Understanding the effect that colour has on consumer behavior is vital to ensure the success of your brand. It can help you to reflect the emotion that you want to evoke in your customers, which can potentially influence their purchasing behavior. The importance of colour can often be overlooked by many brands that are starting out, with so many other things to consider, but understanding the impact of colour on consumers can be the first major step to success in your marketing.

According to a research paper titled “Impact of Colour on Marketing” written by Dr. Rajiv Kaushik, up to 90% of consumers believe colour is one of the largest motivators in purchasing a particular product. Visual imagery, patterns and colours are processed up to 60,000 times faster than words. With colour being so easily recognised by our brains, we firstly relate the colour with the emotion it has previously evoked before we even read any associated text. Not only is colour easily recognised by our brains, but colour is the visual component that people are most likely to remember.

Brands are closely linked to colour as it offers an instant method of conveying purpose and meaning without having to use words. Consumers can see the colour of a brand and instantly match thoughts, feelings and emotions to this colour. This is why it is so important to select the colour that best reflects your brand’s personality and target audience.

In order to ensure you are creating branding that will appeal to your ideal customers ask yourself about the tone of your product, the age, gender and culture of your consumer and the value of what you are selling. For example, if you wanted to develop a brand that sells children’s toys, the colour orange is seen as friendly and cheerful which attracts a child’s attention. If your product is generally pitched at middle aged men, you wouldn’t use feminine pastel colours. The location of the target audience can also affect the colour chosen. In China for example, consumers are defined by their culture, where white is considered unlucky. Age is another factor to consider when selecting a colour, as certain colour pallets appeal more to specific age groups. Blue and purple colours are attractive to younger people, where as an older audience tend to engage better with traditional colours like deep red.

When it comes to colour psychology, context can also play a big role in communicating the emotion attached to a colour. This is because one colour can represent two very different feelings. The specific way in which a brand applies a colour can give two opposite meanings. For example, it’s possible to associate red with both love and anger, so it’s important to make a clear distinction by supporting your colour choice with relevant imagery or patterns relevant to your industry or brand message.

Having a clear idea of your brand’s focus and goals can help you to establish the right colour for your brand, as well as understanding the way that you want your customers to feel. For example:

Red is used by brands such as Coca Cola, Netflix and Marvel to give the customer a feeling of excitement, vibrancy and energy due to its powerful, urgent nature.

Orange is used by brands such as Fanta and TNT. This is used to reflect a joyful and optimistic emotion due to its warm nature. It is also considered a “cheap” colour because it is the opposing colour to the “richer” colours such as purple and green. Budget brands can use this to their advantage. =

Yellow is used by brands like Nikon and McDonalds to portray optimism, happiness, fun and creativity due to the colour’s sunshine-like nature.

Blue is used by brands such as Facebook, Intel and Samsung. Many banks also use blue in their logos. This is because blue is a passive colour that represents safety, trust and intelligence as it is so calming.

Green is used by brands such as Woolworths, BP and Starbucks. The colour usually represents nature and good health because we relate it to the green we see in our landscapes and vegetables. It can also represent wealth and power due to our associations with money and military.

Purple is used by brands such as Yahoo and Cadbury to reflect imagination, extravagance and prestige. This is due to our association between purple and royalty.

It’s important to understand the psychological motivators behind colour preferences before using it for your own brand. If you want customers to be excited when viewing your products, use strong, catchy, vibrant colours. If your products are for calming and relaxing, consider using softer, pastel colours. Colours of nature like blues and greens are also effective for these types of products. 

If you’re stuck for which colours to use for your branding, scoping out the competition can give you some good inspiration. Next time you’re out shopping, consider the brands that you are attracted to. Of course it could be the quality or the familiarity of the brand that first draws your attention but maybe your subconscious colour preference plays a small part in what you choose to buy. 

Essentially, the greatest colour for your brand is the one that best supports the brand and its message. The most effective way to decide which colours are advantageous for your brand is by matching the psychological preferences of your ideal consumer with the brand’s values. 
Specialising in trade marketing around South East Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, Carter Marketing offers a highly regarded, exclusive and straightforward approach to industrial and construction marketing. If you’re looking for expert advice and guidance to help design your new brand, or discuss your marketing strategies, contact Carter Marketing Project Management today.