Colour Psychology and Marketing: How Brands Use Color to Manipulate Marketing
I doubt any ordinary person would give it a second thought as to why certain brands use certain colors to reach out to their audience. Most of the time, we are mindlessly consuming while paying no heed to the psychology behind marketing. However, once we learn of it, we go all “WOWWW” because the information we end up gathering is utterly fascinating.
Some brands are directly identifiable by their colors. The red of Coca-Cola, the black and gold of Chanel, or the yellow of IKEA allows them to be immediately recognized. The color a company uses to be identified has a deeper meaning. A brand can thus express the confidence that one can have in it, the quality of its products, and much more.
Good marketing uses colors that represent professionalism, trust, and humanism. Such brands penetrate the “world” of customers by carrying out marketing audits for them, then helping them to attract customers through their websites as well. For this, we need these 3 values to be fully respected.
Color guides have been made based on research done by Karen Haller, an expert in colors and their influence on businesses. Let’s see how the different colors can cause manipulation of customers.
The History Behind Colour Psychology and Marketing
More than 40,000 years ago, the unique combination of chalk, earth, animal fat, and burnt charcoal was used by artists to create the first known pigments. This made it possible to define a base of five colors that are the foundation of the palette in art in the period that followed: black, white, red, yellow, and brown.
For centuries, only pure and bright colors that were difficult to conceive were considered beautiful. They were considered the privilege of high ranks, according to the following rule: bright colors for the rich, who can afford them, dark colors for the poor.
As soon as bright colors became easily conceivable, the rich adorned themselves with duller colors to showcase their power and stand out. The interpretation of colors is important and has evolved in this relationship to each culture rather than through a natural perception of color itself. Though that very idea of differentiation gave birth to efficient branding and marketing in modern days.
Colour Psychology and Marketing :Fun & Friendship – Yellow
Brands using yellow want to express joy, optimism, friendship, warmth, and clarity. Yellow is also the most visible color in daylight. It’s hard to pass by a street and ignore a sign of this color.
BRANDS USING YELLOW
IKEA uses yellow in its logo, leaflets, even in its store. This shows the consumer that they love to have fun and make it exciting for everyone. Do you go to IKEA with your family? I doubt your children will be bored there.
Major brands that use Yellow: Snapchat, Mc Donald’s, Amazon.com.
Colour Psychology and Marketing : Power & Passion – Red
Red is the color of excitement, youth, and passion. It also represents energy, courage, and sensation.
BRANDS USING RED
Virgin has been using red since its inception. Richard Branson, its founder, wanted it to express the feeling of confidence and energy. A real success.
Other major brands using red: Ferrari, Supreme, Coca-Cola, Ray-Ban.
Colour Psychology and Marketing: Luxury & Fantasy – Purple/Violet
Quality, luxury, and decadence are associated with purple. Be careful, it can sometimes seem too fanciful and not enough in touch with reality.
BRANDS USING PURPLE
Milka is the most famous brand with the idea of purple cows.
The consumer feels the quality through this color because it is so damn regal! Back in the days, violet/purple was the color of royalty; tied directly to the kings and queens. The semblance still remains and only a few brands dare to use it.
Other major brands using purple: Yahoo, Hallmark, Twitch.
Colour Psychology and Marketing: Prestige & Poshness – Black/Grey
Like purple, black is a color of luxury. When used well, black communicates prestige and exclusivity. Black is a color to which you will more easily tune your ‘seriousness’.
BRANDS USING BLACK
Chanel’s gold and black are reminiscent of products of unparalleled exclusive quality.
Other major brands using black: WWF, Puma, Bentley.
Colour Psychology and Marketing: Playfulness & Cheerfulness – Orange
Orange is cheerfulness. Businesses using orange are perceived as cheerful and fun with an emphasis on social contact. Orange also represents physical comfort, such as the sun and its warmth. But be careful when using orange, a brand may be deemed incapable of being serious.
BRANDS USING ORANGE
The bank and insurance company ING uses orange in its logo, the lion. It expresses this ‘playful’ aspect and compensates for it with the blue of ING, which brings its confidence and logic aspect to it. It is hard to imagine a bank wanting to put the “fun” aspect forward.
Other major brands using orange: Fanta, Harley Davidson, Firefox.
Colour Psychology and Marketing: Green – Youth & Nature
Today, Green is a color widely used for everything related to the environment and its protection. Green also means youth and the love of life.
BRANDS USING GREEN
Garnier clearly shows that it wants to help customers protect nature and be a part of it. The company is directly involved in this process. Garnier Fructis Shampoos are sold in eco-packaging.
Other major brands using green: BP, Land Rover, Greenpeace.
Colour Psychology and Marketing: Calm & Logical – Blue
Blue represents trust, integrity, and communication. Be careful, if misused, blue can also make your brand appear cold, distant, and inaccessible. Customers associate blue with logic, calm, and serenity.
BANDS USING BLUE
The major social networks on the internet such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, use blue as a priority in their logo. The baby blue of Twitter, tending towards yellow, also expresses the entertaining aspect of this social media. Facebook, however, uses blue for a different reason. Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind so the color he can perceive the best is blue.
Other major brands using blue: Dell, Oral-B, American Express.
Colour Psychology and Marketing: What color to choose?
What Colors Would You Choose for Your Business?
I’d say you’d want to find a mix between:
1. Who YOU are, as a company, and what values do you want to highlight?
2. Who are your target customers and what are they looking for?
It is at the intersection between these 2 criteria that the ideal colors for you can be found.
To know your market and understand the desires of your customers, good marketing teams and creative agencies can help you. You’ll get to fully penetrate the mental universe of your customers. This strategy can change everything about your brand image.