Are you curious which Persona Branding and Design articles have been the most popular over the past year?
We’re always interested to see which of our posts resonate most with you, our reader. Even though we do lots of research and planning, there are no guarantees which topics will trigger the most interest.
Here you’ll find an insider’s peek into our top ten most popular branding articles of 2015, some of which you might have missed.
I’m sure you’ll find at least one that will be very useful to your business in the year ahead.
Wishing you growing success in 2016!
The differences between a tired, old, has-been of a brand and a fresh, lithe and provocative one can be boiled down to a singular concept: storytelling. The art of telling a story, and telling it well, is integral to grabbing every potential customer’s attention, and a key part of your brand strategy.
The secret to success in the elegant art of storytelling lies in understanding its fundamental components. Though by no means comprehensive, what follows is a breakdown of some major elements that any good story should include. These are in fact some of the key ingredients we incorporate in our Story Selling System™ used when developing our clients’ brand stories:
Launching a new brand is both exciting and challenging. The excitement comes in the promise of something fresh and new that could be wildly successful, be it for your well established, emerging or new start-up company — and the challenge comes in getting it right the first time.
Evaluating, articulating, developing and documenting your new brand’s position and purpose is crucial to building a strong successful brand.
It provides the roadmap and rationale to get you out of the starting blocks and heading in the right direction towards your ultimate success. And similar to your business plan, it’s also a key foundation to any successful business, be it product or service.
The question here is, do you know the key ingredients required for building a new brand?
To help you move in the right direction with your branding here are some of the elements we typically include in our branding process every time we’re working with a client to help them build their brand, whether it’s revitalizing an existing brand or launching a totally new brand to market.
More than a half century ago, the customer-centric branding pioneer Walter Landor said, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.”  In 2016, the path to that consumer experience is a two-way street, and guess who’s in the driver’s seat? Brands with strong personality are the winners, because consumers equate experiences with brands.
Branding keywords for 2016 include: personalized, authentic, humanized, interactive, engaging, and mobile.
Image via www.edelman.com
Your brand is much more than merely a product or service, or a logo. Brands are an experience—the relationship between your business and your customers—and to create an exceptional customer experience, your brand must have an irresistible personality.
To quote Martyn Newman PhD “In the information age and globalised economy where values and meaning matter more in the market place, the value of emotional capital increases. This creates brand value and goodwill and results in repeat sales through customer loyalty, lifetime relationships and referrals. In other words, the brand is more than a name or a logo; it creates trust and recognition and is a promise and an emotional contract with each customer.”
Brand profiling is the systematic process of creating, developing and implementing your brand character and personality through shaping its brand promise, values, the do’s and don’ts of its behaviours, story, emotional benefits, its culture and what it stands for and so forth.
It’s this humanized entity that gets your brand message out into the market, cuts through the noise and gets the attention of your primary customers in a way that matters to them.
When creating and developing the profiles for our clients’ brands we use our bespoke Personality Profile Performer™, a systematic approach which underpins the commercial, rational, and holistic aspects of successful brand profile building.
The following six key elements are representative of some of the core ingredients included within this branding process, used to create and deploy a compelling personality for your brand.
Image via © www.eqsummit.com
Co-branding is defined as a partnership between brands. It typically works best when Brand A partners with Brand B, each with a different set of customers and brand associations of their own.
As in the expression, “the whole is bigger than the parts,” co-branding can add value when synergy exists between the brands; it creates an emotional energy, starts conversations and creates buzz around both partners and can delivery significantly increased financial returns for all involved when done right.
In addition to brand revitalization, co-branding objectives may include getting more bang for your buck, growing market share, building audience reach and altering perceived positioning. Co-branding is primarily used an alliance of two brand partners, although there’s no rule against bringing three or more to the party.
• The Top 7 Benefits of Co-Branding
• 5 Co-Branding Risk Management Guidelines
• The Top 6 Tips for Co-Branding Success
with case studies and examples of who’s done it really well.
Infographic via www.missvinc.om
Colour increases brand recognition by 80%. 93% of shoppers consider visual appearance over all other factors while shopping. It adds huge power to communications, opinions, recall and emotive influence. In fact when used correctly, colour is a pivotal tool to substantially influence purchasing decisions, service or product.
