Category Archives: Advertising

How Malls Manipulate

Malls really aren’t just four walls that are housing different shops. It is usually a massive area containing multiple shopping outlets and franchises. But, things aren’t that simple as malls require shoppers to purchase as much as possible in as short a space a time. How they manipulate shoppers is worth investigating, so that we can combat it in ourselves and perhaps use it in our businesses.


We tend to use our senses in a complicated way: for example, we don’t just decide we want food based on taste alone. Something can look appetising but taste awful and something can look awful but be delicious. Similarly, we associate positive sense engagement with whatever caused it and other things closely associate with it. This is why malls play positive music that makes us feel comfortable. This way, we associate nice music with nice things. Our rational faculties are lowered a bit, meaning we’re more likely to think something is a good deal when it’s actually normally-priced; we think that we need a product, when we really don’t, due it being so “nice”.


As signage manufacturers, in South Africa, New York, Hong Kong, will tell you, the most important element of signage is the property of being memorable and functional. Thus, signs that are big don’t necessarily mean they will be remembered: they will just be big. Smart designs and spacing in malls means we learnt to associate particular colours and fonts and smells with particular elements of the mall. Even the spacing of the mall means we keep travelling further to obtain a sign and direction: meaning we pass shops we other might not have in order to acquire a sense of direction of where we are. Thus, one clever way malls do this is to occasionally and unequally space out maps and directions, meaning you’re forced to wander, increasing your chance of buying.


You can put things in a better light, literally. Even making them shiny can, for example, slow people down which gives you more time to sell products and increases the chances of customers buying things from you store. People also believe shiny cars drive better, despite the fact that a clean car has little to do with a car’s interior – by definition.

Bigger numbers

If you put $200 next to $400, the former looks better. Indeed, if you priced a tie for $200 by itself, it might look crazy. But put it next to a $400 tie and suddenly it looks amazing and obvious as a purchase. This is known as anchoring, where we pin a specific measurement against a figure provided: in this case it would be in the high triple digits. This is a smart way to get people to pay unnecessary amounts where they otherwise would not have.

All of these are methods malls use that we should watch out for but also utilise in our own attempts to sell and get more customers for our businesses.

The Psychology of Brand Colours

What is the colour of the McDonald’s arch? Can you name the two colours on a Coca-Cola can? How about the colour in which the Facebook logo appears?

If you answered yellow, red and white, and blue, you are correct.

The purpose of the exercise? To illustrate the power of colour in branding. Because if you think McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Facebook chose their brand colours at random, you’d be wrong.

Colours are enormously powerful and each one in the colour wheel evokes a different emotion in us humans. While these emotions are also shaped by personal experiences, there are universal truths. Yellow, for instance, is associated with fun and warmth. And isn’t that exactly McDonald’s image in a nutshell?

Marketing software company, Marketo, quantifies the importance of colour to brands even further. According to them, studies found that colour influences between 60 and 80 per cent of a consumer’s purchase decision. Further to this they state that the first thing consumers notice about your logo is its colour. The wrong colour could thus mean the difference between making and losing a sale.

So, how should a marketing team go about picking the right corporate or logo colours?

Learn, then mind the meanings of colours

As pointed out earlier, Facebook’s corporate colour is blue. This is also true for Twitter, Standard Bank and Skype and Samsung. And all of these brands use blue because in business blue stands for loyalty, confidence and trustworthiness. They’re all strong feelings that make a consumer feel safe.

Green, as used by Nedbank, BP and more than a handful of eco-friendly brands, represent growth, new beginnings and good health. Other popular colours are orange, as used by Steers, and purple, as can be seen on boxes of Cadbury chocolate. Orange symbolizes youthfulness and vivacity, while purple is associated with royalty and sophistication, which makes it popular with brands that want to be seen as exclusive.

For all the other colours of the rainbow and their associations, look at this article on

Specific considerations to keep in mind

It is important to keep in mind that certain colours suit certain industries, because the association between the two has been strengthened over the years. The health industry, for instance, goes hand-in-hand with blue, while brown instantly brings to mind the agricultural section. This doesn’t mean these colours can’t be used in other industries, just that they have be applied elsewhere with care.

Be mindful of cultural differences as well, especially if you run an international business. For instance, while white is a pure colour associated with innocence and peace in the West, those in the East associated white with death and sadness. Picking the wrong colour could thus potentially prove disastrous.

There are even differences in how women and men perceive colours. A study done in 2003 found that women listed purple as a favourite colour, while not a single man put it on their list of favourites. Women also preferred tints of a colour, while men leaned towards shades.

Putting it all together…

It’s certain that you have a specific image you want your brand and logo to convey to consumers. Once you’ve studied all of the colours plus their meanings and associated emotions, match the correct colours to what you envisage for your brand.

Now you can make the chosen colour work for your brand in its logo, plus all the applications and places it appears. You want to do it on packaging, on the company website and even the physical building itself. It’s very easy to find suppliers of external wall cladding in South Africa that’ll design the outside of the building to your liking. Don’t forget about the inside too, like the reception area. Every business aspect customers come into contact with should tell them what your brand is about. Remember – this has to potential to lose or win the business customers.

Advertising That Keeps on Giving

In the digital age we live in, it is customary for small businesses to market themselves online. Why? Because it is relatively cheap. Tap into social media and the marketing of a business can in fact be done for free.

The potential problem with this approach is that you could be invisible to people who do not know that your company exist. This is because a poor digital strategy will effectively push your company to the bottom of search results and thus keep it out of sight.

Business owners should not forget that the ‘real’ world still presents plenty of marketing opportunities. And it is quite possible for these to be as cost effective as online solutions. The secret is in picking marketing devices that deliver a continued return on investment. That is, a device that is installed, launched or purchased once, but it secures money or interest for your business on an on-going basis.

Here are four such money-making machines:

Referral program

Few strategies are as effective as word-of-mouth. Take advantage of this by offering existing (satisfied) customers a reward of some kind for every new customer they send your way. The reward can be a discount coupon, free product or a saving off their next purchase. You will have more customers than you know what to do with in no time!

Brand your car

Brand your car with a vehicle wrap or magnetic signs and you’ll take your business wherever you go. This is especially effective if you’re on the road for most of the day. You’ll pass hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers every month. Steer clear of trying to say too much, however – the simpler, the better.


If your business does not have a sign yet, it’s best that you soon contact signage manufacturers in South Africa to invest in one. A big, bold sign on the outside of your building increases awareness and attracts new customers. People might drive by your premises more than once before they pop in, but be sure that they will notice your shop and that the business name will slowly but surely settle in their subconscious mind.


Look towards your community to see if there are any sports teams, events or other such initiatives to sponsor. The initial cost involved might be high, but your brand will enjoy attention whenever the team is playing or the event is happening. Do not pick a once-off event – go with something that happens on a weekly or monthly basis.