Decoding Colour – What does your brand say about you? 

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.

Brand Power – what values are driving your company culture?

Brand Power – what values are driving your company culture?

There are many global businesses who’s brand has become a household name – for example technology giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – to retailers such as Marks and Spencer, a quintessentially British brand that’s been around since 1884, who’s brand positioning is to ‘bring quality, great value food, clothing and homeware to millions of customers around the world’, and a John Lewis, another retailer that’s stood the test of time, who’s initial brand values were ‘Value, Assortment, Service and Honesty’, and that have now evolved to ‘Value, Integrity and Vision’.  Throughout the years their moto remains ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’.

On the technology front, under a guiding philosophy called the ‘Hacker Way’, Facebook are reported to have five core values, namely – Focus on impact, move fast, be bold, be open and build social value. In the early years, from an external point of view, one may say that they were living by these values, however in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and major data breach, one might argue that being bold went a bit too far, and that wasn’t quite the impact they were intending to make. 

Living your brand values

I read a really interesting article recently about an Australian software company called Atlassian, that helps teams work smarter and faster, together. Founded in Syndey, with 3000 employees, the company has opted to overhaul how they conduct their performance reviews, to shine a light on their ‘values’. This means that two-thirds of a performance review will focus on how their employees impact the wider team, how they live the company values, and will openly encourage staff to bring ‘their whole self to work’; the remaining one-third will be cover job skills for the specific role fulfilled.

If a business wants to attract and retain the right talent, then their company values need to shine through every division in their business to help build the desired company culture. For companies I’ve worked with, I’ve ensured the marketing team has worked collaboratively with HR so brand values are front and centre in the recruitment process; on-boarding process for new joiners; and the review process for employees. Moreover, from a commercial new business standpoint, these brand values will influence who a company chooses to work with, partner with, and build a long-term relationship with. Like any relationship, if values aren’t acknowledged and appreciated from the outset, the relationship can be very short-lived.

It’s important for employees to live a company’s values and for them to be exemplified in everyday behaviour when engaging with their team and co-workers, through to how they engage, collaborate and communicate with third parties – for example, partners, PR and digital agencies, creatives, sponsors and more. Your values are a core part of your brands ‘heart beat’ and ‘personality’, which is the thing that makes people love (or hate) a brand. 

Company culture and competitor advantage

Your people, practices and behaviours will drive a business forwards, but at its core, it’s your company culture that creates competitive advantage.  In the past 50 years, how companies operate and how people work has changed dramatically. The current nature of our working environment and the fact it’s evolved significantly in the past few decades, with the growing Gig economy, flexibility in the workplace, the rise of the four day week, and employees working remotely from home or other locations, makes it’s more important than ever that businesses live their brand values, to build a cohesive, collaborative, communicative team.  

Branding and mentorship from the best in the business 

In my early thirties I was lucky to have a mentor – the head of brand at O2. It was a fantastic experience to receive insight and guidance from Susie Moore, and to know we shared the same passion for how to build a brand, how to bring them into each marketing touchpoint, and the importance of working collaboratively with HR.

Our company values are not just word’s we mount on a wall in the reception area, in the vain hope they’ll penetrate employees, partners, prospects and clients as they pass – our values are words that have meaning.  

If you are an employee – Do you know what your companies brand values are? How are you encouraged to live and breathe them? Are they part of your review process? How are you rewarded for behaviour that underpins your employers brand values?

If you are a business owner – How are you living your brand values? Have your values been created with a sense of ownership from your employees? Are they present in your thinking on a daily basis? Are you creating a values-bases company culture? Have you evaluated what values most align with your higher purpose and business?

Never underestimate the power of your brand, it is the most important part of your marketing weaponry – love your brand and nurture it.