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A catalyst for business growth - decoding colour

Emma Potter
24th September 2020

Colour can help people to emotionally connect with a product or brand in a positive and authentic way.

  • Humans connect with colour first, the words and the emotive message come second 

  • Colour is overlooked as a marketing tool by many brands and businesses 

  • Think strategically - understand that colour has a huge impact when connecting with your target audience

I’ve always had a passion for colour and whether we’ve chosen to acknowledge it as yet, when we look at a marketing campaign, a restaurant or item of clothing, the first thing that impacts us is colour. Words too are important as they actively reinforce the message we are aiming to convey to our customers subconsciously with colour, and to tell a story that helps people to emotionally connect with a product or brand in a positive and authentic way. But are we truly aware of the power of colour?

Using colour as a powerful marketing tool

From a marketing perspective, colour is the most overlooked marketing tool. In this day and age we’re quite rightly focused on delivering digital experiences and crafting content that sparks action, but the first thing that a consumer will notice and subconsciously react to when looking at an advertising or marketing campaign are the colours employed - and our intuitive reactions are inherent - sometimes we just know something is ‘off’ but we can’t quite put our finger on it. Subconsciously we’ve instantly had a positive or negative reaction - that will either draw us in and make us curious to know more, or repel us and physically encourage us to move on - which of course results in a missed opportunity for a brand to build trusted, authentic relationships with their target audience and from a commercial perspective, lost sales.

Let’s look at a brand that’s nailed it. Famous for its ‘swoosh’ logo and ‘Just Do It’ slogan, Nike is one of the most well known brands in the world. Known originally for making athletic footwear, they also enable their customers to customise key products and create a pair of trainers using your favourite colour combos - check out ‘Nike by you’. They understand the power of colour to influence a purchase and to deliver a personalised, memorable experience that has the ‘talkability’ factor amongst friends and family. After all, personal referrals are the holy grail in the B2B and B2C world and nothing comes close or is as strong as a warm lead created in this way.

Use colour strategically to make an impact

Business leaders who really understand the benefits of building a brand, and understand what their brand stands for, will more than likely buy into the fact that when we are clear on who we are as people - our business benefits. Moreover, brands need to show up authentically, just as humans do, otherwise people see through them and move on (like a magpie) to the next shiny object that’s caught their eye.

To apply this thinking on a personal level, applied colour and design psychology expert Karen Haller asks this question - “Why is it that you're drawn to wear blue one day and green the next?” How do you feel when you wear red, or black - do you feel powerful and strong - or have you chosen to wear those colours because that's how you want others to perceive you on a given day? 

To resonate with our target audience think strategically about how you build your brand playbook and guidelines right from the start. Everything you communicate stems from this critical but often overlooked piece of work. Your brand and all elements (visual, written, colour palette and more) must interplay and work cohesively together to establish and build your brand value over time. Get it wrong and it’ll have a negative impact commercially and will push potential customers in the arms of your competitors.

And what’s more, don’t copy what other brands are doing - work out what’s right for you. Understand who you are, what you want to stand for, who your customers are - don’t chase what someone else has got, be authentic to you. 

Talk with the digital marketing specialists

As the world continues on a spin cycle with every day throwing out new challenges, it’s critical for businesses to know who they serve and the benefits they bring to their customers. Whether you’re looking to craft something new, improve what you have or launch a new business - never underestimate the power of colour to influence and be a catalyst for business growth - it’s an incredible marketing tool so use it wisely.

To find out more about consciously and authentically connecting your brand with colour contact Emma Potter.

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