Where The Mind Meets Marketing: The Psychology Of Color

The relationship between color and moods has been proven as significant in psychological circles; studies have shown how color can influence performance, expectations, and even how relaxed or energized you feel in your own home. Color can influence how other people react to you and even whether they find your attire attractive.

Since color has such a subtle, barely-noticeable impact on our emotional states, it’s logical to consider the role it plays in marketing campaigns. Imagine the logo to McDonald’s: warm, golden arches that reinforce the positivity associated with yellow — sunshine and happiness are immediately pictured when gazing at the Golden Arches, inspiring a stronger, more pleasant connection to the fast food served within. The fact that color can increase brand recognition by nearly 80% becomes obvious and easily understandable, even just with this single example.

However, as one article on Entrepreneur.com points out, you shouldn’t exclusively choose your company’s color branding based on preconceived associations.

“Nearly every academic study on colors and branding will tell you that it’s far more important for your brand’s colors to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with stereotypical color associations. While brown may be useful for a rugged appeal (think Saddleback Leather), when positioned in another context brown can be used to create a warm, inviting feeling (Thanksgiving) or to stir your appetite (every chocolate commercial you’ve ever seen).”

Branding relies a large part on signage: McDonald’s, again, has those big Golden Arches, Target has the red target, and Best Buy boasts a yellow and black price tag. Since customers who live within a five-mile radius will see a sign roughly 50 to 60 times a month, it’s crucial that yours makes as much of a statement and impact as these retail giants. Take both into account: what personality do you want to associate with your company, and is it possible to also hit upon those emotional, psychological reactions?

Though the color should begin with your signage — as 90% of snap judgments about products and businesses are based on color alone –, you can definitely bring the chosen shades indoors. If you’re looking to please the most amount of people possible, employees included, paint the largest space in your store or business blue; if you possess office space and want your employees to be more productive, paint the walls green — the color has long been associated with growth and creativity.

Regardless of how you choose to implement color in your marketing strategies, science supports the idea that it’s having an effect. Whether it’s the intended effect is another story altogether!

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