Since colour choices impact every aspect of a commercial enterprise, brand owners should aggressively re-evaluate that choice throughout their brand strategy.
The question is, has your brand’s colour palette been selected with the right intent and applied to best possible effect throughout all your brand communications and touch points to ensure your brand grow and increased profitability?
Find out more about why colour matters and how you can use it more effectively within your business.
Infographic via Blueberry Labs
The growing proliferation of multiple different brands in the market place has made customers spoilt for choice, but often at the expense of easy decision-making.
When presented with an assortment of packaging options in which nothing decisively stands out, with a compellingly clear message that speaks to a customer succinctly, analysis paralysis sets in. It’s when faced with this situation that a confused shopper will typically default to making decisions based on price alone.
The question here is, where does your brand sit in the mix?
Leading brands cut through the visual and cognitive noise created by an oversaturated market full of aggressive competitors and hook their ideal customers by meeting their needs both emotionally and rationally.
Image via © www.marmite.co.uk
The combined value of the various luxury goods markets in 2014 was an estimated 865 billion euros, with luxury cars, personal luxury goods and luxury hospitality taking the top three places, with values of 351 billion, 223 billion and 150 billion respectively.
You might think those statistics make luxury branding a very interesting sector, however if you want to reposition or establish your brand targeted at a high-end customer then there are six keys factors you need to consider within your brand strategy.
Firstly there are four main characteristics by which the luxury customer defines a luxury brand. However the way in which someone perceives luxury will depend on factors ranging from their socio-economic status to their geographical location.
Infographic via Raconteur.net
Millennials, the newest generation of influential consumers (also known as Generation Y or Gen Y), spend more than $600 billion dollars annually with spending power expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, (or 30% of US sales) according to Accenture 2013 research.
While these statistics sounds like ‘gold bullion’ for many brands, in our experience often smaller companies and organisations struggle to develop their brand strategy in a way that relates relevantly to this fast changing group of buyers.
Millennial consumers are a very fluid constantly moving target with multiple devices overflowing with content clamouring for their attention 24/7. However once you really understand this discerning consumer properly and tailor your brand to really meet their needs, you can, like many others tap into this incredibly lucrative market.
The average consumer spends 88% more time on content with video and video is shared 1200% more times than links and text combined. A landing page with video gets 800% more conversion than the same page without video.
If you ever thought using video to promote your brand was too difficult or beyond your reach these statistics might make you think again.
Find out exactly how you can use video to grow your brand here.
You can even find out how one small start up brand used video to achieve worldwide distribution and now has more online viewers than its competing massive global brands combined!
Image via Google / YouTube
Did your favourite post feature in one these top 10 branding articles of 2015? If there was an alternative that was your first preference, drop us a line and let us know.
Meantime I’d love to keep you up to date with what’s happening in the world of branding and make this blog really useful to you. If there’s anything branding related you would like to read about in this blog or if you have any questions or comments, suggestions for a blog post, feedback or even just to say Hi, just send me a short note, I’m here to help!
or give me a call at Tel: +353 1 8322724
Wishing you increasing success in the year ahead!
Colour is incredible! From rainbows to coral reefs and from bluejays to goldfish, throughout the natural world, the phenomenon that we call colour is a vital source of stimulation and communication.
When translated to the human sphere, its enormous power adds huge impact to communications, opinions, recall and emotional connections. In fact when used correctly, colour can be used as a pivotal tool to substantially influence purchasing decisions, be it product or service.
Leveraging Your Brand with an Exciting Red or a Trustworthy Blue
According to research from Canada’s University of Winnepeg, “Impact of Color on Marketing”, people make a subconscious judgement within 90 seconds of their initial viewing, and that up to 90 percent of the assessment is based on colours alone. 
“Exciting Red and Competent Blue”, published by the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, explains that colours influence how consumers view the personality of brands, looking at the impact on purchase intent. 
The University of Loyola, Maryland, reveals that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent, while KISSmetrics says, “85 percent of shoppers place colour as a primary reason when they buy a particular product.” 
Studies done by the internationally recognized Pantone Color Institute® indicate that “consumers are up to 78% more likely to remember a word or phrase printed in color than in black and white.”  They cite that colour combined with text, as in a logo, impacts readers with the trifecta of getting better recall, recognition and attention — all good news for the brand story.
