Colour is more than just a visual experience; colour is an incredibly powerful phenomenon used to influence us every day of our lives. It can influence our mood, behaviour and feelings; making us move quickly, feel relaxed, take action, eat more and spend more.
It may seem hard to believe colour can have such an impact on our everyday lives. This is probably down to the fact the majority of us are only 20% conscious of the colour choices we make.
Believe me – retailers and other consumer related businesses around the world take the ‘selling power’ of colour seriously.
Colour alone can attract or repel your ideal customers – which would you prefer?
I have no doubt you’ve put a lot of effort put into choosing your brand’s visual identity (such as the right logo/word mark, font, strap line, images, content etc.) and working on your after sales service. These are vitally important. However, how would you feel to know that your efforts (and money) have been potentially wasted if your business brand colours are giving out the completely wrong message?
Despite the fact that the psychological power of colour is gaining strength and backing by research, colour is still the single most under used marketing tool out there. This is because colour works on an unconscious level. If you don’t become consciously aware of the powerful role colour plays on your customer’s emotions, and their purchasing decisions, then you are literally selling your business short.
How does colour psychology work?
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘we buy with emotion and justify with logic’. What you may not have known is that colour is emotion and triggers emotion. The right colours will create the emotional buying response you want. Imagine the power you will give to your brand when the colours go most of the way to doing the selling for you.
“Colour is registered by the brain before either images or typography. Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%” – Source: University of Loyla, Maryland study
Research has proven that the brain registers colour before anything else (i.e. words, shapes or images). This means, the right colour (and more importantly, the right tone) will trigger the desired emotional response.
But the opposite is also true: getting your brand colours and tone wrong will confuse your customers. They will lose trust in your business, products and services and you may find yourself having to work doubly hard to try and win them back, if at all. Your colour choices can make or break your business.
Colour psychology in marketing
When you have your brand colours right, you’ll want to use them in all areas of your business increase brand recognition, build loyalty and trust. That means your website, your store, office, stationery, packaging, products, uniforms and so on.
If you’re like most businesses you use your website as the equivalent of your store window. You’ve probably spent a lot of time getting your message just right so when they land on your website they decide to pick you. It’s alarming therefore to think the colours you’re using on your website may mean they don’t even read those well thought out messages.
Applied colour psychology in business branding is not about being everything to everyone. It’s not about graphic design. It’s not about choosing colours you like or even fitting with an industry norm. It is about having a clear brand identity so that your customers can (and will) decide that your business is right for them.
Shoppers place colour as a primary reason for when they buy a particular product – Source: KISSmetrics
Lastly, it’s important to understand colour psychology is just one element to your business brand message. It goes without saying the quality of your product and/or service, delivering consistent excellent customer service and sound business acumen play key roles once your customer has chosen you. However get your business brand colours wrong, and they could be undermining your brand without even saying a word and before you’ve had the chance to prove yourself.
Come to Chinwag Psych event on Feb 4th where Karen will be giving her insights into how and why colour is more than just a visual experience, how it influences your purchasing behaviour and how colour alone can bring success or struggle to your business.
Photo (cc) by Josh Hunter on Flickr
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