and gratitude.
Brown. Brown is seen as an earthy, natural, rich, and simple colour. It is often used to convey warmth and neutrality.
It may be most widely used for coffee and chocolate brands – M&M’s, Aero, Hershey’s, Ghirardelli, and Godiva.
Want to take a peek at the specific colours used by different brands to get some inspiration? Check out this extensive collection on BrandColors.net.
Don’t Forget to Consider Your Audience
When selecting colours, it’s important to consider who will be purchasing your products or services. A recent YouGov survey asked people in 10 countries and across four continents about their colour preferences. Though there are some preferences that seem to transcend differences (such as blue being people’s favourite colour everywhere), if you look closer you will see why it’s important to know your audience.
Some interesting findings include:
Men like blue more than women. In the U.S. and Britain, 40% of men said blue was their favourite colour, while only 24% (U.S.) and 27% (Britain) of women listed it as their favourite.
Women are not predisposed to pink. While women like pink far more than men, it’s not even close to their favourite colour. In fact, they tend to like it about as much as they like red, green, and purple.
Societal differences matter… but not always how you think. Green, red, and yellow are supposed to be lucky colours in China. Because of this, you would think that they would dominate colour preferences. But you already know that blue is the country’s favourite colour. And according to the survey, yellow is only the sixth most-liked hue in China.
Regardless of personal favourites, if you are looking to enter into a new geographic market, it pays to spend time researching the cultural significance of your brand’s colours there. It may be different than you expect.
Choosing Colours for Your Brand
When building your brand’s corporate image, you need to think of your brand’s tone and how you want consumers to perceive your brand. Then you can choose the appropriate colours to match your brand’s message and goals.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Who are you speaking to?
- What does your brand stand for?
- What emotions do you want to evoke?
- What colour is the best fit for my particular product or service category?
It’s also important to consider what colour is the right “fit” for what you are selling. A study called the Interactive Effects of Colors shows that the perceived appropriateness of the colour being used for the particular brand is key to success.
Also, take a look at your competitors. Color Research & Application found that new brands can better differentiate themselves by choosing different colours than established competitors.
So you want your brand to stand out from the crowd, but you also want to use the right colours to appeal to your audience. And to reveal the true nature of your brand without having to say anything.