5 Good Reasons to (re)think your Brand Colors

November 28, 2014 Branding pass

It might be useless to say: since the cavemen have wandered the earth, human beings have been obsessed with color. Colors represent the profound. It affects our psychology both explicitly and subliminally. In short, colors matters - especially in representing you and your brand. In this post we will quickly review some basic facts applied to Airlines and Airport Industry. We'd also love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to leave a comment, share and contact us. 

Foreword

Marketing research indicates that up to 80% of visual information is related to color. It conveys information (oftentimes subliminally), can clearly identify a specific product, and even communicate the quality of a brand. Therefore, selecting the right color can have a crucial impact on sales. It is a complex mix of psychology, sociology, history, experience, and even poetry or fashion trends. 

1. Does everyone have the same acuity on colors? 

© Aleksey Zozulya aka ch3m1st.I remember my father coming back home one and playing a frequency test on our turntable in the early 80's. I ran to his desk and wondered why he was playing such a loud and annoying tone! Nobody else in the house seemed to hear it (if you want test your own hearing acuity check out this Online Generator Tone). 

In this same way, there is also a color acuity. The visual acuity is the ability for the eye to see fine details. It varies markedly between individuals and starts it decline at 30 years-old... Try to test your color acuity and challenge your colleagues, friends, boss, clients, and test groups. Or you can challenge me! Here's my score: 15.

Men and women have different perceptions of color. 

© Kissmetrics

(C) Kissmetrics.com 

© Kissmetrics.com 

Consider targeting and segmenting your brand messaging and design depending on your audience. Hook your readers through correct use of shades and tints (testing and targeting discussed later in this article). 

 

2. Are my Colors aligned with my Brand Values? 

This is the toughest part. Along with base color, many visual identities include neutral colors (i.e. tints, shades, and hues of whites, grays, and blacks). Your designer should be able to suggest the optimal mix of shades that balance your brand colors. There is also good on-line ressources: try Paletton or Colorzilla

Neutral colors act like white space drawing the eye to chat you may be trying to communicate with your brand message. However, if used improperly can also feel bland and dull. 

Here is a quick breakdown of what some major colors represent - though keep in mind that this may vary by geography and culture: 

Blue is associated with cleanliness, trust and dependability. Not surprising though that it is the dominant color for Handling Agents Companies, making the airlines feel more secure abroad. 

Handlers favorite color.

In contrast, it can also be perceived as cold and unfriendly as well. 

Warmers colors (e.g. yellows, oranges) are soothing, warm and give a sense of creativity. Consider these colors if you want to communicate vibrancy, energy, friendliness or an inviting feeling.  

Color of the Year... 2009. 

(c) Pantone 14-0848 TCX "The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun" explains Pantone Color Institute® Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman. "Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation". 

 © Pic Clement AlloingJetex, Condor. 

Revival of 2009 applied to our Industry or only a delayed adoption?  

Red is a stimulating, exciting, youthful, associated with power, strength, determination, boldness, passion, and sometimes anger. 

Yellow is associated with sunshine and optimism, promoting the product in a warm and positive manner.

Green is associated with nature and the outdoors, which is appropriate for brands seeking to communicate all-natural, healthy, peaceful, and growth messaging. Furthermore, it is the easiest color for the eyes to process. 

Koolest Kulula Liveries 

© Szabo GaborGary Shephard

Probably one of the nicest disruptive livery where colors meet jokes on the aircraft fuselage (e.g. "camoplane / no one saw us coming / the big cheese - captain, my captain / avionics - fancy navigation stuff...")

 

White’s is normally associated with purity, simplicity, innocence, and a feeling of openness. This often makes for an ideal accent color. 

Black could be linked to death and evil within some specific content. However, black can also be associated with power and luxury. (Amex Black card anyone?). Greys are usually considered slick, modern, contemporary, and clean but can be very cold and uninviting. Note that there are many shades of grey - so choose wisely! 

In sum, how you use colors to convey feelings depends a lot on the tint, hue and shade of the color. If you want your brand to be inviting, open, creative, engaging remember that colors have a profond effect on conversions. 

(c) Keller Tiemann - VolumeSEO

© Volume SEO.

3. Why Colors and Style Matter? 

Marketers know that colors can be used for special effects. Here are some of them. 

Blue: 

Often used in corporate business as it is productive and and non-invasive. It may also creates a sense of security and trust in a brand. 

Yellow: 

Represents youthfulness and optimism, used to grab attention, shows clarity.  

Red: 

Increases heart rate, used in restaurants to stimulates appetite, often seen in clearance sales to communicate sense of urgency (for those impulsive shoppers!). 

As Neil Patel mentioned on a recent webinar for Kissmetrics, "in negotiation, red background decreased a consumer's willingness to pay as compared to blue". 

 

As shown by Campaign Monitor in a recent study, beautifully designed campaigns with optimal color use, isn't just a fancy habit - it works on specific emotional triggers such as:

  • Motivating a person to take action (conversion by creating a desire for your product or your service - both on B2B and B2C alike). 
    • Reducing anxiety towards the action (beautiful design helps address any fears or concerns a user might have around your product or service). 
  • Providing a clear, easy path to conversion (optimal user-centric design helps your customer understand what the conversion action is and removes any obstacles and barriers that may prevent the user from taking an action). 

 

4. Will it help my Brand Recognition? 

Brand recognition is the consumer’s ability to identify or associate a product with a brand.

Marketers establish brand recognition by using a specific formula of colors and shapes to form a brand mark. The key is consistency. The same colors must be present across all facets of your company. Consistent brands typically succeed because they meet its clients' expectations. Design consistency helps ensure our execution remains aligned with the business strategy for the long-term.

We are convinced that brand consistency works on:

  • Customer adoption.
  • Loyalty.
  • Brand Mojo.
  • Help to increase Sales and Margin.
  • Make marketing more effective, nimble and responsive.  

Among best practices, there is one very interesting provided by Proctor & Stevenson. Michael Cain, Creative Director of this Bristol Agency, explains: "often extrapolate our own ‘brand anchor’ document that sets the key elements of every brand in stone" 

 

5. How to optimize the colors of my brand? 

And... in case you disagree with everything explained in this article thus far (no - you couldn't... right?!), there's always a way to test and optimize your brand's use of color scientifically. Here at Branding pass, we strongly believe in the power of A/B testing.  

The recently war on "green vs red button" is perfectly summed up by Peep Laja on its blog ConversionXL

But for sure, testing helps improve ROI as WichTestWon figure shows. 

Every business find its own way of testing to receive higher engagement rates. 

MailChimp  So test, test and keep on testing! Our friends from MailChimp offer great A/B testing features with their free plan. 

 

 

Now... ready to (re)think?

Feel free to contact us if you need more assistance. 

 

About the Author

Branding pass

We are a small, flexible, and full-service branding agency specializing in digital, print, and public relations. Whether you’re looking for consultation on web design, social media strategy, or full-fledged marketing campaigns, we are here to help your business flourish.

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