Creative Violet, Peaceful Green and Bold Red
Certainly, nobody would have thought to suggest to masters like Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh that colours don’t really matter much. Mark Rothko’s canvases, devoid of subject matter, convey their message solely through powerful use of colour, such that “Violet, Green and Red” (1951) was worth $186 million just 63 years after the canvas paint dried.
“Violet, Green and Red” – Mark Rothko, 1951, Wikimedia Commons, public domain
We know that colour is important in our daily lives. We live in a world of colour. Comments such as, “What colour eyes does the baby have?” and “Let’s buy a red car” or “That shade looks good on you” are commonplace statements. Most of us have favourite colours and feel better when we wear them.
What most of us don’t realise is how much impact colour has on all of us subconsciously, or how much it can be used to influence us in the hands of a knowledgeable master.
World Authority on Colour
Pantone® is the world authority on colour. Each December, their U.S.-based Pantone Color Institute issues a hotly-awaited Pantone Colour of the Year, meant to influence fashion runway collections, interior decor and yes, even car manufacturers. In 2015, for example, “a naturally robust and earthy wine red” called Marsala (#18-1438, to be precise) got the annual nod as top pick for stylish nail lacquer, neckties, table napkins, wall paint and more.
Image via www.pantone.com, Marsala 2015 Color of the Year – Pantone®
Colour Strategy in Brand Success
But, your company logo and your product line is far more complex than an accessory. Clearly, when a company manufactures products, designs a brand logo, buys staff uniforms, develops new packaging designs and invests in advertising, there will be no opportunity for a 12-month cycle to accommodate trend-setting changes.
Choosing a business brand palette is not about a designer’s preference, your favourite colours or anyone else’s. Brand colour choices are long-term decisions and it’s a critical identifier and influencer on the perception and personality of your brand. Colour is also widely credited with influencing purchase decisions.
Case-in-point, most people know where this box comes from even without seeing the sterling silver jewellery it contains. Somehow, it wouldn’t quite do if the box were red.
Image via www.tiffany.com
The colour wheel makes your business go round and round. It speaks to your customers. It differentiates you from your competitors. It is bold and discreet at the same time. It’s interactive.
Image via www.pantone.com
Change a signature brand colour and you’ll see how wrong it can feel:
Image via Fast Company Design, Paula Rupolo: Starbucks / Dunkin Donuts
It’s worth noting that Harley-Davidson is aiming to grow their 12 percent female market share with a sleek black model, not a sparkly pink one.
Image via www.harley-davidson.com
London-based colour and design consultant Karen Haller says, “When you use the right tonal harmonious colours, your brand’s message is communicated quicker to the brain than words or shapes as they work directly on our feelings and emotions.”
It doesn’t have to be beige.
Test yourself. We’ve scrambled the colours, their interpretation and one famous example of use in branding. Can you make 10 proper pairings? (Answers are found at the bottom of this post.)
Colour Strategy at Top Brands
Apple brought colour into a marketplace where colour had not been seen before. Steve Jobs introduced colourful iMacs in tangerine, blueberry, grape, strawberry, and lime followed by indigo, flower power, and blue Dalmatian. By the summer of 2000, the first snow white iMac was a thing of beauty. 
Apple was the first to say about computers, “It doesn’t have to be beige” — in the course of which brand packaging helped the company recover from a two-year loss of $1.8 billion to become the world’s largest public company, top in tech and the most valuable brand on earth. 
Image via www.apple.com
Ketchup is red, right? Unless it’s green. Heinz sold more than 10 million bottles of its EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green Ketchup in the first seven months following its introduction in 2000 — because kids wanted it. That’s $23 million in green ketchup sales because of a simple colour change.
Image via www.fastcodesign.com, Heinz
And then, they over did it somewhat by introducing purple, pink, orange, blue and a rainbow mystery colour. No quite so appetite appealing! Mums hated it, especially when kids mixed them together on the dinner plate. Some 25 million bottles later, the party was over and all but the original were withdrawn. Colour matters and ketchup is red again.
Bright red with elegant white script, the best known logo in the world is considered to be Coca-Cola, which is little changed since 1887. When, in the mid-1980s, Coca-Cola made their first product taste change in a century, they also changed the cans’ packaging design to emblazon them with Coke lettering. They wish they hadn’t. Within three months, Classic Coke was back on the shelves as Coca-Cola. Brand marketers say it was a classic mistake to mess with Coca-Cola’s iconic red and white brand packaging design.
Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain, Coca-Cola
Where can you go without running into the Golden Arches? McDonald’s introduced them in 1960 to be seen towering above roadside establishments as America took to the nation’s newly-built highways. Why are the arches golden yellow? See how they stand out in this photo of McDonald’s logo seen against the blue sky. The arches rise from a field of red, very much considered the colour of choice for fast food brands including KFC, Wendy’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza and more. That’s it…a simple ‘M’ shape with happy yellow and energetic red, meaning “Stop here now”.
Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain, McDonald’s
While colour preferences are personal, it’s universally understood that yellow means sunny and happy, while red translates as fiery and attention-grabbing. Whether a message is transmitted subliminally or overtly, the importance of colour in brand strategy cannot be overstated.
Since colour choices impact every aspect of a commercial enterprise, brand owners should aggressively re-evaluate that choice throughout their brand’s strategy, logo, brand collateral, packaging design, web design, product development, advertising and so on. Has your brand’s colour palette been selected with the right intent and applied to best possible effect? We’re here to help ensure that the answer is emphatically “yes”.
What do you think about the use of colour in branding?
- Are you convinced that colour selection in logo design significantly impacts brand identity and consumer perceptions?
- Would you like to know more about how colour selection makes a significant difference in consumers’ intent to purchase?
- Do you suppose that consumers (or just designers) are influenced by Pantone’s Color of the Year?
- On brand design, have you considered whether your brand’s colour palette is a good fit with your product or service?
- Have you experimented with colour innovation in your brand logo, brand packaging, brand collateral or company premises?
- How did you score on the answers to the colour matching quiz for brands?
Yellow = Optimistic, positive, cheerful / Veuve Cliquot e.g. Cara Matches
Blue = Trustworthy, dependable / Facebook e.g. Wavin
White = Simplicity, purity / Apple
Green = Growth, freshness, natural / Starbucks e.g. Connemara
Pink = Youthful, energetic, playful / T-Mobile e.g. O’Egg White Eggs
Brown = Honest, simple, down-to-earth / M&Ms e.g. McConnell’s Gourmet Smoked Foods
Purple = Nostalgic, royal, sophisticated / Cadbury e.g. Massey Bros.
Black = Elegant, luxurious / Guinness e.g. La Moulière
Orange = Trendy, fun, approachable / Easy Jet
Red = Bold, powerful, exciting / Coca-Cola e.g. Tilley’s Confectionary
82% of all high level corporate executives in the US stated that their customers had higher expectations of their companies than just three years before, 60% of executives found it difficult to please their customers, and 42% stated that consumers are using social media to shame their company into meeting increased customer demands, according to a Lithium survey.
Obviously there is significant room for improvement in the marketplace amongst brand owners. Building a powerful brand is challenging, but consistently providing a great customer experience is central to any successful brand and consequently the quality of recognition, recall, referral, repeat purchase and overall brand affinity achieved amongst your primary target audience.
A positive brand exposure and customer experience is essential for developing brand trust and significantly improving brand recall, as a recent Macquarie University study has shown to be the case for durable goods. It is important to note that the study also revealed that advertising had significantly more influence on brand recall than merely personal experience for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).
In order to improve brand recall in an oversaturated modern market, brand owners need to adopt highly effective and proven brand strategies. Here we share with you eight of the most important strategies, with several examples of both large brands and smaller emerging brands utilizing them to great effect.
Top 8 Brand Strategies for Enhancing Customer Recall and Affinity
1. Invest in Developing Your Brand Profile, Proposition & Purpose
The process of increasing brand recall begins with intelligent brand profile development. Your customers need to be given a reason to choose your brand over other similar options. When we work on creating a brand proposition for our clients using the Personality Profile Performer™ System, we ask them to answer a number of seemingly simple questions:
- What purpose does your brand serve? What’s its Big Why?
- What unique benefits do you offer that can improve your customers’ lives?
- How would you define the idea or proposition behind your brand in a single sentence?
- What kind of personality, messaging and tone do you envision for your brand?
The results of this initial brand profiling process sets the foundations for all future branding decisions and communications strategies. Defining what your brand stands for may not seem complicated at first glance, but these essential questions that you need to answer play an instrumental role in determining your future success, or lack thereof.
