Choosing a Color Strategy to Fit Your Brand

How bland would the world be if everything was black and white? As we get settled in the digital age, we get exposed to more colors and pallets of color than we ever thought possible. When we think about things, we don’t see words in our mind’s eye.

We see images and color. It is because of this very reason that color is so important when you decide on a brand color strategy when you are ready to launch your new product.

If you think about the big brands of the world, they are dominated by color schemes. When we say Coke, red is the immediate color that pops into your mind. The same can be said for Samsung, or Google. These companies gave much thought to their brand color strategy, and it has paid off.

But what does it mean when you when you decide on a brand color strategy? Why is the color so important?

Color Psychology

Naturally, we associate color with a range of emotions or attributes without thinking about it. Research by 99designs and Vistaprint about color psychology showed the following associations:

  • Red – excitement, passion, anger, love, danger, strength (industries: retail, fitness, travel)
  • Orange – invigoration, energy, value, candor (industries: construction, lawn service, farming)
  • Yellow – friendliness, youth, cheer, warmth, sunshine (industries: heating repair, travel, pool services)
  • Green – nature, environmental responsibility, sustainability (industries: agriculture, education, environment)
  • Blue – maturity, trust, competence, dependability, security (industries: finance, business, travel, technology, healthcare, real estate, entertainment)
  • Purple – wisdom, sophistication, glamour, elegance, style (industries: beauty, arts, clothing)
  • Pink – femininity, beauty, friendliness (industries: beauty, floral, fashion)
  • Brown – ruggedness, masculinity, seriousness, endurance (industries: fitness, construction, auto repair)
  • White – purity, cleanliness, simplicity (industries: business, medical, technology)
  • Black – slickness, luxury, strength, tradition, formality (industries: car repair, religion, fashion)
  • Gray – impartiality, composure, neutrality, balance (industries: legal, finance, counseling)

Now that you know what colors we associate with what emotions, it should become more apparent as to what brand color strategy you need to apply for your product.

However, the emotions that you want to conjure up in your potential clients don’t just rely on the colors itself, but also your target market. Males and females respond differently to colors, and your target sex should then give you a further indication of the color scheme you end up choosing for your brand.

Color Trends for Men and Women

Have you ever thought about why blue is associated with men and pink with women? Whoever said that these colors should represent men and women? It goes to show that men and women, generally favor certain color trends above others.

We say generally because the lines have been blurred of late, but the color trends of men and women should give you a good idea of the brand color strategy that would work best for your product.

Phillip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, asked the simple question to over 2000 people. He asked them what their favorite color was and surprisingly, blue was the clear winner for both men and women. However, there were clear second place winners. Green was the runner-up for men and purple came up second for the ladies.

Cohen’s study showed that pink was the men’s least favorite color and orange took that honor for the girls. Red and purple were prominent for both men and women, but was still among the least favorite colors for them both. Yellow had the same negative effect on both men and women as well.

Color Coordination  

The science of color is extremely complex and seeing that color perception, and the association is a highly individualized experience, it becomes increasingly difficult to decide on a brand color strategy. The above-mentioned guidelines are still very broad, and it can be narrowed done even further.

A recent study showed that 90% of spot judgments that customers made regarding specific products were made, based solely on the color of the branding. This study was supported by Paul Bottomley and John Doyle’s study suggesting that people placed certain appropriateness of color on a product. Put in other words, does the color “fit” the product?

Another study revealed that people tend to buy products based on the immediate recognition of the brand. This is an important factor to take into account when you decide on your brand color strategy because you want to establish a color that differentiates your brand from what is already established. This is easier said than done because you first need to distract the potential customer long enough to notice your product.

A research paper that was published in the Journal of Sensory Studies showed that predicting the color that would suit your product best was more important than the individual color itself. It means that you need to figure out how customers are going to react to your color appropriateness. Practically, that means that if your customers are expecting a natural experience from your product, you will choose a color that plays best on those emotions.

Your product may be aimed at a more diverse range of people and as such, your color coordination will also need to change accordingly. It is still important to choose a dominant color and then add secondary colors.

Cadburys is a good example of a mix of two color “personalities” that make a great combination. Generally, brown is one of the least favorite colors among most people and purple is associated with sophistication. However, the personality of brown, mixed with the sophistication of purple sends the message that a Cadburys chocolate is appetizing, wrapped in an air of sophistication and elegance.

This color scheme confirms the notion that the majority of customers prefer color patterns with high contrasting accents in color.

Although a brand color strategy isn’t an exact science, it gives you a solid platform from which to design your brand.  

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