The Meaning of Colors
Colors affect us at a subconscious level. Lush green trees create a feeling of peace in most people. Our behavior is often influenced by the colors in our environment. You may dislike a person, because of a garishly colored tie or feel hungry when you see a red Mc Donald’s sign. Findings from the field of color psychology indicate that colors can influence an individual’s memory, perception, leaning, attention, emotions and even creativity.
Such findings are especially important for advertising and marketing professionals. Marketing research reveals that color ads are far more effective than black and white ads. The colors used in a brochure, poster or even a company logo can evoke specific feelings and associations for the target audience. And this can determine the effectiveness of a marketing and advertising campaign.
Marketing professionals cannot choose colors based on instinct and personal preferences. Like all other marketing decisions, the choice of colors also needs to be based on scientific data and critical analysis. To being with, you should understand the meanings, emotions and symbols attached with colors. And then use the right combination of colors to evoke the desired emotions amongst the target audience.
Here’s a brief guide to the meanings associated with some common colors used in marketing:
1) Red always attracts attention. This makes it the most useful color in the advertiser’s palette. Red is a warm color which is associated with love, passion, strength, energy, excitement, and intensity. It also triggers negative emotions and is associated with danger. This color affects people on a physical level by increasing their heart beat and respiration. Food manufacturers and restaurants often use this color, since it can also make people feel hungry. Many advertisers use this color cautiously and balance it with white, brown or even blue.
2) Everyone loves blue. It is associated with the sky and the sea, both of which denote openness. Office interiors and homes often use blue to create a calm and relaxed ambiance. Blue stands for serenity, purity, logic, maturity, transparency, trust, intelligence and care. Packaging of mineral water bottles, toothpastes, mouthwashes, deodorants, cold drinks, and medicines often use shades of blue to convince customers that the product will refresh, purify and revive them. It is almost universally used, with a few exceptions such as food related products. Since blue suppresses the hunger drive, it is often used while marketing diet and fitness related products.
3) Green is nature’s hue and is always associated with life. It is also the color of money. This combination makes it perfect for finance and insurance companies. People move ahead when the traffic signal turns green, because of which they associate it with growth and advancement. It also symbolizes calmness, balance, regeneration, healing, abundance and freshness. Using green color can also convince customers that they are making the right choice in buying a product or service.
4) Orange is a less aggressive substitute for red. It is also an energetic, warm and positive color like red; however, unlike red it does not have connotations of danger. This makes it a popular color for fast food restaurants, toy manufacturers, amusement parks and entertainment products.
5) Yellow stands for all things bright and cheerful. It is frequently used in bakeries and cafes, such as the popular Au Bon Pain, because of its association with butter. Children’s products, beauty products, and food related businesses often use yellow in their advertising campaigns. However, yellow is also tiring to eye and can often cause irritation. Thus it is best used carefully.
Other frequently used colors include purple for luxury products, such as designer jewelry, art galleries, resorts and high-end restaurants. Purple is a feminine color and is often used to market lingerie, cosmetics, perfumes and other products. Silver and gold, which are gender neutral colors, are also used to denote prestige. Many luxury cars, including the Jaguar, use silver in to convey exclusivity. Pink is used to market all things feminine from romance novels to lipsticks. Pastel pinks are used for baby products while hot pinks are used for sensual ones. A reliable and sturdy color, brown, is used in masculine products, outdoor products, hardware tools and even agricultural products.
A discussion on the meaning of colors in marketing is incomplete without the classic black and white. In the print medium, black text on a white background is time tested formula. Black is used to denote excellence, professionalism, exclusivity and power. White is used for both class and purity. It is a clean color which evokes feelings of space, cleanliness, purity and calmness.
The meaning of colors in marketing is also determined by cultural and individual factors. In countries such as Russia and China, red is also strongly associated with communism. Death for Americans is symbolized by the color black, while Indians associate it with white. These examples highlight the cultural differences in color symbolism. Marketing campaigns must take into account the cultural associations of various colors for their target audience.
With these basic guidelines, you will be able to use colors to effectively market your products and services. It will increase the effectiveness of the overall marketing campaign and create a larger impact on the audience.