How To Take Advantage of Colour
15th June 2020
Have you noticed how people’s favourite colours tend to be bright rainbow ones (like blue, green or red)? And yet brands nowadays are just another reflection of our homes and closets: bland & neutral. People are afraid of colour. Ashamed of it even.
They’re afraid of the wrong colour.
Just like with most business decisions, committing to something so specific as brand colours can be daunting. Especially when you can’t be sure if they’re the “right” ones. What if we get bored of it? What if we don’t know to apply or a deal with a bright colour in our marketing materials? What if we overdo it and end up looking childish or unsophisticated?
Be bold. Bright colours are memorable. Vibrancy sets you apart. And using vivid colours (the right way) will save you time and effort in communicating your brand’s message & voice.
Why all the controversy?
There are much more emotions than colours, and that’s why an individual colour can produce different, and sometimes opposite, effects. But if colours do cause subconscious responses in our brain, are those universal or dependent on personal experiences?
Cultural background, gender, upbringing are all factors that can influence one’s perception of a certain colour. So, while there’s no guaranteed feeling a colour will evoke, there are nevertheless patterns we should know.
“Buyers make most decisions by relying on their two-second first impressions based on stored memories, images and feelings.”
— Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
There is no colour without meaning. Those snap visual judgements we do, rely a lot on how appropriate we deem a colour to be for a particular brand. They influence how we see that business’ personality, tone of voice, messaging and its target audience (a.k.a. “Is it for me?”). Additionally, our brains have a preference of immediately recognisable brands, so picking colours that pop & differentiate your brand from your industry, to try and break the mould, can be a wise strategy. But it’s how you do it that makes the difference between a home run and a flop.
Right now, you’re wondering:
“If all this is so subjective, how can I use colour to take my business to the next level?”
Know your audience
1. Cultural Background
In Europe, the white colour most likely means peace, purity and elegance. However, in China and Japan, for example, white means death, grief and mourning. Take this into account and research your Ideal Customers to know how they perceive certain colours.
While blue is a common favourite across genders, purple has a huge likability gap, and is, by far, most enjoyed by the female spectrum. While you don’t have to use crowd favourites to please your audience, being aware of these subtle differences can help you make the right choice.
Know your industry
1. What is everyone else doing?
Even though this makes you nervous about your abilities and where you stand in your field, you have to research your competitors. You need to know how others look at you and why they look for you. How are you positioning yourself? Are you a premium custom service? Are you a fast solution to your client’s problem?
Then, think about what you’d like to be. Maybe you’re trying to develop a new passive income venture. Or maybe you want your clients to understand how much you care for the environment and the changes you’ve made in your business to protect it. Or maybe you just want to seem more exclusive and €€€.
Remember: to know the path you take to reach your desired destination, you have to know where you come from.
2. Why are you different (and better)?
Do you know your ICA (Ideal Client Avatar) by heart? Do you know their goals and proud moments as well as their struggles? Do you know what problem you’re solving for them?
If you don’t, get to that first. A strong foundation is essential if you want to do this the right way and for the long run.
However, if you’ve done the work (congratulations!) then think about your brand keywords and how colour can amplify them! Consider ordering them by importance and try to explore colours that evoke those keywords and sentiments.
Are you ready to be fearlessly yourself?
It takes a bit of practice when it comes to using colour with confidence, let alone choosing specific hues and combining them. But vibrant colours can coexist, just take a look around you!
Think about your brand: what makes you unique? What do you want your clients to feel when in contact with your brand? Think about it in keywords and do your best to ignore your personal preference. The colour scheme will start popping in your mind in no time.
Your unique voice matters.
So be bold and take the spotlight. It’s about damn time!