Ideal’s MD Helen Campbell has some thoughts on how colour can influence customers and potential clients.

When redecorating the Ideal Marketing meeting room recently, we decided to repaint the rather drab magnolia walls in one of our brand colours. As these are orange and purple, we knew that it would be something of a bold choice – and would certainly transform what was to be honest, an uninspiring space.

Orange was the final choice and combined with a bright white, the whole space now looks fresh and lively – just right for a place where ideas are born and plans are made. The whole question got me  thinking about our relationship with colour; how it influences our moods and decisions – and how we can use colour effectively to build our brand as well as marketing our products and services.

What makes you see red?

Ultimately, colour provokes emotions. Psychologists believe that our reactions to different colours are largely influenced by our personal preferences as well as our individual experiences and culture. So, although particular colours are often associated with specific emotions and concepts, each individual will perceive them slightly differently.

The role of colour in branding

When branding a product, colour is an important part of the packaging and overall design – and this is influenced by the kind of image you are trying to project and who the target consumer is. For example, organic products that are associated with health and wellbeing or environmental issues will often be dominated by greens and earthy colours. The packaging may even be plain card, a little rough and ready to denote a product sold in its purest, most natural form.

Brands that are trying to attract attention and promote themselves as being on trend, exciting and vibrant will almost certainly opt for colours at the brighter end of the spectrum: lime greens, strong reds, and sunshine yellows. Whites, greys and creams tend to be the palette chosen for health products such as skincare ranges, denoting purity and cleanliness.

Sell more oranges

So, what was the story behind The Ideal Marketing Company’s choice of orange and purple for our brand colours back in 2003 when the company was first formed?

It actually came about because the company’s founder Alastair Campbell used to work in a media agency next to Berwick Street fruit and veg market in Soho, London. This market was (and still is) famous with Londoners, located right in the heart of Soho, the capital’s media heartland.

He noticed that the oranges sold by many of the traders were arranged against a purple background and wondered why that was. After asking around and carrying out some research, he found the answer: the traders told him that placing the oranges against a purple background made the fruit appear a brighter shade of orange, and therefore look more tempting. The market traders were actually using a natural law of colour contrast to their advantage – perhaps without even knowing why it worked. All they knew was that it helped them to sell more oranges.

Choosing the right colour for your brand

So, when choosing your brand colour, it makes sense to do some research into that colour and the impact that it is likely to have on potential customers. The colour that you choose can help convey what kind of company you are aiming to be, or the type of product that you are trying to sell. It’s a very powerful form of visual communication. Think of some of the most famous and instantly recognisable brands that you know – Coca Cola, McDonald’s Google and Starbucks for example – their primary colour will have been very carefully chosen to convey what their brand should represent.

Does colour influence your decision to buy?

Yes according to a north American study by Kissmetrics which suggested that people make a subconscious decision about a product within 90 seconds – with 85% of shoppers stating that colour was a primary reason why they decided to buy a particular product. Kissmetrics also found that use of colour helped increase brand recognition by up to 80% – so if you choose a colour that works for you, my advice is stick to it. This evidence also has significant implications for the colours that we use on logos, packaging, marketing materials such as flyers and emails, websites, adverts – and even office decor.

So what emotions and ideas do we associate with different colours? Let’s start with Ideal Marketing’s own brand colours of orange and purple.

Orange – associated with friendliness, positivity and energy – all qualities that the team at Ideal Marketing have in abundance!

Purple – associated with imagination, luxury and magic; purple is a spiritual colour, which forms the perfect creative partner when combined with the vibrancy of orange.

Red – powerful and dynamic, this is a bold colour used to make a statement. Think Virgin and Coca Cola. It can’t be ignored and is often used in sales promotions.

Yellow – one of the most easily seen colours and is associated with feelings of joy, happiness and optimism – think of all those McDonald’s golden arches. Love them or hate them, they are easy to spot!

White – associated with cleanliness, innocence and purity – a colour that we trust and so is often used in the health industry. The White Company is the ultimate white brand – it is exactly what it says on the tin!

Blue – another trustworthy colour associated with loyalty and reliability and so often used by banks and other financial institutions – think Barclays and what colour comes to mind?

Green – evokes the harmony and tranquillity of nature, another popular choice for in the health industry – and it’s no random decision that as a high end supermarket, Waitrose use green as their signature colour.

Black – sophisticated and sleek, but can also be sombre and overwhelming; often used to convey a sense of luxury and to create contrast – Chanel is possibly one of the most iconic brands strongly associated with black – from its instantly recognisable logo to the ‘little black dress’.

Pink – associated with fun, femininity and frivolity; it conveys a sense of youthfulness and hope and is not surprisingly often used to market products aimed at women and girls, such as Barbie. Pink gin is also currently gaining a larger share of the gin market.

Brown – it’s certainly not a ‘look at me’ colour, but it does convey a sense of security and dependability. Also favoured by some chocolate brands such as M&M’s, Aero and Green and Black’s.

So, whether you are repainting, rebranding or just starting out, make sure you give careful thought to the colours you chose to represent your organisation. They will have a huge impact on how your customers see you.

For a free consultation about your marketing needs, from branding to PR to digital marketing, email [email protected] or call 01858 44 55 43.

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