What makes us choose one brand over another? Reputation, word-of-mouth recommendation and value for money are all factors we tend to consider. But – much as we may think we’re immune to coded marketing messages – there are likely to be more subtle powers at work.
A company’s branding and logo, and more specifically the colours of that logo, can have a decisive impact on consumer choice. Successive studies have shown that colour definitely counts in the business of branding, invoking all kinds of perceptions such as reliability, trustworthiness, imagination and fun.
Colour psychology can never be an exact science, of course. Individual perceptions of colour are bound to vary: yellow is generally seen as optimistic and modern, but if you crashed into a yellow van while on your driving test, you probably have very different associations. There are sure to be cultural differences, too. In South Africa, for example, red symbolises mourning.
It is possible, however, to pinpoint general patterns of colour association. A 2014 study by the University of Missouri reported some interesting findings. The researcher created logos of different colours for company names she’d invented. She showed those logos to 184 adults and asked them to describe their emotions toward the fake companies. The study revealed the following associations:
- BLUE – confidence, success, reliability
- GREEN – environmental friendliness, durability, masculinity and sustainability
- PURPLE – femininity, glamour, charm
- PINK – youth, imagination, fashion
- YELLOW – fun, modernity
- RED – expertise, self-assurance
The clear message is that marketers must consider colour and associated emotions when planning their branding strategy. Here at PMW, we believe the science behind colour psychology is always worth considering, but instinct and creative thinking should play a part too. Sometimes it pays to stand out from the crowd. For example, if your company is in the financial sector and all your competitors are ‘steady’ blue, you might just turn heads with a more daring colour combination.
More than one colour can certainly be effective. When we re-designed our agency logo in 2013 the feedback was incredibly positive. We’ve never been busier, so we’re confident it’s had a decisive impact on our business.
Our colours are blue, green and magenta (a blend of purple and pink). Success, reliability, durability, imagination and glamour – we reckon we bring all these qualities to the table, and more!