2. Create a Strong Brand Story Which Your Primary Audience Can Relate to
The most successful brands have a deep understanding of how their primary audience thinks. They know how to entice their consumers through creative storytelling, and they do so using sophisticated story creations processes like our Story Selling System™. By telling a compelling and engaging story about the company’s history, its philosophy and core brand values, you can create a positive association between your brand and the ideals that your target audience holds dear.
To truly understand the power of a good narrative, one need only look at Apple’s success in establishing themselves as a brand for forward-thinking and discerning individuals, who aren’t afraid to go against the grain and value quality and performance above all else.
Over the years, Apple has done a magnificent job of keeping the “rebel genius” narrative alive, and has proven to be a highly effective branding strategy. The reason it works so well is that it appeals to people with a specific mindset that transcends gender, race, age and generational differences. The story of Steve Jobs – a talented young man with an idea who overcomes adversity and ultimately builds a corporate empire – is compelling enough that it saw a movie adaptation starring Ashton Kutcher.
There is yet another biographical film, aptly named “Steve Jobs”, scheduled to come out later this year. While not every brand has the budget or influence to finance multiple Hollywood movies, Apple’s masterful storytelling can serve as a source of inspiration and a valuable guide for any aspiring brand.
A great brand story is your primary means of developing an emotional connection with your audience, and a fundamental way to inspire trust through its relatability. According to a 2012 Nielsen study 58% of all online consumers worldwide trust the information on company websites and other owned media, and 50% trust the information they receive in emails that they have signed up for on company websites. There is always a compelling story behind a successful brand, but it must be carefully developed and told in the right way.
3. Brand Audit, Research and Look for Gaps in Your Competition’s Brand Strategy
A brand audit health check can be viewed as a diagnostics tool, a way to evaluate your brand’s awareness, customer perceptions and the effectiveness of your current brand strategy. It can point out any problem areas, potential outside threats and new market opportunities. A thorough review of your business and marketing plans, your communications and brand collateral, your internal and external audiences helps provide your company with a clear perspective on the most effective brand strategy and business structure.
To build a powerful brand, a company needs to be aware of and tracking what their main competitors and other industry leaders are doing. Another important piece of the puzzle is developing an understanding of your primary audience. Market research is key to acquiring deeper knowledge of the preferences, needs and behaviours of your target demographic together with developing buyer personas for each of your audience types. This knowledge will enable you to develop highly tailored brand strategies and exploit gaps in your competitors’ brand strategy.
For a good example of a smaller emerging brand exploiting a serious weakness of a much larger and well-established competitor, we can turn to Made Eyewear. Warby Parker had already become extremely popular, with many smaller companies attempting to copy their products, when Made Eyewear started gaining some traction in the market.
Image via © www.madeeyewear.com
However, the emerging brand had something that their competition didn’t – they owned and ran their own lens company in China. This enabled Made Eyewear to produce quality products at incredibly low prices, which in turn enabled them to offer unprecedented customization options through which each individual customer could express their own sense of style. Made Eyewear had the ability to engrave the stems, as well as mix and match different colour lenses and stems, to create a truly unique pair of glasses – and offer customers the ability to try out multiple frames with prescription lenses at prices that no competitor could match.
By controlling the entire process from how the moment the product was made to the moment it reached the customer, they were able to find a competitive edge over much bigger and well-established brands.
4. Invest in Great Brand Logo Design
Creating a great brand logo is about much more than merely designing a small image that will feature on your products, website and promotional material. When our clients come to us with a brand logo design request, they are usually looking for an expert to help them develop their brand identity. We find a lot of companies struggle with defining and articulating their brand’s proposition and purpose together with answering the questions outlined in the first item of this brand strategy tips list. A good logo serves the purpose of crystalizing your brand’s message and its core values, and allows you to communicate these to your audience with maximal efficiency.
Your logo should be appropriate to the market and your primary audience, and it needs to be unique and highly memorable. It is the first thing that will come to people’s minds when they think about your brand, so it plays an important role in recognition and brand recall.
By simply placing their brand logo in the upper corner of their YouTube ad, Libresse managed to improve their brand recall by an astonishing 300%. Even the viewers who only watched the ad for a few seconds before clicking away were noticeably affected.
