The psychology of colour is an area that has always fascinated me, I was really encouraged when Karen Haller (an expert in using colour in business branding) agreed to being interviewed and kindly share her knowledge in this area after our brief introduction via Twitter! Read on to find out what she has to say about the importance of colour when branding your business.
- What’s the number one mistake business owners make when choosing colours for their branding?
Selecting colour as if it was just for decoration or as an afterthought, instead of using colour as another way to communicate their brand message.
- Do you find that most business people will simply choose their favourite colours for their company’s branding?
Initially yes. I feel this is because this is their instinctive preference point. To relate their business to themselves.
- What’s the downfall of doing this?
Are you creating a business or a job? If you are creating a business then it needs to be bigger than you otherwise all you have created is a job.
Do you generally find that our favourite colours often reflect our own values?
They either reflect our own values, what we aspired to be or how we want to be seen.
- Could you discuss a situation where a company’s decision to change their corporate colours had a significant impact on customer perception?
Something more unusual is how Tesco decided to drop their own brand colours from their new Everyday Value range of home brand products. My hunch is Tesco thought the only way to successfully launch their new Everyday Value range was to distance themselves from the negative association of their current Value range. And that mean ditching their own brand colours. Years of building up brand awareness gone.
- Who would you choose as your top three companies that successfully use corporate colours that are consistent with their brand values?
Chanel – They communicate elegance, sophistication and are an aspirational brand.
Cadburys – Are very good at giving the look and feel of a luxury brand at affordable prices.
McDonalds – Their colours are designed to attract children. To make the experience fun and get them excited. It’s fast food so get them in, eat quickly and out again.
If a brand doesn’t live by its brand values then the negative psychological qualities of their brand colours will be felt and they will lose trust with their customers and ultimately sales.
- How do you deal with the challenge of persuading companies to change colours that they have been using for years and convincing them that it is a strategic change as opposed to a cosmetic one?
A company’s biggest fear is failing to attract their ideal customers and make the sale. When I explain the psychology of colour, the science behind what the colours, combination and proportion are saying they get it and they want to get it right.
- Large companies are aware of the importance of colour perception and how this will impact on their customers and will have specialists devoted to ensuring the right colours are chosen for all marketing material. Do small businesses tend to be less inclined to implement this in their branding strategy?
I always say this is one of the big brands best kept secrets. How they use colour to attract their ideal customers and elicit that all important emotional buying response.
But don’t think that all big brands use the right tone of colours, when they get it wrong, it can be a very costly mistake.
When I work with small businesses I help them to identify their true authentic business brand personality, their values and the exact tone of colours, combination and proportion that expresses this. This way they will attract their ideal customers, not repel them.
- What top three tips regarding the choice of colour would you give companies that are either just starting out or are in the process of re-branding?
1. Base your branding colours on your company’s personality, values, aims and principals. People will know what your brand stands for through the use of colour.
2. Ensure the proportion of colours used represents your company’s values.
3. Make sure you’re applying your branding colours consistently throughout all your online and
offline marketing materials.
Karen is one of the UK’s leading authorities in applied colour psychology. She runs her own colour and design consultancy specialising in business branding and interiors. Karen helps business owners to uncover their brand’s authentic business personality and communicate this through colour and design consistently, both online and offline, further strengthening their marketing message and brand positioning to attract
their ideal customers. www.karenhaller.co.uk