The Secret Colours of Marketing & Communicating Your Message – Part 2
In the first part of this series I gave an introduction to the use of colours in marketing, how different colour tones can elicit a different response, and that if you understand the response you can choose the right colours to create the desired perception and convey your message more accurately. Let’s now apply this knowledge to marketing.
Colour impacts brand identity and the quality of the marketing message!
In creating your marketing message one of your objectives is to connect with your target audience. To create that connection it is important that you include some of the warmer tones so that people feel comforted. It also introduces a sense of humanity; think of the prison example in the first part of this series. Even if you’re aim is to create an industrial or serene look and feel, you would be best advises to subdue the cool neutral tones with something that is warmer. Blacks, greys, and blues often appear very cold or sterile, sometimes clinical. Simply adding a touch of a warm tone, can completely alter the emotional response a logo or identity evokes.
Quite often you will see red used in logos. This is because it indicates action. If you would like to create something more edgy, consider working outside the primary colours. The primary colours are of course red, yellow, and blue. When you use non-primary colours, the image you create becomes more edgy and has a more complex feel.
Therefore if we look at some more edgy colours in the warm tones you have orange which can also elicit action. Let’s look at purple though; this is a very complex colour. It’s both warm and cool, and what the viewer perceives can differ as the result of lighting and even the other colours that surround it.
Where and when does it matter to pay attention to the use of colour in marketing materials?
It should be obvious that colour matters everywhere. Your identity is the first place that demands your attention. Your identity is the first opportunity you have to tell people whether you are:
- Contemporary and hip
- Stable and traditional
- Warm and human
- Intellectual and solid
- Cool and industrial
Decide what the message is you want to convey with your identity. If the message you need to send is more complex you can combine the concepts to find the right mix for your business. For example, if you sell to the federal government, you may want to portray yourself as being “well balanced, intelligent and stable”. You can achieve this by using colours from the blue and grey tones. Alternatively, when dealing with the defence department or government departments and other organisations that deal in national security you would more like want to convey action and urgency, respectively the importance of action. In these cases you could add orange tones.
In contrast to the above examples, take a company in the CBD that sells Asian antiques. This is an entirely different ball game. As a suggestion consider jewel tones as these can signify the orient. You may also want to make your message more hip or even more urban; you can achieve this by utilising something else in the main colour scheme, e.g. slate gray.
Colour is a fairly cost efficient way to broadcast your message effectively and make specifics statements about your identity, your mission, your values and more. For example, the likelihood that a bright red postcard using very large-font type will be noticed is very high compared to something that is grey and blue and uses more standard size fonts; especially by a casual passer-by or someone browsing the stand. Sometimes using a lot of a hot colour in the design will be all that you need to make the appropriate statements; beware not to overdo it though.
Also be very aware of what you are selling and don’t simply hurl every colour of the rainbow at every business type in the name of creativity and pseudo marketing genius. For example, the combinations proposed above for the Asian company that sells antiques may not be suitable for the hip urban spa; and if you’re message is intended to communicate and sell the concept of “tranquillity” then obviously bright yellow is not the relevant colour for this message. Instead you should look to warmer colours such as beige, and consider mixing it in with colours such as grey and/or green that communicate serenity. These colours would be far more effective for the message of “tranquillity”.