As per Gestalt’s theory of perception, the figure-ground relationship, wherein objects and phenomena are understood, posits that certain colours are associated with the background and while other brighter ones are associated with the figure or foreground. The figure-ground perception is one of the earliest cognitive facilities to develop in humans; hence, the impact of colour in human perception cannot be overlooked.
Colour psychology, resultantly, is a subset of the field of psychology that studies the impact of colours on perception and behaviour. Its application in branding and marketing allows marketers to evaluate how colour impacts the impression of their brand in consumers. A 2006 study named “Impact of Colour in Marketing” found that 90% of quick consumer judgments are a result of their perception of the colour of the brand. Hence, there is ample evidence to suggest that colours can influence branding and marketing because they definitely do attract or repel potential consumers. We have, thus, prepared an informative article about how colours influence consumer behaviour and can in turn be used strategically in branding and marketing. So, make sure you read it till the end!
1. Choosing Brand Appropriate colour
You might think that “colours influence branding and marketing” is a universal fact, so the answer to “which colour is endorsed for which industry, brand, or product?” would also have a clear-cut answer. Truth is, there is no hard-and-fast rule when trying to distinguish between an inappropriate and appropriate colour in branding. The major cognitive process at work here is intuition. Most of the time consumers just go with the feeling “this seems right.” Hence, one of the best ways you can choose a colour for your brand is by asking the consumers directly.
2. Choosing Colour Based On The Target Group
The target group (TG) is the consumer group, which is declared based on gender, age, concerns, and similar factors. Choosing a TG-appropriate colour can positively influence branding and marketing. Similarly, brand-appropriate colours almost always stem from gender-specific stereotypes and norms. Most brands with a female TG go with lighter or pastel shades in their brand’s products. Moreover, it is only when they want to put forward a message about being confident or bold, they would pick bold and brighter colours, which are still brighter versions of normatively sanctioned and female stereotyped colours.
This can also be seen in baby and male products. The former goes with pastel pink, blue, and white for newborns and brighter ones for toddlers or children, symbolic of their energy and naughty nature. In the latter case, choices are pretty stereotypical as colours such as navy blue, black, burgundy, and dark green are used for products.
Another noteworthy example of this phenomenon is how colours are used by political parties. It is no secret that certain colours are almost involuntarily and intuitively associated with certain religions. Hence, the use of such colours is an example of how religion-centred political campaigns are executed.
3. Choosing Name-Centric colours
Imagine an apple, we are sure that there might be two predominant colours in your head, one obviously red and the other one silver, as most of us now come to associate the brand Apple with silver products. While the latter is the result of years of conditioning and brand-colour association, in most cases this is not how colours influence branding and marketing, especially when it comes to names. The involuntary effect of names on the perception of colours is an important area for brands and marketers to delve into. Brands that pick fancy names that are symbolic of their colour are most likely to be picked by consumers. A good example of this is how the makeup and cosmetic industry now names products, such as lipsticks, perfumes, blushes, and foundation, to attract their consumers. Maybelline’s approach to name brown and nudes shades of lipstick like caramel, mocha, hazelnut was an excellent strategy to pique the interest of their TG and help them choose a colour appropriately.
4. Choosing colour Based On Brand Personality
Why are certain brands perceived as discriminatory, regressive, and stereotypical? Further, others as progressive and modern? The answer to this is simple but the logic behind it isn't that straightforward. Theorists argue that like humans, brands have a personality of their own, and colours dictate the personality of the brand, thereby, getting them a mandatory reservation in the marketing strategies of marketers. The famous studies of psychologist Jenifer Aaker and her paper “Dimensions of Brand Personality,” have established specific colours that carve out a personality for a brand.
According to her paper, there are five dimensions of brand personality, namely, sophistication, excitement, sincerity, competence, and ruggedness, which are represented by colours blue, red, green, purple, and yellow, respectively. An excellent example of how appropriate colours are chosen to complement brand personality is Victoria Secrets, which usually goes with colours that are a mixture of red, pink, and purple—resonating feminine and trendy traits. Hence, using colours in branding and marketing to set the right brand image is a must.
To show the powerful influence of colour in human perception and behaviour, the colour emotion guide was developed, but the theory isn’t as accurate and influential as it sounds. colours can be used to influence branding and marketing, but at the end of the day, human perception and behaviour cannot be narrowed down, given the impact of personal experiences, preferences, culture, and context. Moreover, it is one of the biggest obstacles, if not a drawback, in the application of the theory. However, there is evidence to support colour psychology and how colours can influence branding and marketing, and just because there aren’t definite answers doesn’t mean the theory-based application should be completely scrapped off from practice. Using research and consumer feedback together can help brands receive greater advantages from the field of colour psychology.
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Q. Which field of psychology is related to business and corporations?
Ans. Organisational psychology studies the mind and behaviour of individuals in groups and workplace settings. Human resource management is another subset of the field of psychology that has direct application in the corporate world.
Q. How is the isolation effect helpful in marketing and conversion?
Ans. The isolation effect is a psychological concept stating that a unique shade will catch more attention in a group of uniform colours. This principle is applied either in brighter packaging by brands and on websites with bolder-hued call-to-action buttons, naturally attracting viewers and making them interested in the product.
Q. Can colours influence the gender-specific marketing of products?
Ans. Colours’ influence on gender-specific marketing of products is an age-old practice, which has more or less turned out to be successful as many colours are normatively sanctioned as feminine and masculine. However, with more people calling out the claim and stating that colours have no gender, brands now refrain from actively executing this practice.
Q. What does the colour orange signify according to the colour emotion guide?
Ans. According to the colour emotion guide, the colour orange signifies enthusiasm and warmth. Most moderately priced and everyday brands use orange colour in their brand packaging.
Q. Which is the most eye-catching colour?
Ans. As established by research, yellow is the most eye-catching colour.