Decoding Colour – What does your brand say about you? 

I truly believe that colour can, and does, help people connect emotionally with others, an environment, a brands product, and a brand itself in an authentic and congruent way. However, I often think that colour is overlooked as a marketing tool by many brands and businesses, and is not given enough consideration – usually because the behavioural psychology is not fully understood or perhaps it’s not deemed important enough with other business pressures to consider.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a passion for colour, and whether we’ve chosen to acknowledge it as yet, when we look at a marketing campaign, a restaurant or item of clothing, the first thing that impacts us is colour. Of course words are important too as they actively reinforce the message we are aiming to convey subconsciously to our customers with colour, and to tell a story that helps people to connect with a product or brand in a positive, memorable way. But are we truly aware of the power of colour?

Using colour as a powerful marketing tool  

From a marketing perspective, colour is the most overlooked marketing tool. In this day and age, we’re quite rightly focused on delivering on and offline experiences, and creating content that triggers a desired action. But the first thing that a consumer will notice and subconsciously react to when looking at a marketing or advertising campaign are the colours displayed – and our intuitive reactions are inherent. Sometimes we know something is ‘off’ but we can’t quite put our finger on it. Subconsciously we’ve instantly had a positive or negative reaction – that will either draw us in and make us curious to know more, or repel us and physically encourage us to move on – which of course results in a missed opportunity for a brand to build trusted, authentic relationships with their target audience and from a commercial perspective, lost sales.

There are many brands who have nailed it. Famous for its ‘swoosh’ logo and ‘Just Do It’ slogan, Nike is one of the most well-known brands globally. Known originally for making athletic footwear, they also enable their customers to customise key products and create a pair of trainers using a customer’s favourite colour combos – if you want to read more, check out <a href="http://‘Nike by you’. The designers and creators here understand the power of colour to influence a purchase and to deliver a personalised, memorable experience that has the ‘talkability’ factor amongst friends and family, and probably your work colleagues too. When it comes to brands, P2P, personal referrals are the holy grail in the B2B and B2C world and nothing comes close or is as strong as a warm lead created in this way.

Connect and make an impact – use colour strategically

Founders, entrepreneurs and business leaders who really understand the benefits of building a brand, and understand what their brand stands for, will more than likely buy into the fact that when we are clear on who we are as people – our business benefits. Moreover, brands need to show up authentically, just as humans do, otherwise people see through them and move on (like a magpie) to the next shiny object that’s caught their eye. And in this day and age, where customers want what they want presented to them in the ‘now’, these flighty human behavioural traits need a lot of consideration when mapping out the desired customer journey and user experience.

To apply this thinking on a personal level, applied colour and design psychology expert Karen Haller asks this question – “Why is it that you’re drawn to wear blue one day and green the next?” How do you feel when you wear red, or black – do you feel powerful and strong – or have you chosen to wear those colours because that’s how you want others to perceive you on a given day?

To resonate with our target audience, think strategically about how you build your brand guidelines and playbook from the outset. Everything you communicate stems from this critical piece of work. And make sure you’re clear on your ‘North Star’, the promise your brand is making to its consumers. Your brand and all elements (visual, written, colour palette and more) must interplay and work cohesively together to establish and build your brand value over time. Get it wrong and it’ll have a negative impact commercially, culturally, and will often push potential customers into the arms of your competitors.

Although it might be tempting, don’t copy other brands and what they are doing – spend time working out what’s right for you. Understand who you are, what you want to stand for, and who your customers are – don’t chase what someone else has got, be authentic to you. Remember, your customers are people and as human beings we have a built-in system that can spot when something doesn’t quite fit. When all elements are considered and work cohesively together – colours, words, shapes and textures – the right vibe will resonate and energetically to attract the right people.

Discover your colour journey – a catalyst for business growth 

As the world continues to rotate every day with new challenges being thrown into the mix, it’s important for businesses to know who they are here to serve and the benefits they bring to their customers. Never underestimate the power of colour to influence, and the next time you come to a discussion around your brand, think strategically, and understand that colour has a huge impact when connecting with your target audience. If you’d like to find out more about consciously connecting with colour, do get in touch, I’d be happy to chat with you.

Header image by George Lebada, Pexels.

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