There are numerous aspects of effective logo design that should be considered – things like the choice of colour and shapes can have a profound effect on how the brand is perceived. You can delve deeper into colour psychology here and here to found out how colour psychology influences brand strategy.
5. Humanize Your Brand and Engage Employees as Your Brand Ambassadors
Brands that make an emotional connection with their target audience achieve the greatest success. Despite the fact that many people believed that technology would eventually cause us to become isolated, social media statistics seem to show the complete opposite to be true – humans are social animals, and we have a strong desire to involve other like-minded people in our lives. Our brains are wired for face-to-face interactions, and consumers tend to trust word of mouth significantly more then other marketing strategies.
Image via www.statista.com
The level of trust that the general public feels for companies has dwindled over the past decade, but there is a way to reach out and earn some of that trust back – engaging your employees as brand ambassadors. As this Edelman global study has shown, consumers are highly receptive to brand promotion efforts coming from company employees.
Image via www.edelman.com
You can turn your employees into brand ambassadors gradually. Making social sharing an integral part of everyone’s workday is an effective way of nurturing brand advocates. Apart from this, you can further humanize your brand by being highly receptive to consumer feedback, offering various perks to your loyal customers and providing exceptional customer service.
6. Eliminate Factors that Jeopardize Your Brand Reputation
When building a brand it is also important to identify all the potential reputation risks that could undermine or destroy your hard earned reputation and nullify all your marketing efforts. We won’t cover all the details or get overly technical in this paragraph, as it is quite a vast topic, but we will provide some insight into the basics.
If we set aside things such as common security threats, e.g. corporate espionage and cyber-attacks, the number one reputation risk are social media blunders. Even the largest brands in the world, with impressive online marketing budgets, keep damaging their reputation with inappropriate comments, hashtag misuse, and attempts at exploiting tragedies.
A brand must have a preventive approach to reputation risk management, i.e. companies should strive to discover and eliminate potential risks, rather than try to deal with the fallout after the damage has been done. This can be done by focusing on a thorough exploration of all factors that can jeopardize your brand reputation by high level executives, regularly scanning the internet for potential risks and enforcing a strategy of proactive reputation risk management.
7. Reach Out to Your Target Audience Through Social Media and Build Connections
We have already mentioned that engaging your employees in social media sharing can help you create a powerful team of brand ambassadors that the public will trust, but social media can be utilized in an even more direct way – to connect to your target audience firsthand.
This approach has many advantages:
- Consumers provide you with useful feedback
- Loyal customers are given a behind-the-scenes look at your brand
- You can organize giveaways and offer additional content
- You can enhance your customer service
- By encouraging social sharing, your loyal customers become your brand ambassadors
Social media can be used to help you tell your brand’s story in great depth, and you can make your consumers and products themselves a part of the narrative. The British luxury department store Harrods offers excellent customer service through open social media communication, and their efforts, such as their immensely successful “Twenty Ate Days” campaign that focused on promoting each of the 28 different restaurants within their store, have yielded impress results.
There are a multitude of different social media platforms which your brand can leverage to build it’s own unique online strategies for improving brand recall – e.g. posting “How to” videos and reviews on YouTube, sparking conversations with consumers on Facebook and so forth. The skill lies in choosing the platform most suited to your product or service and your primary target audience.
8. Be Consistent in Your Brand Strategy
Even though some companies revamp their brands every few years, household names like Nike have remained true to their core brand values, mission, promise, logo and slogan for a long time. They adapt their campaigns and brand strategy to suits evolving market trends but their fundamental brand DNA remains unchanged. They stay focused on the essentials – they market their shoes to athletes and pride themselves in a high level of sports performance.
Your branding must be consistent to be successful, i.e. grow from the same core brand philosophy, values, mission, promise and focus on a consistent brand voice and messaging, together with consistent quality brand collateral design across all your touchpoints, both on and offline.
You might also like:
• Brand Strategy: 6 Lessons Learned from Tourism Queensland, One of the Most Successful Branding Campaign’s Ever
So, what do you think?
• Is your brand message clear, and in keeping with the preferences of your target audience?
• Does your brand have a compelling story that connects with people on an emotional level?
• Are you making an effort to humanize your brand and reach out to customers on social media?
