The Hidden Power of Colours in Marketing and Branding

Colour Psychology in the Corporate World – 5 Important Facts

In this article, we’re all about colour and its prominent role in marketing – often underrated.

Do you want your branding to convey something or make people feel a certain way? If so, astute use of colour could be a strong starting point.

What is Colour Psychology?

Simply explained, it’s the study of how colour, or combinations of colour, can affect our emotions and behaviours.

In this context, we’re referring to the feelings that prompt us to do or buy something. And remember: most of the time, logic goes out of the window here.

We make decisions based on our feelings. In Xpress Group’s opinion and experience, it’s fair to say that in marketing, canny colour psychology is compelling.

Our team has the in-depth, practical and creative skills you need to get your colours right, so contact us if you’d like some input and advice.

In a world where bright, vibrant hues have mainly disappeared from how we dress, colour saturates the marketing and advertising campaigns we regularly encounter as consumers. It’s long been a highly effective tool and looks set to stay that way.

Surely not. Colour. Really?.

You may think you or your clients are immune from such influences. Apologies, but big brands know better. They recognise that colour often determines someone’s first impression of a brand or product – and that impression influences their overall judgement.

Perhaps we should all get on board the colour spectrum.

Which Colours Do What?

Let’s start with a clear caveat:

We can’t definitively say which colours and shades of colour we associate with our emotions. The reason is simple: we’ve all had different personal experiences, and no universal translation exists.

So, the answer to the question, “What colours will best suit my brand?” will always be, “It depends”.

Nevertheless, we can offer a general overview of colours vs. feelings. Then, some key facts about colour psychology to get you thinking about hue’s hue in the world of marketing and advertising.

Blue: Apparently, blue is most people’s favourite colour, and it’s a calming tone that evokes security, logic and serenity. Also, trust and wisdom. Think: Facebook. And of course, the NHS; a crucial quality in organisations that hold onto a lot of our data.

Purple: A colour linked to royalty that generates an aura of wealth and sophistication. Why? Because way back when, as a means to dye clothing, it was difficult to obtain.

Contemporary brands use purple to symbolise a superior product, service or experience; a sense of richness, perhaps. However, it also creates a decadent feeling, so it’s essential to strike a careful balance here.

On the other hand, you rarely see purple – Cadburys is a notable exception, of course – so it’s an excellent way to stand out.

Yellow: Yellow is a shade of happiness, youth and positivity. It’s no coincidence that smiley emojis are this colour. Sunflowers, egg yolks, lemons, sand, gold – and the sun.

Conversely, too much yellow is way too much. It needs to be used judiciously.

Red: There’s much to say on the colour red.

It’s all about fearlessness, excitement and energy. Also, passion and power. Its nature implies a sense of urgency, and you’ll often see calls to action on websites in this shade.

Nevertheless, it’s also steeped in danger, aggression and sometimes – pain. We see red stop lights, warning signs etc. Plus, red means real anger: we see red. Used carefully, though, it can be exciting. What “colour” is Coca-Cola, for example?

And did you know that red makes us feel hungry?

Green: Green is interesting and is currently more significant than ever – obviously, for environmental reasons: we’re all “going green” or “living greener lives”.

In a similar vein, green represents life, nature, plants, trees and the outside. In a marketing context, it could imply freshness and healthy, high-quality products. It’s a colour that’s easy to process, too.

Black: Black is everywhere and unavoidable.

Generally, it’s seen as a sleek, sophisticated colour associated with luxury brands, but its ubiquitous nature means that marketers have to box clever with smart logo designs to stand out.

White: Purity, cleanliness, and simplicity – these concepts spring to mind when we think about white. But, it can also seem bland and sterile without a pop of colour; dull, perhaps.

Five Things to Consider Regarding Colour Psychology

1) There Are Three Different Types of Colour

Let’s start with some practical basics:

There are twelve colours on a colour wheel.

  • Primary colours are red, yellow and blue. They can’t be created by mixing other colours and are building blocks.
  • Secondary colours: green, orange and purple – made by combining two primary colours.
  • Tertiary colours: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green. These come about through mixing primary and secondary colours.

As a form of non-verbal communication, colour speaks volumes:

2) Express Your Brand’s Personality

Do brands have personalities? Indeed, they do. Most likely, you’ll want your brand to stand for something and for people to relate it to its positive qualities almost as if it were a person:

“This company means this…” And so on.

In Xpress Group’s opinion, the colours you choose must support the character and personality you want to portray rather than align it with stereotypical colour associations.

3) The Right Colours Reach Your Audience

That excellent marketing “speaks” to your target market in the way they want and need isn’t exactly headline news.

However, it would appear that we human beings prefer and respond to specific colours in certain ways. Let’s get slightly non-PC here to state that we’re not all the same. And we’re not being ironic or acerbic, it’s simply a fact.

In the Western world, whether we’re drawn to something will sometimes (or often, perhaps) depend on our:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Culture
  • Age
  • Environment

For example, although hotly debated, men may prefer bolder, stronger colours; women like more muted tones. Controversial? Yes. Not all women like Barbie pink. But then again, colours can greatly affect someone’s purchasing intent in competitive sectors. We’re just leaving this one here.

4) Stand Out

We know what we like and like what we know.

Our brains focus on the familiar, so creating an immediately recognisable brand identity, and most importantly, one that really stands out moves you away from your more entrenched competitors.

Choosing the right colour contributes to your branding’s USP. Would you like to stand out like a sore thumb – in a good way? Creating striking, memorable marketing with unusual colours is an excellent way to help people recall and recognise what you do.

In this instance, combining contrasting colours or even shades that clash can be highly effective.

5) Colour Psychology is Subtle. Yet, Exceptional.

Colour psychology is rather like a perception filter; a much-used idea in science fiction (basically, we mean Doctor Who), they both have one thing in common: we’re not really aware of it, but then again – we are.

Like the TARDIS, it’s as if it’s there and not there. Just a part of life, and nothing too impactful.

But, for example, given that we associate cool colours – blues, greens and purple – with calming and soothing feelings, and warm colours – oranges, yellows and reds with energy and heat, the realisation becomes stark:

Colour is almost everything.

Final Thoughts

  • Colours have a solid psychological value in branding. They affect mood and perception. Even performance. Therefore, it needs to reflect your products and services – seamlessly and effortlessly. Consult with Xpress Group regarding how you want your marketing to make people feel – above all other considerations.
  • Some colours may be better in small doses. You can have too much of a good thing.
  • Shades matter. There are more shades of blue than you may be aware of. Where to start? And, think about how dark you want to go. For example, dark purple can be dramatic; rich purple – more sumptuous. There’s lots to think about.

There’s a lot of colour out there. Let Xpress Group help you find your perfect palate.