One of the first things that people notice about me is my hair. That is not because they are superficial. My hair is part of my personal brand. It’s an extension (no pun intended) of who I am. It’s not that different than a logo in some ways. While I’m naturally blonde, I decided four years ago to become cotton candy pink. What happened next was something I did not expect. People I had known for years started to treat me differently, and strangers saw me as cute, bubbly, youthful and more approachable. I was suddenly sweet. Who knew hair color could mean so much?
It turns out, though, that color is a powerful thing. And there is psychology associated with colors. It can alter moods, trigger hunger, excite and depress.
I know this firsthand – not just because of my hair. I uncover the power of color the most when I work on projects with our clients at Kolbeco. As part of branding, we consider color and what associations that color has.
Color association can be a useful marketing tool if you wish to convey an emotional visual connection. When you utilize the right color, you communicate to your audience who you are, what you represent and how you feel about them.
One branding project I worked on that explains the power of color is DH Custom Homes. At the time, the company had been doing business as Hayden Homes, a traditional look and brand color feel with a trusted name. And they were now altering their business approach to focus on custom home building. Their audience shifted to include younger people with more tech savviness and an appreciation for brands such as Apple, Google and Facebook.
Many other builders use green or earthy palates in their design. But we wanted the brand of DH to be unique among similar companies.
After several rounds, we decided on an energetic, clean shade of blue. The color also connotes loyalty, trust, tact, reliability and responsibility. These meanings were in alignment with the brand of the new company. They take a lot of time to develop sales and stick beside perspective homebuyers.
And the color has paid off. Not only does the blue color reflect the values of the company, it stands out on roadside signs and amongst the colors frequently used by home builders.
All colors have underlying meanings on a psychological level – both positive and negative. For example:
Red represents love, energy, strength, sexuality, assertiveness, confidence, exciting, and drive, however it ALSO represents aggression, anger, and danger. Now look at brands like Coca Cola or Target. Do you see where these might apply?
Blue is a safe color that runs the gamut in meaning. Blue represents wisdom, authority, calm, peace, honesty and caring. But it also represents depression, sadness and predictability. Thought of any corporate identities utilizing this versatile color yet? How about Ford, AT&T or even Twitter?
Color is an option for communication, but branding and identity all comes down to how you want to convey your message. Color is a fun effective method, but don’t let it dictate what you want and who you are – let it enhance it.
Color is inherently fun. If you like blue, BE blue! Bananas don’t have to be yellow…after all, we have creative minds at work. Just own it!
For more on the topic of color, check out these recent articles on color from Entrepreneur Magazine.