Marketing Your Business Through Colour

As a business, you only have a few seconds to grab the attention of a potential customer. In most marketing spaces, this an entirely visual exercise. When your business advertising is displayed right next to your competitors’, you need some way of conveying your brand’s personality, meaning and value instantly. This is where your logo, website, product packaging and other advertisements come in.

Why should I care about colour?

According to research published in technology magazine Fast Company, 84.7% of consumers cite colour as the primary reason they chose to buy a particular product. As colour is shown to improve comprehension and reading, it’s no surprise colour advertisements are read up to 42% more often than those in black and white.

“But Apple uses monochrome and look how successful they are!” You say. It’s true they use it to great effect, but prior to this sleek, neutral logo, their apple included all colours of the rainbow. You may not want to use the whole colour spectrum, but a few bright and eye-catching colours used throughout can have a significant impact. Consistency is also essential for repeat business and brand recognition, as customers can subconsciously associate you with a particular set of colours. You only need glimpse McDonald’s iconic golden arches before you start craving a burger. 

Our brains on colour

Similarly, if you understand the meanings and emotions our brains associate with a certain palette, you can use this to gain the upper hand on your competitors. It’s important to remember that those meanings can change depending on the industry. For example, the use of blue in pharmaceuticals is associated with cleanliness and well-being, but in the fast food industry, it is most often used to promote sugary sweetness.

In order to make choosing your brand colours easier, we’ve done the research for you! See below for each colour and how it is generally used in advertising. 

Red

red ink in water

Emotional

    • Energy
    • Passion
    • Danger
  • Warmth

Marketing

    • Stimulates appetite
    • Creates a sense of urgency
    • Used to entice impulse shoppers
  • Reduces analytical thinking

Society

    • A symbol of good luck in China
    • Associated with romance
    • Used in warning signs
  • Has strong political associations

Companies

    • KFC
    • Netflix
    • Coca Cola
  • Target

Orange

yellow ink in water (1)Emotional

    • Excitement
    • Adventurous
    • Caution
  • Cheerful

Marketing

    • Indicates a good value deal
    • Drives customers to take action
    • Inspires activity & energy
  • Can be considered harsh

Society

    • Used in warning symbols
    • Associated with vitamin C
    • Valued in eastern religions
  • Widely used for food colouring

Companies

    • Firefox
    • Amazon
    • Jetstar
  • Gatorade

Yellow

yellow ink in waterEmotional

    • Happiness
    • Wisdom
    • Creativity
  • Clarity

Marketing

    • Can cause eye strain
    • Stimulates mental processes
    • Represents new ideas
  • Aids recollection

Society

    • Associated with sporting success
    • Used for post-it notes
    • Large amounts cause irritability
  • Makes babies cry

Companies

    • Caterpillar
    • Shell
    • IKEA
  • Subway  

Green

Green ink in water

Emotional

    • Growth
    • Relaxation
    • Generosity
  • Acceptance

Marketing

    • Alleviates anxiety
    • Sparks creative thought
    • Denotes financial success
  • Improves productivity

Society

    • Communicates safety
    • Ancient symbol of fertility
    • Linked to environmentalism
  • Associated with greed or envy

Companies

    • Starbucks
    • BP
    • Xbox
  • Spotify

Blue

blue ink in water

Emotional

    • Calmness
    • Reliability
    • Order
  • Precision

Marketing

    • Lowers blood pressure
    • Colour preferred most by men
    • Encourages rational thinking
  • Reduces appetite

Society

    • Ubiquitous in corporate spheres
    • Represents conservatism
    • Colour of mourning in Central Asia
  • Associated with law enforcement

Companies

    • Pepsi
    • Facebook
    • Samsung
  • American Express

Purple

Purple ink

Emotional

    • Spirituality
    • Mystery
    • Ambition
  • Selflessness

Marketing

    • Used to soothe or calm
    • Denotes wealth & success
    • Represents a premium service
  • Popular with younger demographics

Society

    • Colour of western royalty
    • Symbolic of piety & faith
    • Widely used by cosmetics brands
  • Military symbol of bravery

Companies

    • Hallmark
    • Yahoo!
    • Cadbury
  • Dodo

Pink

pink ink in waterEmotional

    • Love
    • Compassion
    • Sweetness
  • Innocence

Marketing

    • Used to target female consumers
    • Ideal for marketing sweet foods
    • Reduces aggression & energy
  • Favoured by millennials

Society

    • Was once a masculine colour
    • Associated with drunkenness
    • Symbolises joy in Catholicism
  • Colour of breast cancer awareness

Companies

    • Donut King
    • Wendy’s
    • Barbie
  • LG

Combining colours, or mixing neutral and bold palettes, can showcase specific personality traits for your business. It’s crucial to do your research when creating any kind of branding, advertising or content marketing for your business. Think about these colour meanings, your industry, any cultural associations and analyse your competition.

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