Right brand colors can increase sales
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Readtime:4 mins

Just how much does your brand colors matter? To your clients and future prospects. To your employees. And every other stakeholder you can think of.

The color livery of a brand influences how customers feel, understand and respond to its products and marketing activities. This color psychology dictates, therefore, that companies must get their branding right.

Companies tend to develop brands around a set color scheme. With the right marketing talent at hand, they can settle on a color palette that speaks of the company. Its values, products, and even future plans.

Brand colors also determine the volume of product sales, especially in retail and luxury products. It is why black may not work as well as orange in certain industries.

But just how important is brand colors to a company?

Customers are visual beings

Fact: the lady (or man) dressed in red is much harder to miss than the one in white. Or blue, green, even indigo! Why they both may look smart and presentable, their recognizability differs depending on color.

Why would Safaricom’s green be so different from the Co-operative Bank’s? Or is the blue of Chelsea FC so distinct from Manchester City’s?

Heck, why do some industries shun certain colors like a plague?

The truth is that colors define a brand and brand personality more. And like faces in humans, the brand (colors, logos, fonts, etc.) is often more recognizable than the business name or any other marketing paraphernalia.

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It is why a certain shade of red reminds you of Nakumatt and not Quickmatt; why “Safaricom-green” cannot be miscued for “Gor Mahia-green”.

In 2015, a University of Missouri study found that customers respond differently to brands and products depending on their colors, whether in branding or packaging.

The colors you choose will, therefore, instigate a specific response to our brand and products. This response will vary between both individuals and products.

Why brand colors affect sales

Both individual colors and brands have their own, separate personalities. In some cases, companies establish a common personality from which their individual brands derive their own.

Effective marketing, therefore, requires that the brand or product personality agrees with that of its colors.

The complexity arises in the fact companies use colors as core elements of their brands. Yet it still is possible to brand oneself using colors openly associated with a certain personality and character traits; the kind customers are more likely to relate to.

1. Color denotes personality

Simply put, brand colors shout “personality!” in storefronts. In the University of Missouri study, Jessica Ridgway observes different colors resonated differently with respective characters in consumers.

For instance, yellow is perceived as fun and modern while blue comes across as confident, successful, and reliable.

It is such perceived color personalities that make yellow such a rarity within the financial services sector or black a favorite of luxury brands.

However, recent cultural shifts have seen some colors debut successfully in industries previously reluctant to use them.

The trick remains in aligning the color’s personality to that of the brand or its products.

Brand colors impact sales
Brand Word on Wood Block

2. Color influences customers’ will to buy

The template of a free market revolves around consumer-side capacity to make purchases at a given price. This capacity depends on one’s will (preferences, interests) and ability (disposable income).

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Branding, therefore, impacts one’s purchasing power.

Think of this: Why would a customer buy ‘brand B’ shampoo and not ‘brand W’ despite both being new and similarly priced?

In fact, color shades now enjoy even more power. They are more significant, more varied, and more intertwined with other marketing efforts.

Today, flashier packaging contributes to more product sales than dull colors. A 2004 Seoul International Color Expo random customer survey revealed colorful packaging accounted for 84.7 percent of positive customer response to a product, more than any other single factor.

3. Colors establish a marketable identity

Expert branding should create independent corporate identities. And this identity often ends up becoming the default look of a brand.

A friend once admitted Barclays Bank branches did not “look right” after rebranding to Absa Kenya and its warmer colors. And would you imagine Airtel using blue? Even in mourning its fallen chief executive, grey just looked weird on Safaricom’s social media pages.

In truth, Absa is a brilliant brand. Its colors are more exciting than the ‘boring’ blue of Barclays – itself an excellent brand.

But because ‘Barclays-blue’ identity was so etched in our brains, a brilliant Absa brand appeared an absurdity at first. With all the marketing that went into the rebrand!

Now imagine having to switch the brand colors of your ordinary toilet cleaner!

According to Ali Hussein, a marketing and technology consultant at Ali and Associates, colors retain stronger brand appeal and association in customers’ brains than anything else.

It is imperative, therefore, that brand colors align with other product-customer associative determinants, including corporate character, brand messaging, product scents, and so on. A strong brand will help generate sufficient customer interest even if the company adopts more affordable forms of marketing.

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4. Color branding and distinction

Branding aims to create memorable identities through distinction. The distinction between companies. And that of one product from another.

Marketers work hard on branding such that customers only need a moment to tell Molfix from other baby diaper brands like KissKids.

The same is true of commercial banks.

KCB Bank has built an iconic identity around its green and blue and the National Bank went yellow and black.

Now while Standard Chartered identifies with blue and green like KCB, the difference in color shades is so vast, confusion is utterly impossible.

Insofar as brand identity is concerned, distinctiveness is invaluable.

It is why KCB, Standard Chartered, and Sanlam can all use blue, and each entity will still stand.

The success of a brand’s identity and distinction is expressed in ordinary consumer interactions.

Just as “googling” references an internet search, it is not out of place for a certain shade of green to be described as ‘Safaricom-green’ or using ‘KCB-blue’ to draw comparison with the radiant ‘Sanlam-blue’.

About the author

Vani has a keen interest in investments, entrepreneurship, and small businesses.

Vani Ongaya

Vani has a keen interest in investments, entrepreneurship, and small businesses.

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