How to improve your brand impact through colour

Want to make your product or service stand out from the competition, and increase sales at the same time? It’s time to review your colour palette.

Our minds instinctively respond to colour

Have you noticed how the bright blues and greens of spring have a more positive psychological effect on us than the bleak grey tones of winter?

We also automatically associate different colours with particular circumstances. For instance, red with danger and heat, blue with cold and calmness, pink for girls, blue for boys and so on.

As well as influencing our mood, colour has the power to impact our purchasing decisions, with many of the major brands using it to evoke very specific emotions:

How you can use colour to improve your marketing

Brand recognition

Studies have revealed our brains prefer recognisable brands, which is why colour is key when creating your brand identity.

Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% (University of Loyola). For example, Apple introduced colour to unchartered territory. By introducing its colourful, eye-catching range of iMacs, Apple was the first to say ‘it doesn’t have to be beige’ and reinvigorated its brand (it’s since brought us iPods and the iPhone 5c in a range of colours).

Standing out from competitors

Many organisations specifically focus on logo colours to ensure they stand out from the competition. For instance, if your competitors use blue, then you can improve your chances of standing out from them by using purple instead.

Target audience

If you’re targeting women, then research has revealed they prefer purples and greens, while blues, greens and black are most preferred by men.

How to choose your colour palette

Before you start selecting or rethinking your brand colours, think about these useful common colour characteristics:

Black

  • Highly versatile colour
  • Can be modern or traditional
  • Often used for luxury products
  • Used by the likes of: Chanel, Nike, Mercedes-Benz

Red

  • Is the colour of power
  • Grabs people’s attention
  • The most effective colour used by marketers to attract consumers’ attention
  • Symbolises good luck in Asia, which is why it’s one of the prominent colours in Japan Airlines’ logo
  • Used by the likes of: Virgin, Christian Louboutin, Coca Cola

Green

  • Is the easiest colour for eyes to process
  • Warm and inviting
  • Represents environment, health and good will
  • Used by the likes of: Starbucks, BP, Land Rover

Blue

  • Viewed as a professional colour
  • Can have a calming effect
  • Creates the impression of trust and security
  • Often associated with corporate companies
  • Used by the likes of: Twitter, Samsung, PayPal, Barclays

Yellow

  • Has the same power as red in capturing people’s attention
  • Conveys confidence, happiness and optimism
  • Often used to attract window shoppers
  • Used by the likes of: McDonald’s, Nikon, Kodak, DHL

Branding and colour are inextricably linked. Once you know the emotions you want to inspire in your target audience, then you can select the colours that will enable you to achieve this.

By Tim Witcherley, Cognition Agency

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Cognition is a full-service marketing agency and a Funding Circle borrower. It’s known for its commercial approach, linking marketing activity to revenue and growth.

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Rob McCorquodale