The Psychology of Color in Your Marketing Strategy
Feeling blue today?
I’m sorry. Things will get better. Please don’t cry.
Why so red in the face?
You seem angry! Or maybe you’re frustrated. Please take deep breaths, and count to ten.
Colors have a language of their own. We assign colors to feelings, emotions, and behavior.
What’s interesting about color is they change context, depending on if you’re making reference to a person or an object.
For example, being “red in the face” means anger if you’re talking about a person. But if you use red in your marketing, you generate energy and urgency (red alert, red signals, red stop signs, etc.). This is why many fast food businesses use red in their logos (e.g., McDonalds, Burger King, In and Out, Carls Jr., etc.) — they want create a sense of immediate action with their brand.
Red’s an obvious choice, so what about the psychological effect of other colors? You’re about to find out as we examine color and marketing.
Certain non-scientific studies say blue represents trust and dependability. Is there any truth to that? The answer is this: kind of.
Personal experiences and culture affect our perception of color more so than innate psychology. Translation: you associate emotions to objects in your environment. It just so happens blue is the color of the sky and the ocean—two major parts of our life that are consistent and dependable.
Is it a coincidence the following brands use the color blue in their logos and marketing?
- American Express
Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. If you notice one thing about those brands above, it is they want to be part of your day-to-day—just like how the ocean and sky is always there.
Black (and White)
Let’s say you’re watching a Western. At the start of the scene a man in a white hat on a white horse rides into town. He heads into the bar, and sees a man wearing black from head to toe.
Who’s the bad guy in this scene? Who’s the good guy? If you’re like most people, the man in the white hat is the good guy (and the guy in black is the villain).
It’s the age-old conflict—good vs. evil, night vs. day, and light vs. darkness. Black cats are bad luck. Wedding dresses are white. The list goes on.
When it comes to marketing, you can “play” off this black and white concept by using the colors to showcase tradition. This is why most luxury brands use black and white—it’s a safe way to latch onto a “classical” part of human psychology.
If you had to associate one thing in your environment with the color green, what would it be?
The obvious answer is nature. Green—like blue—is a persistent part of life. However, unlike blue, green represents life. Plant a seed, give it water and sun, and a plant or tree will grow for years.
When it comes to marketing, green represents growth, balance, and nurturing. At Sūmèr, we use green because we help companies grow, create a balance between sales and content, and help nurture prospects into customers with strategy.
Covering the rest of the colors in the rainbow would take an entire book. The purpose here was to associate everyday activities with colors.
If you want specific help with a marketing campaign, let us know. We’ll talk about your business, what you sell, and who you sell to (amongst many other details that will help us understand how to market your products and services).
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk
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