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How to Choose the Right Colours for Your Brand

by: isev

on: 17th May, 2011

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Choosing the Best Colour for Your Brand

Colour not only influences our emotions but its also the first sensory touch point between product and consumer.

‘The first point of interaction is shaped by the colour, and colour is the most memorable sense,’ says Leslie Harrington, the executive director of The Colour Association. ‘Before anything else, they see colour.’

Harrington, who wrote a Ph.D. thesis titled Colour Strategy: Leveraging Colour to add and Extract Values for Products and Brands, urges her clients not to think of colour as an artistic choice or preference, but rather a grounded business decision.

‘Colour has been one of those things that’s been left up to the designer to select something,’ she says. ‘The CEO’s or management say ‘oh I can’t do that, I’m not artistic.’ But my argument is that it’s not about being artistic – it’s not any different than making any other strategic decision for your business.’

Research has shown that up to 80 per cent of a consumers purchase decision can be based on a product’s colour. Colour can make or break sales of a product. Harrington notes. ‘It doesn’t cost you any more to make the right colour decision for your product. But if you choose the wrong colour, from the onset, you’re not going to communicate what you want to your customer.” In other words, if you get it wrong, it can really impact the overall performance of your company.

Choosing the Best Colour for Your Brand

The right colour depends on the product, for example blue may be perfect for a car but its unlikely to be your first choice for a shampoo. Research is essential, check out what the competition is doing and understand what particular colour communicate to customers.

‘Go into the store and take a critical look at what colours are there,’ says Jill Morton, author of a series of e-books about colour.

Morton explains that point-of-purchase sales (e.g. walking down the aisle of a supermarket), are difficult because your product will sit on the shelf with at least 20 or 30 other products. Sometimes choosing a colour that stands out can make all the difference.

But choosing an unlikely colour can backfire, too. For example, ‘everything in contact solutions is blue or green, but if you put a product on the shelf that is red, no one is going to buy it,’ she says

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Most importantly, it’s essential to differentiate whether the colour serves to imply a certain function (e.g. blue is clean, healthy, safe) or if the colour implies a certain idea (e.g. neon green is fun, adventurous, different). Once you’ve decided what it is that your target customer is looking for, you can best decide on the colour to attract them.

‘Consumers know intuitively if the colour and brand connect, and if it’s authentic,’ says Harrington. ‘If it doesn’t connect, it turns them off.’ Sometimes, companies think that finding a ‘popular’ colour or one that customers ‘like’ will help sales. But this is rarely the case. ‘Whether its trendy or not, or whether they like it or not, won’t necessarily matter as much as if it’s authentic.’

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