Design is a critical part of an effective marketing campaign. But have you considered how the use of colour can make or break your intended message?
Colour psychology studies show how colour can elicit different emotional reactions from viewers. These reactions can range from urgency to security, calm to excitement. Depending on what your goals are with your digital marketing campaign, your selection of colour can help or hinder.
In this article, we’re joined by UK specialists of roll up banners, Where The Trade Buys, to show you how different colour choices change your messages and which are the most effective for your campaign.
Colour in marketing tactics
Colour psychology has been long studied, but it’s still a fairly recent aspect in marketing. However, there have been many scientific studies into the connection between shades and sales that appear to show a strong correlation. According to a Canadian experiment, nearly 90% of snap decisions regarding consumer products are based solely on colour.
If your audience is predominantly male or mainly female, your choice of colour needs to adapt to suit. For example, a study published in the Journal of Retailing found that men believed savings were much greater in value if they was advertised in red rather than black, while the difference was much smaller among women. The imbalance of colour psychology between males and females was also apparent in the study, Colour Assignment. Although blue was popular across the board, this study found that purple was a second-favourite colour for women but the second-least favourite among men. Similarly, other studies on colour attractiveness found that softer hues are preferred by women, while bold shades were liked by men. Are you using the right hues for your main consumer?
Using different colours for different purpose can also be useful. For example, studies have shown that yellow is utilised to grab attention and should perhaps be the colour of choice in store windows, while red is most people’s key indicator of discount prices and ‘urgency’ and should be used on clearance sales posters for optimum effect. Also, both these shades are warm colours. According to an experiment, these are better at sticking in a viewer’s memory than cool colours (like blue and green). So, it might be good to use them on promotional ads to keep consumers thinking about your offer for longer, as well as your brand logo itself to ensure you come to mind when they next need a product or service you offer.
It’s not just block colours that you need to consider — colour combinations can also be very effective. Another study found that contrasting shades also improved readability — essential if you want your outdoor banner to be seen by more people from a greater distance. Although research suggests that personal experiences and cultural backgrounds can affect how we perceive colour, it’s clear that it plays a role in our cognitive process, which makes it worth your consideration when it comes to the few second you have to catch a consumer’s eye and attract them to your brand.
Brands and logos
Is colour psychology really so powerful in marketing? According to research compiled by Kissmetrics, 85% of shoppers surveyed say colour is a primary reason for buying something. Also, it was found that colour boosts brand recognition by around 80%.
Let’s take a look at the different messages that colours herald when used. Here are the emotions associated with each colour and examples of the successful brands that use them:
|Yellow||Optimism and youth||Chupa Chups and McDonalds|
|Green||Growth and relaxation||Starbucks and Asda|
|Pink||Romance and femininity||Barbie and Very|
|Purple||Creative and wise||Cadbury and Hallmark|
|Black||Power and luxury||Chanel and Adidas|
|Orange||Confidence and happiness||Nickelodeon and Fanta|
|Red||Energy and excitement||Coca Cola and Virgin Holidays|
|Blue||Trust and security||Barclays and the NHS|
From the above, we can see how different companies use colour very deliberately to suit the character of their company. For example, inciting trust for a bank is important, which may be why Barclays chose blue, while Starbucks wants you to relax at their coffee shops and Virgin Holidays wants you to get excited about booking a trip. According to June Mcleod, author of Colour Psychology Today: “One of the greatest assets and one of the easiest ways to sway decision or attract an emotive response — or alienate a consumer — is through colour. Purple with Cadbury; Shell with Yellow; National Trust with Green — they all work and work wonderfully well.”
There’s not exactly a right or wrong choice, simple a more or less effective one — consider Halifax nd Santander. Both are banks, but use utterly contrasting colours; would you consider one to be more effective than the other? Consider the statistic that 80% of clients think a colour is accountable for brand recognition. If you want your customers to gain a sense of loyalty and familiarity with your brand, the colour should reflect your brand’s products, services and character.
Colour and its use in advertising campaigns
Colour choice can be a major factor in a company launch or rebrand. Take beer company, Carlsberg, for example. The marketing team here worked to rebrand using colour with great success. Using white for its Carlberg Export packaging and changing its formerly green bottles to brown; the company achieved 10,000 new distribution points and a sales increase of 10% in the 12 weeks leading to summer in 2017.
Here’s a few ways you can use colour for various effects:
- Capitalise on the advantages of red and yellow: use these on your large print ads to increase the chances of catching the eyes of passers-by.
- Contrast your colours: as we discovered, using opposite shades (e.g. red and green) can improve text clarity — essential considering you have just seven seconds to make a bold first impression and get your point across.
- Consider your demographic: there are clearly some difference in how men and women perceive colour. Who do you mainly sell to? If it’s men, perhaps take these gender studies on board and avoid purple…
- Work out your brand’s ‘personality’: studies clearly show an affiliation between colour and emotion. Determine what you want consumers to think about your brand and choose a colour that reflects this ethos — whether it’s opulent (black) or fun (orange).
Keep colour psychology in mind during your next digital marketing campaign and see how it changes your response rate.