The Psychology of Colour in Marketing

May 28, 2019
by Digitalabs

Coca-Cola, KFC, Burger King, McDonald and Wendy`s – what`s common among these food brands? Any guesses? The colours used in their brand logos. All of these aforementioned brands use the colour red in their logos. Why? Research suggests that red stimulates appetite while colours like blue and purple suppress appetite. The psychology of colour is a very important topic for marketers. Studies have shown that consumers react differently to different colours, i.e., it affects their buying behaviour.

The basics of colour theory and management

Every marketer needs to be familiar with the colour theory before experimentation in branding.

Primary colours: Red, Blue and Yellow – these colours are used to create secondary colours.

Secondary colours: Purple, Green and Orange – These colours can further be used in creating tertiary colours.

Pure colour – these bright colours are often used by marketers to attract children and hence, can be seen on toys and other children-related products. They are actually primary, secondary and tertiary colour without the addition of white or black.

Choosing the perfect colour for your brand logo requires experimentation with tints, shades and tones. Contrast is another important element in the colour theory and is equally important in marketing. For instance, visually-challenged people easily surf a website which offers more contrast in its user-interface, compared to a site with a monotonous colour scheme.

Colour and Marketing? A colourful combination

Different colours are said to be associated with different emotions and ideas, but the important thing to keep in mind is that these claims are not universal for different genders, cultures and age-groups. But let`s go over some of the most popular associations in the marketing world:

Red – believed to stimulate appetite, creates a sense of urgency, a high-energy colour which draws attention to itself, associated with danger/excitement.

Green – associated with environment, health and calmness. Most eco-friendly products, movements and organizations make use of this colour.

Blue – research suggests that it curbs the appetite, increases productivity, has a calming effect on the mind and reduces stress (that`s why it is used in workspaces).

Yellow – a flashy colour used to attract impulsive buyers.

Different shades for different audiences

People from different cultures, gender-groups and age-groups respond differently to different colours. For instance, the colour blue is more popular among men than women. In Latin America, the colour yellow represents death and sorrow, while in Asia, it represents sacredness, royalty and courage. If a product is launched primarily in yellow colour in Latin America, its sales will be negatively affected. The colour scheme you want to opt for depends upon the audience you are targeting. Ample research on the targeted region and its people is required before a decision on the colour scheme can be made. The failure of coke`s white can aptly tells the story of disregarding the colour scheme and consequently, facing a dip in sales. It was argued that consumers had perceived a link between the colour red and sweetness.

Choosing the colour scheme for your digital marketing campaign can be a tricky business, but that`s why firms like DigitaLabs exist. We choose all the right things for your brand`s digital marketing campaign and the colour scheme is no exception.


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