How colors can shape and shade perceptions about your business

Are your tones and designs contemporary, or are you putting off potential customers? Read on to see if it’s time to punch up your palette.

Savvy marketers know that color can influence emotions, actions and perceptions.

Feelings about color are often deeply personal and rooted in culture, and the hues you use can cause consumers to formulate snap judgments about your business. So, it pays to give your tones and design scheme more than just an ancillary brush.

Here are two questions to consider:

Are your tones timeless and trusty—or musty?

According to “The Impact of Color on Marketing,” people make up their minds about products within 90 seconds—and most of that assessment is based on color alone. Unfortunately, perceptions are subject to change.

From the classic pink of 1950s poodle skirts to rose gold iPhones, color trends reflect the times. What does your color scheme say about your brand right now? Does your design shout trust, modernity and confidence—or are you conveying more of a “sorrowful,” outdated vibe?

You don’t need to paint everything “Millennial Pink,” but you should regularly review and update your company colors to ensure you’re sending the right message.

Are your colors culturally appropriate?

Colors have a variety of associations and different meanings around the world. In Chinese culture, for instance, colors are connected to specific values, elements or emotions. Colors also carry profound significance in India and in many other countries.

Of course, there are no clear-cut global guidelines for selecting colors for products or branding, but there are cultural perceptions and trends that can help inform your design strategy. Before you settle on a scheme, consider:

  • Whom, exactly, are we trying to reach?
  • Are we targeting customers in countries where colors carry particular significance?
  • Are we using colors preferred by any fringe groups?
  • Could our color combinations be construed as controversial or annoying in any way?

Gaining a deeper understanding of the social, cultural and political issues that influence color trends will help you sidestep potential problems and propel you toward a thoughtful, strategic color palette.

Colors speak volumes about your business. What are yours saying about you?

Dana Lambert is associate creative director at Motion, an integrated marketing agency.

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