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The Psychology of Colour in Marketing

The Psychology of Colour in Marketing
September 22, 2015 Ronin Marketing

Today we’re talking colour.

To many it’s a passing decision, or maybe they’ve taken a quick glance at their competitors and chosen something they like (or often, simply avoided a colour they don’t like!).

You might also think that some of the most notable brands and logos you can think of were chosen by chance. Maybe the CEO of McDonald’s just really liked the colours red and yellow?

The reality is, colour and the way that it’s used affects us on an unconscious level. For any large company, colour choice was a very strategic decision as it has the ability to quickly communicate characteristics about the brand.

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Research into the psychology of colour in marketing suggests that, when it comes to making a purchase decision, between 62% and 90% of our assessment is based on colour. When used strategically, colour signals characteristics about a brand – for example, the colour yellow can signal optimism, and blue is seen as calming and dependable. Colours can even trigger emotions in the viewer, such as the colour red can actually increase your pulse rate.

Now this might all sound like witchcraft, but the psychology is well founded. And it actually gets even deeper. There is also research that suggests men and women respond differently to certain colours. Men typically respond better to blues, greens and blacks and avoid purples, oranges and browns. Conversely women are drawn to blues, purples and reds and avoid oranges greys and browns.

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As we go through life, our experiences taint our perception of colour, and these variances continue to grow with age. What this means is that different hues and saturation levels appeal to different demographics – women for example prefer softer tones while men are more drawn to brighter and more intense shades. This is also true for different cultures, as over time they have developed varying perceptions of colour themselves.

So that’s the amazing world of colour – or at least a brief introduction to it. And to think, it’s only a very small part of your brand’s story!