Tiffany’s blue box. Target’s red bullseye. UPS’ brown…everything. Color persuades and encourages action. So how do integrated marketers know the ideal colors to use for products or signage?
The short answer is they don’t, not in any definitive way. While it was once believed that colors connoted certain characteristics about a brand, this is an oversimplification of color theory.
Entrepreneur magazine introduced five insights into the use of color in marketing. As visual creatures, humans often subconsciously and subjectively make decisions about a product quickly (in the first 90 seconds). Entrepreneur points out that personal experiences, cultural differences and context may all impact attitude toward color. Subconscious response may also be linked to color preferences and combinations.
Marketers have long tied colors to characteristics (i.e., strength, optimism, trust) with mixed results. While some correlations appear to hold true, others are more complex. This article compiled data from 50 academic studies and found that our brains constantly make associations with color based on our environment, for example: social (sports teams or alma maters), cultural, or experiential.
Color and Brand Personality
Stanford research suggests five dimensions to brand personality: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. The article proposes that integrated marketers look at the perceived appropriateness of a color; does it fit what is being sold? Whether your company is rugged or sophisticated, there’s a color for that.
Color and Gender
Gender is another of the factors that impact consumer response. This may be environmental or cultural, too, says one study. Individual choices can be influenced by language (does a consumer’s native language differentiate colors, as in Western countries?) and background (are the associations universal?).
Color and Conversion
Finally, Entrepreneur looked at the impact of color on conversion. Findings indicate that it is color in context that persuades a consumer. Colors may encourage a consumer about where to take action, but success comes with making it conspicuous. For instance, graphics featuring a cool palette may benefit from a call-to-action in a warm color that stands out by contrast.
How Should You Apply Color?
The key is to test and adjust use of color, seeing where more leads are reached, or the best results achieved. KISSmetrics offers this handy infographic about how colors influence purchasing behavior. For a quick reference guide to color use for tradeshow or other graphics, review these color and context cues for making an appropriate selection.
Last modified: May 25, 2018