Brand Reputation: How Colors Get Your Company Recognized
Branding is the process by which companies distinguish their products or services from their competition. The brand creation process includes the choice of the company or product name, a logo and the colors associated with the logo and the product. Social research connected with advertising has shown that people form subconscious impressions about a product within 90 seconds of seeing it and that impression is largely based on the color they see.
Colors are associated with certain emotions and if the color on the product logo or package reinforces positive images in the mind of the customer, the product gets a superior rating. Advertising professionals are constantly striving to find the right colors to associate with a company’s products or services.
Human emotions believed to be associated with color
All colors are made up from the three primary colors, red, blue and green. Bright primary colors attract children which is the reason that most toys and other products for young children are made in bright primary colors. The retail chain Toys “R” Us writes its name in letters of the primary color.
The color blue is associated in the human mind with the sky and the oceans and represents depth and stability. Dark blue colors have traditionally been seen as a masculine color since most male apparel tends to be dark grey or dark blue. This color has long been used by banks like Citibank and Bank of America and by large corporations like IBM. The lighter sky blue color is often used by airlines and for products like mineral water. The color blue has the advantage that it a universally liked color and does not invoke strong emotional reactions.
The color pink, on the other hand, is universally recognized as a feminine color. No product for the male customer would ever succeed with a pink color packaging. Even for women customers, the color would be appropriate for apparel or for cosmetics but not, for example, for a household appliance where other qualities are needed.
Yellow is associated in the human mind with the sun and energy. Bright yellow colors are visible in indifferent light and have been used, for example, in construction machinery like bulldozers. Bright yellow jackets are used by the police and by road repair crews so that motorists are able to spot them from a distance. Lighter yellow, associated with the sunflower, is considered a cheerful color and is used to relieve the monotony of deep earth colors like brown and grey.
Red and orange are considered the colors for energy and action. Most fast food outlets appear to use these colors. Red and black are also used extensively in nightclubs and casinos and tend to be associated with images of seduction and romance.
Green is increasingly being associated with nature and the environment. Darker greens are associated with the color of money. These color associations are indicative and not absolute. If every bank was colored blue and every fast food outlet painted red, it would defeat the very purpose of brand differentiation.
The choice of colors for branding
If your company is the first mover in a new industry, you have the choice of color. In most cases, however, there would already be other players and your choice of colors will need to temper by the colors already in vogue in the industry.
A cola drink is associated with the dark brown color which the industry leaders Coca Cola and Pepsi have established over the past 100 years. It would be impossible to introduce a cola drink in any color other than dark brown. Beverages in other colors can succeed but need to position themselves different from a cola drink by calling themselves energy drinks or fruit drinks or other such other descriptions.
The toothpaste industry leader Colgate uses bright red packaging for its products. If competing toothpaste were also to be packaged in the same color, it would tend to be seen as a “me-too” product by the consumer. The competing product may also be seen as dishonest as consumers may think that they are being fooled into picking it up as the Colgate toothpaste.
One important consideration in choosing colors for branding is the need for the color to be accurately reproducible on a variety of surfaces. These include paper used as stationery, glossy paper used for brochures, cartons used for packaging, thin plastic films used for wrapping, thick plastic panels used in signage and fabrics used for uniforms. At many times, the colors which look great on glossy paper look poor on plastic film. The choice of colors for the logo or product name should also permit legible reproduction on black and white photocopies.
Color is an important element in creating a brand image and should be chosen with attention to the human emotions it can create. The choice of color also needs to take into account the established players in the industry to avoid creating dissonance in the minds of the consumer.
About The Author
Alyssa Clarke is a freelance blogger who is passionate about writing. She frequently writes on SEO, marketing and social media related topics. Her favorite sites are Gizmowatch and Cellphonebeat, which she also happens to work for. She is a social media addict and can be actively found on Twitter @alyssagclarke. You may connect with Alyssa at Blog Interact as well.
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