There is one thing business owners have in abundance and that is their passion.
They really do believe in what they are doing. They are great at working in their business and they want it to represent what their business truly stands for.
They really want their brand to give the right impression knowing that first impressions count.
And branding, and what brand colours you choose are a big part of that first impression.
When we see branding that’s on a business card, store interior, a window or a brochure, the brand colour is the first thing we take in.
We are either experiencing a positive or negative psychological reaction to the combination of colours. In other words, we look at the brand colours and we experience a feeling; it’s already making us feel a certain way. Most of the time we don’t consciously realise this is even happening.
But it is.
Then we confirm those feeling with the images we see; the logo, the shapes, and the words we are reading.
What Impression Are Your Brand Colours Making?
As human beings we are constantly looking for harmony. We are constantly calibrating and when we feel something is out of alignment, we instantly know something is wrong. We may or may not know what it is, but we do know something isn’t quite right.
If your overall branding is giving mixed messages at this point, usually before you (the business owner) have even met your potential client or customer, it could be costing you the sale!
On the other hand, if the personality of your brand is fully expressed through your colours, logo, font, the copy of your website and materials etc., then the potential client or customer will be getting the same consistent message confirmed for them.
“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
Brand Colours Can Make All the Difference
Here’s an example.
If you had a counseling business and your brand colours were black and white, and your copy read: ‘our service is warm, caring, understanding and listening,’ the reader would instinctively know that black and white isn’t about being warm and caring, it’s about drama and sophistication; where there is no room for compromise.
Now, how do you think those brand colours would make them feel? Would it make them feel like this is a someone who will be kind and nurturing? More like clinical and cold!
Humans instinctively know when something isn’t right and would be asking themselves ‘So which one are they?’ They don’t know which experience they are going to get.
What might be going through their head is something like ‘Hold on, is it the words or is it what I feel when I see the colours? I don’t understand, it doesn’t make sense…I’m not going to bother’. And at that point, you will most probably lose them.
As human beings, we are always seeking harmonious patterns and we know when something is out of alignment, even if that is at a deep unconscious level.
“…if your overall branding is giving mixed messages it could be costing you the sale.”
Communicating Through Colour
Most business owners use colour as mere decoration or as an afterthought. Instead, think of colour as a subliminal language, another way to communicate and to attract your ideal clients.
Used to its full effect, your branding colours will give you the competitive edge, elicit the right emotional response from your prospects, and significantly increase your sales.
What do your business branding colours represent? What does it mean for your business brand identity?
Colour as a Marketing Tool
Colour works on the unconscious level. And if you’re not consciously aware of the powerful role colour plays on your customer’s emotions and their purchasing decisions, well then, it’ll remain just that – unconscious.
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
This means, that although the effort you put into choosing your brand’s visual identity (such as the right logo/wordmark, font, strapline, images, content) and working on your after sales service are all vitally important, the effort is potentially wasted if on a subconscious level your business brand colours are giving out a completely different message.
Customers will feel this on a subconscious level and think either you aren’t for them or that you don’t get them. This is one of the quickest ways to repel your ideal customers.
Shoppers place colour as a primary reason for when they buy a particular product – Source: KISSmetrics
Colour psychology as a science is considered relatively new.
There is an incredible amount of research being carried out by eminent colour psychology professors and scientists all over the world, which is of significant importance. All of the amazing research findings enable me to further develop my work as a specialist in the field of applied colour psychology.
I often refer to colour psychology in marketing as the “big brands best kept secret”. It’s my aim to bring colour psychology to the consciousness of the small to medium size business owner and help them take advantage of this too.
Choosing the Right Colours for Your Business Brand
Every colour has positive and negative psychology qualities, so there isn’t any particular colour that is most appropriate. It is about picking the right tones, the right combinations and the right proportions that reflect your business brand’s authentic personality and values.
When you consistently use the same branding colours way beyond your logo into everything your customers see, you are not only building brand recognition, but trust with your customers.
Every single item relates to your brand.
From your business stationery, marketing materials, website, and social media through to your retail premises. Major brands never miss an opportunity to reinforce brand awareness. When you walk through the doors of any major business, you will notice that they use their brand colours to full effect, so there is no mistake on the customer’s part as to where they are.
So how do we get to the right colour choice for your business brand? How do we ensure our colour signalling, our way of non-verbal communication is in alignment with all the visual elements of our brand?
Just follow these steps:
1. Identify your business brand personality by establishing your core business values, aims and principles.
2. Select the tonal colour group (colour patterning) that best represent your business brand personality.
3. Select the colour or colours whose psychological properties best express your business brand.
Be aware, the impact of colours can change when colours are combined and their intensity changes.
Once you have identified your brand colour palette based on your brand’s personality and values, and your logo, images and copy are all giving the same cohesive message (across all areas of your business), you’ll begin to attract your ideal clients and customers.
The right colours sell your product or service. There is no doubt about it.
Never underestimate the psychological impact of your business brand colours on your bottom line.
Your distinctive brand colours will:
- Grab attention – attracting your ideal customers
- Work directly on your prospective customer’s feelings and emotions
- Stand out from the crowd – differentiating your brand from your competitors and making your brand memorable (and this doesn’t mean bright, loud and garish).
- Build trust – using the same colour tones consistently in all your branding literature and products increases brand recognition.
By choosing the wrong colours, that is, using colours that don’t express your business brand’s personality and values, you risk repelling your ideal customers and prospects. Getting the colours right distinguishes your brand from one that expands and grows instead of one that just fades away.
Considering a Rebrand?
Consider rebranding whenever you feel your core brand colours, logo design, font, strap line, content no longer reflects your business brand’s personality, identity and values.
Customers will get very quickly confused if on a subconscious level your business brand colours are giving a completely different message to that on the conscious level. And confused customers don’t buy.
About Karen Haller:
Karen Haller FRSA is the leading international authority in the field of Applied Colour & Design Psychology specialising in Behavioural & Human Centred Design focusing on how colour and design affects us, influences us and how businesses and designers can use it to influence positive behaviour and wellbeing. She is the author of the bestseller The Little Book of Colour, How to Use the Power of Colour to Transform Your Life written for the everyday person which has translated into 14 languages.
You can follow Karen on Instagram for more colour tips and get her free gift: The 10 Myths that Limit You using Colour Effectively .