The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding - More Than Accountants

The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding

Most retailers and marketers (and us online accountant team) must have known by now that marketing is an art of persuasion. There are various factors that can influence people’s purchasing decision. But the most obvious one is the visual appearance. When shoppers walk into a store, they will immediately notice the placement or arrangement of the products as well as the coordination of the colors. If you are trying to market new products, then it is important to consider the influence of colors on people’s buying decision.

Researchers discover that appropriate use of colors can help in improving brand recognition by 80%. Additionally, it can also boost its visual appearance by 93%. Furthermore, consumers’ decision in buying a certain product is influenced by its color.

One of the most interesting and most intriguing topics of marketing right now is the connection between the psychology of color and persuasion. It’s because most of the discussions about colors and persuasion are merely theories. There are no reliable pieces of evidence about its relation. Additionally, advertisers are misleading consumers about “colors and the mind.”

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Today, we are going to discuss some of the most reliable research on the psychology of color and persuasion.

Misconceptions About the Psychology of Color

Why are there so many talks about color psychology yet there are only limited facts? According to research, the reason behind this is that the effect of colors on us is greatly influenced by other factors such as experiences, personal preference, cultural differences, development, circumstances, etc. Hence, the belief that colors such as yellow, red, purple, etc. can generate highly specific emotion seems to be precise.

Now, let’s take a look at some studies which provide some insights on the relation between color and persuasion.

The Role of Colors in Branding

When it comes to branding, several trials were done in order to analyze consumer’s reactions to each individual colors. But the fact is, people’s choice of colors will likely depend on their personal experiences or distinct feelings.

Credit: The Logo Company

However, aside from this, color perceptions also depict more apparent messaging patterns such as its role in marketing and branding. According to the study entitled, “Impact of Color in Marketing”, about 90% of product decision making is dependent on the color alone, nevertheless, it will still depend on the type of product.

Based on the outcomes of several studies such as “The Interactive Effects of Colors”, when it comes to the role of color in branding, the association between brands and colors will depend on what color is perceived to be more appropriate for a particular brand.

According to a study entitled “Exciting Red and Competent Blue”, the purchasing decision of every consumer will be greatly influenced by the color of the product. In other words, consumers will analyze the “personality” of the brand. For instance, if you are interested in buying a Harley Davidson motorcycle, obviously, you want it to be rugged and cool.

Other studies also show that most consumers favor recognizable brands. That is why when you are creating your brand, it is very important to choose an appropriate color for it. For new brands, it is greatly recommended that when choosing logo colors, make sure that it differs from your competitors. For instance, if your competitor chose blue, then you can grab attention if you use purple.

How to Choose the Right Colors for your Brand?

Researchers reveal that anticipating consumers responses to color appropriateness in connection with the product is more significant compared to their individual colors. Hence, those people who purchase Harley Davidson motorcycles wanted to feel rugged. So, we could quickly assume that a pink version of Harley may not be sellable.

Based on the study, “Dimension of Brand Personality”, conducted by Psychologist and Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker, there are five essential qualities of a brand’s personality. These are sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness.

Further research also proved that there is actually a relationship between the choice of colors and consumers insights of a brand’s personality. Although, there are some colors which correspond to its unique characteristics. For instance, red is usually associated with excitement, while purple is for sophistication, and brown is for ruggedness. However, based on studies and researches on branding and colors, it’s more important to choose colors that can support your brand’s personality rather than matching its color associations.

Sometimes there are inaccuracies in color associations such as declaring “green means calm.” But actually, it does not include any context. Most often green can be used in relation to environmental issues or financial management.

On the other hand, brown is used for ruggedness just like the Saddleback Leather. However, if you put it in another context, brown can also be used for creating a warm and welcoming feeling such as Thanksgiving or for enhancing your appetite such as chocolate advertisements.

Hence, there is actually no apparent guidelines in picking your brand’s colors, but it is essential to consider the context. The image, sentiment, and feeling that is brought by your brand can influence persuasion.

Keep in mind that the colors that you choose must coordinate with your brand’s personality. Without this context, your choice of colors won’t make sense. After all, there is inadequate proof that consumers will buy products in orange rather than in silver.

The Psychology of Colors and Its Use

Tech companies prefer to use green since it is refreshing and can provide liveliness and tranquillity. On the other hand, financial organizations would rather choose blue because it offers trust, protection, and reliability. While many retailers favor orange or green for their brand colors since it can draw optimism and stability. Most of the logos in food outlets include some shades of red because they believe that is can enhance people’s appetites.

Color Preferences of Men and Women

Why do most cars are in white, black, silver and gray? Well, perhaps it is due to perceived appropriateness. But what is the reason why most power tools are not in purple?

