What Color is Your Brand?

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Think about this. What colors come to your mind when you hear the names McDonald's, Kit Kat, Target, IBM and UPS? Doesn't take a lot of thinking, does it?

Colors have always been an essential aspect of any branding effort and the reason we associate a particular color with a brand is because of consistency. The brand uses that color in their logos, in every advertisement and every piece of communication until not only is it associated with that color but also becomes synonymous with it. For example, IBM is so strongly associated with the color blue that it is known as "Big Blue," McDonald's is identified by its "Golden Arches" and UPS is also known as "The Big Brown Machine."

So, why are colors so important? Why does it matter so much if a brand uses red or blue or green? Every color has certain connotations and psychological effects on the observer. The color a business uses says a lot about that company and the effect it wishes to have on consumers. Red is a great attention-grabber. It is the color of energy, excitement, passion and movement. Since it is such a noticeable color, it should be used sparingly as overusing the color is likely to irritate the onlooker. It's a great color for logos and to add emphasis to advertisements but a bad one for the walls of a restaurant. Though orange also denotes energy and liveliness, it is more commonly associated with discounts and low-cost products. Colors like blue, green and pink are soft colors that are calm and restful. Blue denotes dependability, faith, loyalty, steadfastness and wisdom. Green denotes fertility, generosity, nurturing and stable energy. It is also the color most associated with nature; therefore, green is commonly used for eco-friendly products or services. Pink is the most gentle color. It denotes truth, romance, delicacy and affection. White denotes purity, freshness and cleanliness, while black is the color of power, authority and mystery. Black tends to overwhelm people, so business keep its use to a minimum.

Do colors really help consumers remember a business? The answer is yes. Research conducted by the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo shows that 92.6 percent of the total respondents said that they put most importance on visual factors when purchasing products. Only 5.6 percent said that the physical feel via the sense of touch was most important. Hearing and smell each drew 0.9 percent. When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7 percent thought that color accounted for more than half among the various factors important for choosing products. Research also shows that color increases brand recognition by 80 percent; improves readership as much as 40 percent; and increases comprehension by 73 percent. Color ads are read up to 42 percent more than similar ads in black and white and color can be up to 85 percent of the reason that people decide to buy.

But the color you choose for your business can also turn into your enemy, especially if you have branches in other countries or your business caters to a particular culture. Colors have different connotations in different countries and cultures and some can be negative. For example, yellow expresses weakness and cowardice in Europe; blue is the color of mourning in Iran; white denotes unhappiness and mourning in India and China and black is the color of mourning and death in Europe and bad luck and evil in Thailand. Therefore, it is important to take such factors into consideration and think twice before choosing a color for your business.

Once you've settled on a color for your brand, make sure to incorporate it throughout your advertising plan. Including your brand color or color scheme in all your advertisements, promotional products and publicity campaigns will help in reinforcing your brand so that whenever your customers see your brand color, they'll think of your brand. The key is consistency.

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Amruta Bhadkamkar has 1 articles online

Amruta Bhadkamkar is a Journalism major at the University of Kansas and is currently a copy-writing intern at Absorbent, Ink ThePromotional Products People. Make us your source for promotional gifts.

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This article was published on 2010/03/31