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Looking for a competitive advantage for your small business?

Looking for a competitive advantage for your small business?

You may think big businesses have all the competitive advantages. But what if I told you there was something that they don’t always take full advantage of or possibly don’t even know about?

Surprisingly, the single most under used marketing tool out there would have to be colour. I believe this is because colour works on the unconscious level. And if you’re not consciously aware of the powerful role colour plays on your customer’s emotions and their purchasing decisions, well then, it’ll remain just that – unconscious.

Colour is registered by the brain before either images or typography. Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% – Source: University of Loyla, Maryland study

This means, that although the effort you put into choosing your brand’s visual identity (such as the right logo/ word mark, font, strap line, images, content) and working on your after sales service are all vitally important, the effort is potentially wasted if on a subconscious level your business brand colours are giving out a completely different message.

Customers will feel this on a subconscious level and think either you aren’t for them or that you don’t get them. This is one of the quickest ways to repel your ideal customers.

Shoppers place colour as a primary reason for when they buy a particular product - Source: KISSmetrics

Colour Psychology in Marketing  

If you are wondering why you haven’t heard of this before, colour psychology in marketing has been around as long as man has traded. Somewhere along the way we lost our conscious awareness of how colour can affect our emotions, how we feel and behave. However we’re now becoming more and more conscious of its presence. Which is great given we know our clients and customers buying behaviours are based on emotion. And what triggers those all-important emotions … colour.

Colour psychology as a science is considered relatively new. There is an incredible amount of research being carried out by eminent colour psychology professors and scientists all over the world, which is of significant importance.  All of the amazing research findings enable me to further develop my work as a specialist in the field of applied colour psychology.

I often refer to colour psychology in marketing as the “big brands best kept secret”. It’s my aim to bring colour psychology to the consciousness of the small to medium size business owner and help them take advantage of this too.

Choosing the right colours for your business brand

Every colour has positive and negative psychology qualities, so there isn’t any particular colour that is most appropriate. It is about picking the right tones, the right combinations and the right proportions that reflect your business brand’s authentic personality and values.

When you consistently use the same branding colours way beyond your logo into everything your customers see, you are not only building brand recognition, but trust with your customers.

Every single item relates to your brand, from your business stationery, marketing materials, website and social media through to your retail premises. Major brands never miss an opportunity to reinforce brand awareness. When you walk through the doors of any major business, you will notice that they use their brand colours to full effect, so there is no mistake on the customer’s part as to where they are.

Colour transformation

The right colours sell your product or service. There is no doubt about it.

Never underestimate the psychological impact of your business brand colours on your bottom line.

Your distinctive brand colours will:

  • Grab attention – attracting your ideal customers
  • Work directly on your prospective customer’s feelings and emotions
  • Stand out from the crowd – differentiating your brand from your competitors and making your brand memorable (and this doesn’t mean bright, loud and garish).
  • Build trust – using the same colour tones consistently in all your branding literature and products increases brand recognition.

By choosing the wrong colours, that is, using colours that don’t express your business brands personality and values, you risk repelling your ideal customers and prospects. Getting the colours right distinguishes your brand from one that expands and grows instead of one that just fades away.

Considering a rebrand?

Consider rebranding whenever you feel your core brand colours, logo design, font, strap line, content no longer reflects your business brand’s personality, identity and values.

Customers will get very quickly confused if on a subconscious level your business brand colours are giving a completely different message to that on the conscious level. Confused customers will almost certainly result in a no sale scenario. To find out more on whether rebranding is right for you check out my previous Women Unlimited article on ‘Is your brand in need of an evolutionary or revolutionary change?

Communicating through colour

As a business owner how much thought have you put into the tone and combination of colours that represent your business brand? Do you know what they are actually saying? Surprisingly, most business owners use colour as decoration or as an afterthought. Instead think of colour as a subliminal language, another way to communicate and to attract your ideal clients.

Used to its full effect, your branding colours will give you the competitive edge, elicit the right emotional response from your prospects, and significantly increase your sales.

If you’d like to know more, then grab your free e-book 7 Mistakes most Business Owners make with their Branding Colours’.

Share this article if you found it useful! And leave a comment in the box below. We hope to connect with you soon.

About Karen Haller

Karen Haller is one of the leading authorities in the field of applied colour psychology. She is an internationally renowned business colour and brand personality expert, helping clients from across the globe transform the branding image of their business. She has consulted, trained and worked on campaigns for a number of prestigious brands including 3M Post-it, Thomas Pink, Humanscale, Dulux, Orange Mobile, Logitech and The Peggy Porschen Cake Academy. Karen is regularly featured in the UK’s leading magazines, newspapers and on radio. She is a published author, consultant, tutor and speaker on the subject of colour psychology, Colour Intuition™, colour association and colour in culture. Karen Haller runs her own colour and design consultancy specialising in the science and psychology of colour and how that is applied to business branding and interiors. When it comes to the design process Karen believes it starts with understanding the authentic personality whether that is of an individual or a business, revealing the colours and design that expresses their true identity. Karen is a co-author of the leading industry book Colour design: Theories and applications, the first of its kind bringing the arts, science and applications together. Karen was commissioned to write chapter 20 - Colour in interior design, discussing the use of colour in both residential and commercial interiors. Karen speaks regularly to businesses and industry professionals on the importance of colour. She has given talks at Grand Designs LIVE on her Colour Intuition™ system and spoke at the prestigious industry Clerkenwell Design week on the importance of colour and how architects and interior designers have an incredible social responsibility with the colour choices they make. Karen is also a trustee of the Colour Group of Great Britain and on the advisory board of the charity Color Cares. Visit www.karenhaller.co.uk for your free e-book on ‘7 Mistakes Most Business Owners Make with Their Branding Colours’. You can connect with Karen by clicking on the icons below.

4 comments

  1. Colour can play such a big difference in people life, but had no idea that it can be a vital part of a business as well. Absolutely agree with you that colorful things grab attention. Great article…

    • Hi Shilpi,

      Thank you. Great you enjoyed the article. It’s amazing how colour affects every part of our lives… whether we realise it is happening or not. And it’s no different to business branding.

      All the best for your business in 2014!

      Karen :)

  2. Color plays an important role not only in your physical product, but also in your website design and look. Make yourself attractive and people will come to you.

  3. Hi Jack,

    You’re absolutely right. Once you have your brand colours/design/identity in place then this is taken through to all areas of your branding whether that is in your products, marketing literature, business card, store or office, website, social media and uniforms.

    Kind regards, Karen

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