According to Joe Hallock’s Colour Assignments, the color preferences of men and women differs. It is also important to consider that one’s environment can greatly affect their color preference. Most of the time blue is generally associated with boys while pink is for girls. Based on Hallock’s findings, the following are men’s and women’s most and least favored colors.

The most striking features in these images are the dominance of blue on both men and women. It is apparent that it is a common favorite among both groups. However, the most obvious difference is the color purple. It is included in women’s top favorite colors but none of the men include it as one of their favorite colors. Maybe this is the reason why it is rare to find purple power tools since this product is generally associated with men.

Further researches and studies on color perception and color preferences also revealed that with regards to shades, tints, and hues, men’s preference is bold colors while women’s preference is softer colors. Additionally, men prefer shades of colors, mostly colors with a mixture of black. On the other hand, women were more perceptive to tints of colors, typically colors with a blend of white.

This information is very important when deciding on the primary colors of your brand. Whether your ideal customers are men or women, you need to consider their color preference.

What is the Best Color for Conversion?

Choosing the best color that can provide high conversion rates is one of the most popular topics on websites right now. But the truth is, there is actually no single best color for conversions. However, according to the psychological principle known as the Isolation Effect, people will likely remember a product that stands out the most. Based on the research, participants were able to recognize and remember a product more clearly if it blatantly stands out from the rest.

According to the studies Aesthetic Response to Color Combinations and Consumer Preferences for Color Combinations, most consumers favor color patterns with the same hues, they also prefer palettes that include extremely contrasting accent color.

When it comes to color coordination, your base must be made of analogous colors and you can accent them with complementary colors in order to obtain a contrasting effect. Another option would be to create a hierarchy on the background, base and accent colors. In this way, customers will know which buttons to press if they want to take action.

Understanding color coordination is very important since it can help you understand the reason behind the increase and decrease of conversion rates. At the same time, it can prevent you from getting enticed with the conversion rate optimization products which are constantly misleading a lot of people.

The example below only proves that a simple change in button color can instantly boost conversion rates.

After changing the color of the button to red conversion rates suddenly increased by 21 percent. However, this does not mean that red has a magical power that can drive users to take some action. If you take a closer look at the image, you will notice that the page is using a green palette. Hence, it’s only appropriate that green should be the right color for taking an action since it blends well with its surroundings. On the other hand, red sparks an amazing visual contrast, additionally, it is also a complementary color to green.

Furthermore, there were additional proofs about the isolation effect including this testing being conducted by Paras Chopra and published in Smashing magazine. The aim of this test is to recognize which set of these color variations can Chopra obtain more downloads for his PDFProducer program.

Can you guess which of these color combinations get the most downloads? Keep in mind that contrast is essential. Based on the results, #10 stands out from the rest. Do you think this is just a coincidence? Well, not really. As you can observe, “PDFProducer” is done in small text and has a light gray color. However, for the action text “Download for Free”, it is done in big red letters. This huge contrast is necessary for bringing high conversions.

Although this is just a single study, yet there are still many more which can prove how amazing the isolation effect is. So when you are creating your web design, it is important to create a contrast to make your action button stand out. This can encourage visitors to take action immediately.

The Name of the Colors Matter

Do you know that most people love “mocha”, but hate “brown”? People perceive colors in a lot of ways, most of all, the names of these colors do matter. A study was conducted to determine people’s reactions to different color names. Based on the results, most of the participants favored fancy names. For instance, they like mocha than brown even if they were provided with the same color!

Other studies also reveal the same result, regardless of what kind of product is presented to them. Most consumers prefer the elaborate names of the colors rather than their common names. Researchers also found out that unique color names can motivate customers to purchase the product. For instance, customers will likely choose a product with the name razzmatazz rather than being simply known as jelly beans. Or they would prefer lemon yellow instead of yellow. This outcome is also evident in non-food products such as sweatshirts.

While it may sound odd but opting for creative, expressive and unusual names in describing colors is essential in order to ensure that your product creates a huge impact. So, why not choose sky blue rather than light blue?

Final Thoughts

There is enormous competition in the market right now. Hence, marketers must try to explore all the possibilities in order to generate more sales. The psychology of color is commonly used by several industries including retail stores, restaurants, real estate, etc. Making a creative distribution, and composition of color schemes can greatly influence your sales, branding, authenticity, and most especially, your conversion. At the end of the day, marketers, as well as business owners, must consider the effect of their brand colors to their customers. Did these colors help them in generating more sales?

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James is the co founder of More Than Accountants an Online Accountants. He will be more than happy to help More Than Accountants clients implement any guides or strategies that he has posted to the blog. If you would like to learn more about becoming a More Than Accountants client you can quote online by using our Unlimited Accountancy Services Quoting Tool.

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