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Color For Success: The Psychology of Color in Business

Want to learn more about how using color for success can elevate your brand and even increase your sales? Here we go: Colors are far more than just the refraction of light or a way for flowers to attract bees. If you lived in ancient Egypt, your physician would have prescribed color therapy for your…

Laura Holton

USA

The Psychology of Color in Business

Want to learn more about how using color for success can elevate your brand and even increase your sales? Here we go:

Colors are far more than just the refraction of light or a way for flowers to attract bees. If you lived in ancient Egypt, your physician would have prescribed color therapy for your good health!

The effects of color on health and mood were also taken seriously by the ancient Greek, Roman, and Chinese cultures. A growing number of modern businesses and entrepreneurs also use color elements as part of their office Feng Shui practice.

Later, renowned German artist and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe developed a theory of color psychology. He was followed by famed psychiatrist Carl Jung, who described color as “the mother tongue of the subconscious”.

What is Color Psychology?

You might think that the concept of colors affecting your health or outlook is nonsense, but you’d be wrong.

Hundreds of color psychology studies have demonstrated that colors can profoundly influence your decision making process. They can also tangibly affect your emotional state. The jury’s still out on health, but there’s a reason hospital rooms aren’t painted angry red, sickly yellow, or deathly black.

Colors affect you this way: your eye receives wavelengths of light that are converted into electrical impulses. This influences your hypothalamus, the part of your brain producing hormones that induce anger, joy, grief, and even hunger. As a result, you might even carry a genetic bias toward certain colors. Why? Because you associate them with good or bad environmental conditions.

How Color can Affect Your Perceptions

You might be wondering how you can use color for success in business and marketing. To answer that, let’s take a look at the meanings people often ascribe to different colors:

  • Red is most often associated with danger or focused attention. If you consider humanity’s history with fire and volcanoes, it’s easy to see why. Studies have also shown – interestingly – that red stimulates your appetite.
  • Orange is commonly viewed as a positive, energetic color. You’ll most often see orange used in traffic signals and items like traffic cones. It’s a color that encourages attention and action.
  • Yellow is often viewed as a warm, optimistic color. It’s the primary radiance from our own sun. However, too much yellow will irritate your eyes, leading to a feeling of anxiety or irritation.
  • Green is a universally calming color. You’ll find more variants of green in nature than any other color. It’s also commonly associated with good luck, abundance, money, and growth – and is a great color for success.
  • Blue is also a superbly calming color. Studies have shown that it can even lower your temperature and pulse rate! You’ll often see blue used in medical facilities and prisons, where it exerts a soothing influence.

Non-Colors Play a Role Too

Black and white, although not true colors, are also interpreted differently depending on culture. For example, black is generally worn when mourning, in Western culture. In contrast, across much of Asia and Africa, white is worn to funerals.

For your business, though, they’re generally neutral – and useful. Abundant white space on a web page is clean and elegant. You can use black to denote importance or status. Because it is a power color.

There are other peripheral colors, too, like indigo and violet, and these often carry an esoteric connotation across many cultures.  Fun fact: Sir Isaac Newton only included Indigo in his original color spectrum because of his occult beliefs.

Using Color for Success in Your Branding

Studies conducted in the US have shown that retail consumers tend to ascribe a meaning to corporate colors:

  • Blue: Reliability, trustworthiness, and business confidence.
  • Red: Domination, expertise, and activity.
  • Yellow: Lightheartedness, playfulness, and humor.

Surprisingly, colors like green, orange, and purple did not feature quite as predominantly. Of course, outdoor brands like John Deere use green very successfully – and so does Starbucks.

Does that mean you need to have a red logo, though? Not at all. You can make a massive difference simply by weaving these insights into your website design and marketing material. That means website images are critically important – so consider hiring a web maintenance virtual assistant to help you here.

Image (1)

Clever Color Hacks for Sales and Marketing

Here are a few simple ways that enable you to use color more effectively in your presentation and branding:

  • Have you ever wondered why Post-Its are yellow? Turns out that yellow also stimulates memory. So, if you want potential customers to remember key points in a mailer or a landing page, yellow highlights actually work!
  • Your CTAs (calls to action) should always be in a color that contrasts strongly with everything else on a page or mailer. So, if your landing page or sales copy is primarily back and white, use bold red or orange buttons to draw attention.
  • You can use brighter colors on a web page or online ad to stimulate a sense of energy and urgency – the brighter, the better.
  • If you have lots of information or long-form marketing that requires reading, use muted colors to prevent distraction.
  • Colors also influence time perception. Bright colors create the impression that time is moving more quickly, while cool, calming colors have the opposite effect. Use bright colors to get your customers to act with urgency!
  • Women see more color variants than men. So, for a predominantly female target market, make sure to use more subtle variations in your website or marketing colors.

Color For Success: How Colors Affect Your Customers: By The Numbers

Your potential customers react to colors without even realizing it. And if you understand how important color for success is, you’ll pay careful attention to what they see:

  • 85% of customers say that color is what attracts them to a storefront or website.
  • 52% of customers won’t return to your physical or online business if they don’t like the ‘look and feel’ of the colors and shapes.
  • 80% of customers say that color is the #1 factor in brand recognition and loyalty.
  • Customers make a yes / no decision about your product or brand within 90 seconds – and 90% of them make the decision based on whether they like the colors or not!
  • 85% of consumers make critical buying decisions based on color.
  • Full-color ads are recognized 26% more often than black and white versions.

Using color for success is a great business tool – and you should use it.

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