Biz Tips: Brands stand out in living color

Biz Tips: Brands stand out in living color

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Brands stand out in living color

A study by Joe Hallock in 2003 revealed distinct male-female color preferences.

Virtual business support conjures visions of administrative services, email marketing, social media marketing and visual marketing.

Nicky Pasquier has taken virtually black-and-white jobs and added a dash of color. Indeed, she dresses brands with coats of many colors.

Pasquier — owner and founder of Virtuoso Assistant — and marketing entrepreneur Madalyn Sklar looked at a palette of options to color otherwise staid startups.

Brand colors should not be off-putting. They should draw but not overwhelm your eye, letting the brand’s message carry the day.

“That’s a great point,” Pasquier said. “It shouldn’t be too ‘loud’ but appealing to your target audience.”

She said business owners should ask themselves these questions:

  • What subconscious messages do my brand colors convey?
  • Do these colors appeal to my target audience?
  • Do my brand colors match my brand personality and style?

“Color can convey very strong psychological messages,” Pasquier said. “It’s best to be aware of them.”

Ninety-four percent the information we receive each day is visual. That makes it imperative for companies to visually communicate trust in their branding.

Brand consistency endorses trust. Confidence in branding carries over to expectations from customers who look to brands for quality and service.

Think of Tiger Woods on Sundays. Remember the days when he had competitors seeing red as well.

Pasquier noted research findings:

  • Blue is universally preferred by both men and women.
  • Large companies — finance and health — that need to convey trust use blue as their brand color. Look at PayPal and Barclays Bank.

“Create a consistent visual brand style that people get to know, like and trust,” Pasquier said.

Colors also vary among cultures.

“Different colors mean different things in the West, East, Middle East and elsewhere,” Pasquier said. “Yellow, for example, is associated with porn in China. You’ve been warned.

“Choose your brand colors wisely,” she said. “It’s going to be almost impossible to change them without a great degree of confusion.”

Colors influence buyer behavior, which is not surprising. Colors convey different meaning and moods based on gender and geographic areas. At best, colors are inviting or neutral — better not to inflame local sensitivities.

Pasquier offered data and tips:

  • Eighty-five percent of shoppers make purchase decisions based on color.
  • Use blue if you need to build trust before a purchase.
  • Grab attention — red — and trigger action — orange or green — for call-to-action buttons. Run tests to see which colors perform best.
  • Use contrasting backgrounds and white space for added emphasis.
  • Check out notable brands. What colors do they use and when?

“Color and feelings go hand in hand,” Pasquier said. “It’s at a very deep, psychological level.”

For example, Google tested 40 different shades of blue to find the most appropriate color for their links.

“That’s so interesting,” Pasquier said. “Blue is such a very difficult color to try to match. There are so many different shades.”

Colors strike males and females differently. Do research, and don’t pander to pink-blue stereotypes.

Pasquier added these research findings:

  • A study by Joe Hallock in 2003 revealed distinct male-female color preferences.
  • Generally, men like strong primary colors and monochrome pallets.
  • Females tend to prefer softer pastel shades.

When choosing colors that best reflect their brand personality, business owners should work with an “editor” for brand colors. Second and third opinions are important so they don’t overlook important elements pro and con.

These are Pasquier’s considerations:

  • Know your audience.
  • What percentage of your audience is male or female?
  • Check demographics using Google analytics.

“You might be interested to know that blue is rarely used to market food because it’s a non-food color — apart from blueberries,” Pasquier said. “There’s always one. Red is thought to stimulate the appetite. Note McDonalds.”

Sklar added that her graphic designer, Sonia Gregory, “came up with the blue-and-orange color palette for the #TwitterSmarter chat. I fell in love with it. Everyone liked it. So, I changed my Madalyn Sklar brand to those colors.”

Pasquier recommended “little-known tools that are great” to match colors with brand personalities.

When considering colors, remember that “one size” does not fit all. Research and start off on your own unique foot. One startup’s color is not another startup’s color. Unlike content, colors embedded in memories are hard to change.

Pasquier added these pointers:

  • Stay true to yourself, your own personality and brand style.
  • Research your audience well, and ensure you appeal to them.
  • Get ideas from influencers, but don’t try to copy them. You are unique.

She and Sklar continued their colorful conversation on Facebook Live.

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Brands stand out in living color was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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