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Using colour in digital marketing

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This article was researched and created by Where The Trade Buys, experts in PVC banner printing.

Digital marketing campaigns rely heavily on a good design and visuals in order to entice customers. Within this goal, there’s a number of different aspects to consider, including the use of colour. Many studies have shown how colour can draw a certain response from a viewer, ranging from a sense of calm to a feeling of urgency. Colour has also been attributed to successful recall, such as remembering a brand logo.

In this article, we look into colour psychology and how you can implement this into your digital marketing campaign.

Driving sales with colour

Colour’s use in marketing is a rather modern debate, even though colour psychology is an old and highly researched area in and of itself. However, there have been many scientific studies into the connection between shades and sales that appear to show a strong correlation. According to a Canadian experiment, nearly 90% of snap decisions regarding consumer products are based solely on colour.

A viewer’s gender can also impact how a colour makes them feel, which is something to keep in mind if your customer base is heavily male or mainly female orientated. For example, a study published in the Journal of Retailing found that men believed savings were much greater in value if they was advertised in red rather than black, while the difference was much smaller among women. The imbalance of colour psychology between males and females was also apparent in the study, Colour Assignment. Although blue was popular across the board, this study found that purple was a second-favourite colour for women but the second-least favourite among men. Similarly, other studies on colour attractiveness found that softer hues are preferred by women, while bold shades were liked by men. Are you using the right hues for your main consumer?

Different marketing aims can be achieved by using different colours. For example, studies have shown that yellow is utilised to grab attention and should perhaps be the colour of choice in store windows, while red is most people’s key indicator of discount prices and ‘urgency’ and should be used on clearance sales posters for optimum effect. Also, both these shades are warm colours. According to an experiment, these are better at sticking in a viewer’s memory than cool colours (like blue and green). So, it might be good to use them on promotional ads to keep consumers thinking about your offer for longer, as well as your brand logo itself to ensure you come to mind when they next need a product or service you offer.

Different colour combinations can be useful too.Another study found that contrasting shades also improved readability — essential if you want your outdoor banner to be seen by more people from a greater distance.

Personal experiences and background will alter a person’s reaction to colours, but there’s enough general consensus for a meaning that you can harness to create that all-important first-glance impression.

What colours represent within logos

Is colour really that important from a brand perspective?According to research compiled by Kissmetrics, 85% of shoppers surveyed say colour is a primary reason for buying something. Also, it was found that colour boosts brand recognition by around 80%.

Depending on the colour chosen, a different effect is gained. Here are the emotions associated with each colour and examples of the successful brands that use them:

YellowOptimism and youthChupaChups and McDonalds
GreenGrowth and relaxationStarbucks and Asda
PinkRomance and femininityBarbie and Very
PurpleCreative and wiseCadbury and Hallmark
BlackPower and luxuryChanel and Adidas
OrangeConfidence and happinessNickelodeon and Fanta
RedEnergy and excitementCoca Cola and Virgin Holidays
BlueTrust and securityBarclays and the NHS

We can clearly see how companies are purposefully using colour as part of their brand identity to suit a specific message. For example, inciting trust for a bank is important, which may be why Barclays chose blue, while Starbucks wants you to relax at their coffee shops and Virgin Holidays wants you to get excited about booking a trip. According to June Mcleod, author of Colour Psychology Today: “One of the greatest assets and one of the easiest ways to sway decision or attract an emotive response — or alienate a consumer — is through colour. Purple with Cadbury; Shell with Yellow; National Trust with Green — they all work and work wonderfully well.”

There’s no right or wrong answer, merely more or less effective; consider how Halifax and Santander use contrasting colours to each other, despite being in the same field. Consider the statistic that 80% of clients think a colour is accountable for brand recognition. If you want your customers to gain a sense of loyalty and familiarity with your brand, the colour should reflect your brand’s products, services and character.

Using colour in advertising

It’s worth considering how colour psychology can help your brand image, whether it’s a new brand or a rebrand.  Take beer company, Carlsberg, for example. The marketing team here worked to rebrand using colour with great success. Using white for its Carlberg Export packaging and changing its formerly green bottles to brown; the company achieved 10,000 new distribution points and a sales increase of 10% in the 12 weeks leading to summer in 2017.

Here are just some ways that colour psychology can be used In a marketing campaign:

  • Capitalise on the advantages of red and yellow: use these on your large print ads to increase the chances of catching the eyes of passers-by.
  • Contrast your colours: as we discovered, using opposite shades (e.g. red and green) can improve text clarity — essential considering you have just seven seconds to make a bold first impression and get your point across.
  • Consider your demographic: there are clearly some difference in how men and women perceive colour. Who do you mainly sell to? If it’s men, perhaps take these gender studies on board and avoid purple…
  • Work out your brand’s ‘personality’: studies clearly show an affiliation between colour and emotion. Determine what you want consumers to think about your brand and choose a colour that reflects this ethos — whether it’s opulent (black) or fun (orange).

Inject a little colour into your digital marketing and see how it improves your results!

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