Color Psychology in Marketing
As a business owner, you want to send the right message to prospective customers. Your company name and logo do much of the legwork, but the colors you use in your logo, on your website and even in your store can help or hurt sales. Are you trustworthy? Should customers purchase now lest product runs out? Or do you want them to feel calm? A study of color psychology in marketing can point you the the way to using color in imagery to grab consumer attention and direct their mood. The power of color is sometimes subtle, so don’t forget to make use of it.
The use of red in marketing represents several ideas and emotions. For starters, shades of red — and pink — bring to mind ideas of passion and romantic love. Manufacturers who want to get the most out of color psychology in marketing capitalize on this idea. There’s a reason why Valentine’s Day brings shelves full of red hearts to the local stores. Red roses, too, fall in line with this idea. If you love someone, you purchase a bouquet of red flowers.
Passion isn’t the only motif that marketers hope to suggest by using the color red. Boldness and bravery also make the list. Energy Drink Red Bull uses the color in its logo and, literally, in its name. You’ll feel strong and energized like a bull after you drink a can, and the marketing surround the product reflects this.
If you’re like a bull, seeing red will increase your heart rate, which can encourage you to make a sale. For this reason, some retailers post clearance or sale tags in the color red. For a similar reason, impulse buys like candy near the cash register often have red packaging.
Pretty in Pink
Red is often seen with its lighter cousin when it comes to product design and companies logos, but pink has a softer feel to it. People also associate pink hues with femininity. This is why toys for girls, including Barbie, often use the shade. There may be no better example of color psychology in marketing than with pink. Toy aisles for little girls have you looking through item after item in carnation pink packaging. Because pink is associate with femininity and womanhood, many breast cancer awareness and fundraising organizations use the color in their logo. Susan G. Komen is one of many.
Some research also suggests that pink is a calming color, which is why the shade has been used in prison experiments. Some studies suggest that the type of buyers who react to pink are traditional buyers who are likely to use physical coupons and write checks instead of relying on technology or shopping online.
Purple and Color Psychology in Marketing
While there’s certainly overlap between shades of pink and purple, the associations with purple tend to surround wealth and power due to the fact that some kings wore purple robes and this extends to color psychology in marketing with ease. There’s a reason they call it “royal purple,” after all. Think of Crown Royal whiskey, a Canadian brand that uses a purple logo. Crown Royal gets marketing right by aiming for people who want to live the high life. The bottle itself is fancier than most, and consumers get either a purple box or a cinching bag, complete with golden rope and tassels.
The idea of wealth and power extends to sophistication. Someone who wears purple tends to be one of experience, class and even wisdom. Older women who are part of the Red Hat Society, which is known for its red hats and purple apparel, embody the idea of sophistication earned through experience. Once a year, candy lovers also flock to the store to buy Cadbury eggs, a chocolate treat that’s packaged in purple foil. Even unwrapping the candy can feel decadent.
More recently, people have come to associate the color purple with creativity and imagination, especially in younger people. SyFy, for example, is a science fiction television station that obviously requires TV watches to suspend disbelief as they become immersed in fantasy worlds. If you can’t think of a way to say it yourself, Hallmark has a card for every occasion, and it’s adorned with the purple logo on the back.
With global warming becoming an increasing concern, some companies have shifted to more environmentally-friendly practices in recent years. Others have simply hopped on the so-called “green” bandwagon simply to reap the rewards of consumers who want to do good with their money. Coincidentally, money itself is green, and it seems like companies that misuse the color to appeal to the consumer’s better nature have no qualms. This blatant use of color psychology in marketing is known as “green washing.”
However, several companies have always been known for green. John Deere, which manufacturers farming and lawn equipment, speaks directly to farmers who see wish to see plenty of green every year. Jolly Green Giant is a brand of vegetables, both canned and frozen. While not every vegetable is green, consumers associate the color with healthy foods and, by extension, healthy bodies. Tropicana, Animal Planet and Whole foods all make the list of companies that want to present their products or services as natural. Food and beverage companies especially use green when launching products that are supposed to be “better” for the consumer’s health, even if the claim isn’t actually true.
Sleek Silver and Gorgeous Gray
Companies who use silver, shades or gray or combinations of black and white are making a statement, but the statement might not always be the same. Since Apple became a powerhouse in the later 2000s, the silver Apple logo is recognizable by everyone. The company worked hard to build their image as sophisticated and contemporary. This may be one reason that Apple moved away from the multicolor apple logo in the late 1990s. Before then, Apple’s logo was a rainbow of colors, but someone on the branding team reconsidered their color psychology in marketing. Now, the silver logo is what everyone knows.
Gray, in addition to white, may seem as “empty” or neutral colors. You’ll often see them used as a backdrop for more vibrant colors like red or blue. This color represents balance and sophistication. Companies with gray logos, like Swarovski, want to come across as formal, perhaps to the point of somber.
Blue Is Best?
Anyone who’s read about color psychology in marketing has heard that blue is a calming color. Yes, looking at the sky or ocean can bring a sense of inner piece. However, there’s so much more to this color. Corporations often use blue because of the connotations of productivity. Some companies think of blue as unobtrusive. Customers won’t spend so much time looking at your logo that they miss the pitch you’re trying to give them.
“[IBM’s] image was blue, which means stability, which means stability. It means longevity.” – Elaine Love
Blue indicates a company that shoppers can trust. It’s no wonder than IBM, American Express and Wal-mart all want you on board. Blue Cross and Blue obviously understands color psychology in marketing; the company name uses the color twice!
How do you incorporate color psychology in marketing into your company’s logo, materials and facilities?
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