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Shedding Light on the Use of Color in Marketing and Branding

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When it comes to color in marketing and branding there are just about as many opinions about which hues customers relate to emotionally as there are options in a crayon box.

It’s true that color is based on personal experience but there is a great amount of research to back up that color plays an important part in purchases and branding. According to a study called The Interactive Effects of Colors, people associate certain colors with particular brands. They break brands down into possessing five unique personality traits — sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness — and connect specific colors with those traits (e.g., brown with ruggedness or red with excitement).

Men and woman also respond differently to colors. An article by Smithsonian magazine shows that both genders prefer blue and green, but women like red as their third favorite color and men prefer black as theirs. Men least prefer brown, with orange and purple close seconds, while women dislike orange, then brown and yellow. Clever names for colors can also impact how a color is perceived. While both genders are not fond of “brown” they found “mocha” significantly more likable (even though they are basically the same color). So all those fancy names in the paint store are there for a reason!

Here’s a quick color breakdown of how several basic colors are perceived:

* Black: Seen as credible, powerful, professional and accurate. Often used to market luxury products.

* Grey: Good, neutral background color. Can be used to convey mourning and a sense of formality.

* White: Used to signify cleanliness, purity and softness.

* Silver/Gold: Metallics are considered to be glamorous and distinguished.

* Blue: Seen as dependable, trustworthy and strong. Often associated with health care and banks.

* Turquoise: Often considered to have a retro feel. Can also be used when trying to convey a fresh, sporty look.

* Green: One of the easiest colors for the eyes to process. Often associated with the environment, wealth, growth and peace.

* Brown: Represents wholesomeness and earthiness. Considered more casual than black, it conveys warmth and honesty.

* Red: Conveys energy, creates urgency. Often associated with sales.

* Purple: Used to soothe and calm. Often associated with beauty or anti-aging products.

* Pink: Seen as romantic and feminine. Used to market to women and young girls.

* Orange: Seen as aggressive and creates a call to action such as subscribe, buy or sell.

* Yellow: Often used to grab attention. Can also be associated with optimism and warmth.

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