What part does colour play in marketing?

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Often the success of a marketing campaign is down to its design. And, colour plays an influential part in promotional material. Each shade used in a campaign will evoke a different emotion in the viewer, for instance, various psychological and scientific studies have found. Some tones may encourage people to buy now, while others may work to instil trust in a brand. Colour can also help consumers to remember an offer or a brand logo for longer, other experiments have claimed, so it’s clear that it’s essential to be colour-savvy when designing a marketing campaign.

Bearing this in mind, take a look through this marketing colour psychology guide and discover how to use colour effectively and efficiently in all of your marketing and advertising campaigns going forward:

The science behind colour

The psychology around colour is not a new discussion, in fact it’s been researched for years. However, there have been many scientific studies into the connection between shades and sales that appear to show a strong correlation. According to a Canadian experiment, nearly 90% of snap decisions regarding consumer products are based solely on colour.

Research has also revealed that the effect of colour differs between gender — something that you will want to consider if your target audience is predominately male or female. For example, a study published in the Journal of Retailing found that men believed savings were much greater in value if they was advertised in red rather than black, while the difference was much smaller among women. The imbalance of colour psychology between males and females was also apparent in the study, Colour Assignment. Although blue was popular across the board, this study found that purple was a second-favourite colour for women but the second-least favourite among men. Similarly, other studies on colour attractiveness found that softer hues are preferred by women, while bold shades were liked by men. Are you using the right hues for your main consumer?

You can use colours to achieve your marketing purpose too. For example, studies have shown that yellow is utilised to grab attention and should perhaps be the colour of choice in store windows, while red is most people’s key indicator of discount prices and ‘urgency’ and should be used on clearance sales posters for optimum effect. Also, both these shades are warm colours. According to an experiment, these are better at sticking in a viewer’s memory than cool colours (like blue and green). So, it might be good to use them on promotional ads to keep consumers thinking about your offer for longer, as well as your brand logo itself to ensure you come to mind when they next need a product or service you offer.

Try not to only focus on your block colours either, you might want to consider the best way to combine tones too. Another study found that contrasting shades also improved readability — essential if you want your roll up banners to be seen by more people from a greater distance.

Studies have proven that colour plays a big part in our cognitive process too, as much as the way we perceive colour can be affected by our cultural backgrounds and personal experiences. For this reason, it’s worth your consideration when it comes to the few seconds you have to catch a consumer’s eye and attract them to your brand.

The best way to use colour in logos and branding

When it comes to branding, how important is colour? According to research compiled by Kissmetrics, 85% of shoppers surveyed say colour is a primary reason for buying something. Also, it was found that colour boosts brand recognition by around 80%.

Different shades of colour can also have different psychological effects. This is something worth knowing if you’re in the start-up stages of your company or are looking to rebrand. Here are the emotions associated with each colour and examples of the successful brands that use them:

Colour Effect Logo
Yellow Optimism and youth Chupa Chups and McDonalds
Green Growth and relaxation Starbucks and Asda
Pink Romance and femininity Barbie and Very
Purple Creative and wise Cadbury and Hallmark
Black Power and luxury Chanel and Adidas
Orange Confidence and happiness Nickelodeon and Fanta
Red Energy and excitement Coca Cola and Virgin Holidays
Blue Trust and security Barclays and the NHS

By looking at this table, the argument can be made that various brands are applying the correct hues to their logos to create the perfect ‘personality’ for their entire business. For example, inciting trust for a bank is important, which may be why Barclays chose blue, while Starbucks wants you to relax at their coffee shops and Virgin Holidays wants you to get excited about booking a trip.

June Mcleod, author of Colour Psychology Today, says: “One of the greatest assets and one of the easiest ways to sway decision or attract an emotive response — or alienate a consumer — is through colour. Purple with Cadbury; Shell with Yellow; National Trust with Green — they all work and work wonderfully well.”

You should bear in mind that there is no right or wrong colour to choose when it comes to your logo. The Halifax and Santander banks feature contrasting colours, for instance — but making a selection is an important decision that shouldn’t be made on the whim. Consider the statistic that 80% of clients think a colour is accountable for brand recognition. If you want your customers to gain a sense of loyalty and familiarity with your brand, the colour should reflect your brand’s products, services and character.

How to use colour in advertising campaigns

You can use colour to enhance your brand, no matter if you’re at the stage of launching a business or are considering giving a long-term company a change in appearance. Take beer company, Carlsberg, for example. The marketing team here worked to rebrand using colour with great success. Using white for its Carlberg Export packaging and changing its formerly green bottles to brown; the company achieved 10,000 new distribution points and a sales increase of 10% in the 12 weeks leading to summer in 2017.

Follow these tips to successfully use colour in your next marketing campaign:

  • Capitalise on the advantages of red and yellow: use these on your large print ads to increase the chances of catching the eyes of passers-by.
  • Contrast your colours: as we discovered, using opposite shades (e.g. red and green) can improve text clarity — essential considering you have just seven seconds to make a bold first impression and get your point across.
  • Consider your demographic: there are clearly some difference in how men and women perceive colour. Who do you mainly sell to? If it’s men, perhaps take these gender studies on board and avoid purple…
  • Work out your brand’s ‘personality’: studies clearly show an affiliation between colour and emotion. Determine what you want consumers to think about your brand and choose a colour that reflects this ethos — whether it’s opulent (black) or fun (orange).

Understand how powerful colour can be when branding or marketing and make 2018 a standout year for your brand.

This article was brought to you by Where The Trade Buys Print, service providers of bespoke book printing.

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