• Do you know what factors can negatively affect your brand reputation, and do you have a comprehensive brand risk management strategy in place?
 Lithium (San Francisco), “Corporate America Under Pressure From Consumers’ Rising Expectations (Press Release)”, June 2015
 Nielsen (New York), “Global Consumers’ Trust In ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows In Importance”, April 2012
 Think with Google, “Libresse improves brand recall by 300% with logo placement”
 Kimberly A. Whitler, Forbes, “Why Word Of Mouth Marketing Is The Most Important Social Media”, July 2014
 Sandy Gibson, SocialMediaToday, “Cognitive Dissonance: Why Social Sharing Creates Employee Advocates”, February 2013
 Eric Samson, Entrepreneur.com, “10 of the Dumbest Social Media Blunders Ever”, June 2015
 Businesscasestudies.co.uk, “Increasing Brand Awareness Through Social Media Communications (a Harrods case study)”
Yellow arches. A red can of cola. A bird shell egg blue jewellery box. The colours alone are enough to make you picture the brand – McDonalds, Coca Cola and Tiffany’s.
Colour and the psychology or science behind it is an expansive subject with a depth which extends well beyond the aesthetics of just ‘good design’ and subjective preferences. The context of its usage together with personal and cultural associations has significant impact in terms of meaning and perceptions, both consciously and subconsciously, together with usability and purchasing preferences. Consequently the psychology of colour and how we consider its use has a huge impact on all the work we do with our clients and their brands both in terms of brand profiling and brand design. The following four key tips will give you some insights into how colour works, what to use and what to avoid in relation to your brand.
There are many studies on the use of colour all of which agree, colour greatly influences human emotion and behaviour. Colours have a powerful and unquestionable effect on branding. The right colours can distinguish your brand, attract customers and create strong brand-based loyalty, while the wrong colours can sink you in the marketplace.
In order to establish a comprehensive and effective brand identity, you must choose your colours wisely – considering not only what colours might attract the right attention within your category – while also giving your brand distinction, and for example standout on retail shelves, but how your brand colour schemes will affect customer perceptions, evoke certain moods and grab attention. Colour psychology is particularly critical in the retail environment and can make or break customer purchasing decisions.
Why Colours Matter
For your customers, colour is a powerful motivator in recognition and purchasing decisions. According to recent statistics posted by analytics company KISSmetrics:
85% of shoppers cite colour as their primary reason for buying a particular product
93% of shoppers consider visual appearance over all other factors while shopping
Colour increases brand recognition by 80%
Image via www.kissmetrics.com
The psychological reasons for the strong effects of colour are numerous. Visual perception is the primary sense people rely on – reacting to colours is hardwired into our brains. Identifying a colour triggers a diverse series of reactions that effect moods and emotions on a subconscious level…in short, colour makes people feel something and impacts their behaviour.
Colour is hands-down the strongest and most convincing factor of visual appeal. When you choose the right colours and ensure that your brand colour scheme is carried out consistently and coherently across your brand identity, logo, packaging design and all your brand collateral, you are creating powerful brand recognition and fostering customer loyalty that will pay off with increased profits.
The Meanings of Colours
Different colours evoke certain moods and emotions, and convey a particular sense of expectation. The meanings of colours often vary depending on a number of factors, including culture, gender, age, context and individual experiences, but the basic perceptions of colour remain fairly consistent.
Red is Passionate and Powerful:
A bold colour that stands out, red can be used to signify power or passion, and make a strong statement. Red evokes a visceral response, causing faster breathing and an increased heart rate. The colour red can be energetic, aggressive, provocative, or even dangerous – but it is always attention-grabbing.
Blue is Cool and Confident:
42% of people claim blue as their favourite colour, and that enthusiasm is reflected in the many companies that use blue in their branding. Blue colours are seen as calming, cool, serene, and stable – which is the reason for its heavy use in brands where security is a top concern, like banking and social media.
Green is Natural, Youthful and Plentiful:
A color associated with both money and the environment, green can point to health, serenity, and freshness. The meaning of green often depends on the shade used – while lighter greens are calming, deeper greens are associated with wealth or prestige.
Yellow is Cheerful and Optimistic:
Universally associated with the sun, yellow is the most visible and noticeable colour, seen by the eye before any other. Bright or warm yellows evoke feelings of happiness, optimism, and friendliness.
