Colour has always been an important marketing tool. It’s an overlooked differentiator that brands can use to attract potential customers. Lots of brands are inextricable from the colour used in their branding: can you imagine Coca-Cola without the red?

Different colours have been shown to impact consumers differently – with our own unique history of experiences, biases and cultural leanings muddying the effect.

Either way, colour can play a pivotal role in influencing the way we think about a brand – in both positive and negative ways.

We’ve tried to illustrate the subtle role colour plays in shaping our perception of brands by diving into the associations many of us have with the colours red and green. The strongest, most consistent brands have a firm grasp of their brand identity and use colour accordingly.

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Red

Red has been shown, time and time again, to elicit a strong response from the observer. It is almost always associated with excitement, action and passion. Some examples of organisations that use red prominently in their branding are Coca Cola, ESPN and Levi’s.

The sports network’s choice of red is easy to understand: sports impact the observer in much the same way as the colour red.

Red is also often linked with appetite, which makes it unsurprising that it’s such a mainstay of Coca Cola’s aesthetic.  For that reason, it’s also popular within the fast food industry.

Because it elicits such strong responses – both positive and negative – organisations are advised to consider their use of the colour carefully. 

That is because, for many consumers, red is associated with a sense of danger, pain and aggression. In the right context, this can be a powerful motivator. The UFC, for example, features red in its branding. 

However, if you opt for a red-dominated logo without fully understanding all of the myriad implications, there can be unwanted consequences: creating unintended links in the mind of the consumer.

Green

As humans, we have a relationship with the colour green that has been ingrained in us for thousands of years. There is a very real link between green, health and happiness, which is why it is invariably used by pharmaceutical companies and organisations with an environmental or health conscious bent.

Forward-thinking, eco-friendly brands have long relied on green to energise their visual presentation. When you think of green in marketing materials what do you think of?

Fresh, organic produce from the likes of Asda, Waitrose and Whole Foods. And the green in all of their logos gently nudges the consumer into making that association.

Even if your brand doesn’t neatly fit into one of the niches you would typically associate with the colour green – like the health, food or fitness industries – you can lean on the colour green to create some positive associations in the mind of the consumer.

Land Rover, while not exactly a champion of the environmental cause, nevertheless utilises green to generate an association with the environment.

The idea being that Land Rover vehicles are at home in even the most rugged surroundings.

Lighter shades of green are synonymous with serenity, safety and calmness. Opting for a darker shade of green conjures an image of luxury and exclusivity. Harrods is an example of these deeper shades being used to great effect.

Ensuring that your choice of colour marries up with your brand’s ideals is so important. The wrong choice runs the risk of alienating the share of the market that you are hoping to capture.

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