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 Entrepeneur.com.
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.