Purple is Luxurious and Creative:
The colour of artists and royalty, purple can evoke feelings of quality and decadence, mystery, or sophistication. The choice of shade and hue when using purple is of vital importance – light purple can be calming and whimsical, and deep purple can be luxurious, certain shades are viewed as garish or tacky.
Orange is Fun and Lively:
Ranging from warm and intimate to playful and exuberant, orange can represent comfort, excitement, or even upscale quality, depending on the shade used. Light orange and peach tones are used in high-end branding, bright orange can be effective for entertainment brands, and muted orange is a favourite for restaurants because of its association with food and warmth. However, in some cases orange can come across as frivolous or cheap.
Pink is Creative and Feminine:
The range of pinks has long been associated with femininity, as well as nurturing and love. Light pinks are sweet, cute, and fun, while richer pinks can be sensual and energetic.
Brown is Straightforward and Dependable:
The right shades of brown can evoke feelings of stability, simplicity, and a dependable nature. Light browns and rich browns can be used to convey an upscale feeling. In some cases, brown can portray a rugged appeal or a feeling of warmth.
Black is Dramatic and Sophisticated:
Popular among luxury products, black is the colour of sophistication. Black-heavy colour themes can create a bold or classic look, and lend a serious air to branding schemes that conveys power and elegance.
White is Clean and Pure:
People see white as a brilliant and eye-catching colour. While not typically a main choice for branding purposes, white can be used effectively as an accent colour, or as a primary differentiator for products – such as Apple’s predominantly white range of accessories.
Factors That Affect Colour Perceptions
Not all colours are perceived the same way by the same people. Two of the biggest factors that affect the perceptions of colour are culture and gender.
Cultural differences can pose a challenge for brands looking to strengthen their international visibility and appeal. While some of the largest cultural divides of colour perception have been softened, or even erased, through widespread adoption of the Internet, these differences can still play a role in global brand identity. For example, green is considered nurturing and prosperous in the United States, evokes national pride in Ireland, and is often viewed as undesirable for packaging in France. On the other hand, blue is viewed worldwide as a positive and acceptable colour.
Gender perceptions of colours are not limited to “blue for boys and pink for girls.” In fact, blue is a favourite among males and females. A well-known study by Joe Hallock, Colour Assignments, found that among favourite colours by gender:
57% of men and 35% of women chose blue (the largest segment for both groups)
Purple was the second favourite for women at 23%, and no men chose purple as their favourite colour—with 22% of men citing purple as their least favourite
Brown was the majority least favourite colour for men with 27%, while women cited orange most often with 33% least favourite
14% of both men and women chose green as their favourite color
Another primary and notable difference for gender colour preferences is that men are more receptive to bold colours, while women respond better to softer colours.
Choosing Colours According to Your Target Audience
The meanings of colours are important, but more important is to be sure that your brand colours are perceived as appropriate for the brand message you’re trying to convey. This is a vital consideration, especially for brands looking to veer from the usual colour choices of their industries in order to stand out. While Rachel’s Organic Butter succeeds in evoking distinction and elegance with black packaging that stands out from all the yellow and green competition, Harley-Davidson might not be so successful if marketing a line of pink, glittery motorcycles to their male customers.
Image via www.rachelsorganic.co.uk
Gender can be a primary factor in choosing brand colours. If your target audience is predominantly male, for example, you might want to avoid using the colour purple. Green or blue are good choices for nearly any audience, and softer colours can convey femininity for branding aimed at women.
Your positioning and pricing strategy can also come into play when choosing your brand colours. Black, navy blue, royal purple, and deep or dark green are common choices that signify sophistication and luxury. Oranges and yellows can convey bargains or fast-moving deals.
Ultimately, colour choice is crucial for a successful branding strategy – so consider the psychological effects of colour carefully when launching your new brand to market or rebranding your company, or an existing product or service.
What do you think?
• What kind of emotions do your current brand colours evoke?
• Are you using the right colours to convey the brand perceptions you want?
• Is your brand colour palette similar to the colours your competitors use? Is the distinction helping or hurting your brand?
• Who is your target audience, and what colours would grab their attention?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Persona Branding & Design Consultants
Contact: Lorraine Carter
T: +353 1 832 2724
Howth, Co. Dublin, Ireland
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