Why colour is the superpower behind your brand

Everyone has a favourite colour. Whether we admit it or not, our pre-programmed preferences to colour affect what we wear, how we decorate our homes and (yep you guessed it) what we buy. The same principle applies to how we perceive brands.

By nature, human beings respond to the colours around them. From being taught how to safely cross a road to whether a toilet is free, we instinctively know that red means no and green means go.

It makes sense then that marketers have homed in on this natural instinct. Utilising the psychology at their disposal to help steer the eye of the unsuspecting consumer in their preferred direction. And it does make sense. Think about the potent pull of McDonald’s golden arches. Not only is yellow said to make you feel happy and spontaneous (a big tick for a fast-food joint) it’s also the same colour of the signature fry itself, recognition, nostalgia, and spontaneity all wrapped up in one delicious bow. Or take perhaps the orderly, tranquil blue of the American Express logo. If businesses want to project an image of security, then often blue is the de-facto choice – stable and reliable, just as your banking should be.

Study after study has shown the influence that colour has on consumer buying habits. The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science confirms that colour directly influences how customers perceive the ‘personality’ of a brand to be. Say for example you were a value for money food shop then choosing colours typically synonymous with luxurious goods (I.e. the black and gold of Louis Vitton and the like) isn’t going to attract the audience you’re after.

How do you unlock the power of colour for your brand?

Well, as with anything involving good brand development – you need to know who you are and what you’re trying to say. What is your message? Your modus operandi? If it’s selling premium yoga mats to yummy mummies, then opting for bold or garish reds or oranges isn’t going to create the soft and peaceful wellbeing vibe that your brand is built upon. To really nail this, a few key questions to ask yourself include:

• The age range of your audience.

• Gender / demographic.

• Occupation.

• What key issues do they have?

It’s true that cultural biases and experiences heavily influence how we see the world, and that means colour too. So, it’s essential you get this right if you want your brand to succeed.

Staying competitive – it’s all about getting the colour right.

Even though consumer perceptions around colour have a pattern, that’s not to say that every brand within the same industry needs to draw from the same colour palette. Using innovative colour choices that complement the USP of your brand is a brands real superpower. But not everyone knows how to get there.

Let’s take a look how these competitors are thriving in the same sector. They’re all using colour to shape audience perceptions – but in three very different ways.

SKY is a media heavyweight. Boldly and intentionally using a multi-coloured palette to showcase the wide variety of products and services it provides. The liberal use of different colours is done to generate a feeling of high-energy and it appeals to a broad audience demographic as a result.

Conversely, Virgin Media is steadfast in its striking red branding. No fuss, no distractions, just a high-impact approach that’s focused on getting the sale. Virgin Media is telling customers “We’re here” and that’s that. The defining, iconic colour presents a brand that’s confident in what it can deliver and is essentially attracting customers like a red rag to a bull.

Channel 4 have taken a different tack all together. Choosing a minimalistic, singular colour that isn’t abrasive, intrusive, or commanding. You’d think against the noisy colours of its competitors this may be a mistake, but it isn’t. Instead, it shows customers that it cares. And, most importantly, that it’s focus is on producing quality content – not playing flashy mind games. The perception is that it it’s for the people, not the notoriety.

How can you unleash the power of colour in your branding?

Just like the world’s biggest businesses, if you want to stand out from the crowd and grow a brand that’s fit for the future, then getting help from an expert design agency is key. At Designmc we can help you discover what it is your brand is trying to say, and how best to deliver that message to your audience – all through considered and impactful branding.

Unlocking the true superpower of colour for your brand isn’t about following fad design trends or throwing paint at a wall and seeing what sticks. It’s about using research and tried and tested methods to find the right colour that works for you. Ensuring your brand is instantly recognisable and gives your business the authenticity your customers deserve.

To find out more about how we can help bring your brand to life, get in touch at hello@designmc.org