Colour as a sales tool – well I never!

jane_frankland_colour_brand_psychologyBeing a creative and visual person, whenever I see these statistics like the ones I’m going to share with you it brings a smile to my face. I like being a pro and to me getting your branding right so that it supports your sales means incorporating all of these key elements.

The Institute of Colour Research says that 92.6% of people when surveyed put MOST IMPORTANCE on visual factors when purchasing products or services. As colour plays such a huge role in what the visuals look like, and the impact the visual creates in the minds of both prospects and customers, it’s imperative not to play down this phase. Statistics show that colour matters for these reasons:

  • 92% Believe colour presents an image of impressive quality
  • 90% Feel colour can assist in attracting new customers
  • 90% Believe customers remember presentations and documents better when color is used
  • 83% Believe colour makes them appear more successful
  • 81% Think colour gives them a competitive edge
  • 76% Believe that the use of colour makes their business appear larger to clients

*2003 survey conducted by Xerox Corporation and International Communications Research

Research also highlights that people make a subconscious judgement about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing, and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone (Source: CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research). Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% (Source: University of Loyola, Maryland study) and it can improve readership by 40%, learning from 55% to 78%, and comprehension by 73% (Sources: “Business Papers in Color. Just a Shade Better”, Modern Office Technology, Embry, David, “The Persuasive Properties of Color”, Marketing Communications, Johnson, Virginia, “The Power of Color”, Successful Meetings).

So if colour matters so much to a brand or products success it’s right to understand the psychology behind it, right? The answer is hell YES!

The importance of colour in branding

Have you ever considered the importance of colour in branding? Probably not! But, think about it for just one moment. Coke is red, UPS is brown and IBM is blue.  Corporations such as these have spent millions on their branding and they understand that the proper use of colour is vital to creating a positive image of their brand amongst their consumers.  Colour also plays such a huge role because of memory recall. It stimulates all the senses, instantly conveying a message like no other communication method. And, when the customers feels good about a brand or product – they buy!

Choosing the right dominant colour for your brand is crucial. This colour should appear on all your promotional materials, including your logo, product packaging and potentially the clothes you wear to meetings or in front of your customers. As much as possible, the colour you choose should set you apart, make you stand out, work with your industry and image, and tie to your brand promise. It should also take into account colour psychology, as colour can convey different things depending on the culture, situation and industry.

Here’s a fairly universal guide to help you decipher their meaning.

Colour psychology – what are your values?

Blue: Cool blue is perceived as trustworthy, intelligent, dependable, fiscally responsible and secure. Strongly associated with the sky and sea, blue is serene and universally well-liked. Blue is an especially popular colour with financial institutions, as its message of stability inspires trust.

Red: Red activates your pituitary gland, increasing your heart rate and causing you to breathe more rapidly. This visceral response makes red aggressive, energetic, provocative and attention-grabbing. Count on red to evoke a passionate response, albeit not always a favourable one. For example, red can represent danger or indebtedness. One of the most powerful, attention grabbing. Associated with ACTION. Creative, energy but also good for familiarity. Pushing boundaries.

Green: In general, green connotes health, freshness and serenity. However, green’s meaning varies with its many shades. Deeper greens are associated with wealth or prestige, while light greens are calming. New beginnings.

Yellow: In every society, yellow is associated with the sun. Thus, it communicates optimism, positivism, light and warmth. Certain shades seem to motivate and stimulate creative thought and energy. The eye sees bright yellows before any other colour, making this a great colour for point-of-purchase displays.

Purple: Purple is a colour favoured by creative types. With its blend of passionate red and tranquil blue, it evokes mystery, sophistication, spirituality and royalty. Lavender evokes nostalgia and sentimentality.

Pink: Pink’s message varies by intensity. Hot pinks convey energy, youthfulness, fun and excitement and are recommended for less expensive or trendy products for women or girls. Dusty pinks appear sentimental. Lighter pinks are more romantic. Calming and feminine.

Orange: Cheerful orange evokes exuberance, fun and vitality. With the drama of red plus the cheer of yellow, orange is viewed as gregarious and often childlike. Research indicates its lighter shades appeal to an upmarket. Peach tones work well with healthcare, restaurants and beauty salons. As it inherits some of the traits of red it inspires action but it is also about learning. It’s great for information products.

Brown: This earthy colour conveys simplicity, durability, credibility and stability. It can also elicit a negative response from consumers who relate to it as dirty.  From a functional perspective, brown tends to hide dirt, making it a logical choice for some trucking and industrial companies.

Black: Black is serious, bold, powerful and classic. It creates drama, elegance and connotes sophistication. Black works well for expensive products, but can also make a product look heavy.

White: White connotes simplicity, cleanliness and purity. The human eye views white as a brilliant colour, so it immediately catches the eye in signage. White is often used with infant and health-related products.

Grey: Grey or silver is a conservative colour and conveys reliability, an established brand and security.

All the colours above can be categorized into two basic categories: warm and cold. In general, warm colours, like red and yellow, send an outgoing, energetic message, while cool colours, like blue, are calmer and more reserved. However, brightening a cool colour increases its vibrancy and reduces its reserve.

So before you begin work on your next campaign, consider the information on colour psychology listed above and share it with your creative team if you have one, to ensure colour is used effectively and supports your branding.

Please let me know which colours you are using in your branding, and how you’re getting on with creating a new brand or revising an existing one as I’d love to hear. If you have any more advice, please just add a comment. Thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,



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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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  • helen says:

    very useful jane as i’m just rebranding and trying to decide on colours for my pavement sign – will give this another good read before i make any decisions

    • jane says:

      Really glad you found it useful Helen. Good luck with the rebranding exercise! And, come back and post a link to it so I can see the finished masterpiece! 🙂

    • jane says:

      I’d love to know how you’ve got on Helen. Please post a photo or update on my Facebook Page. Have you seen the other blogs I’ve done on colour?

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