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Brand Savvy : The psychology of colour in branding

I hosted some friends one evening not so long ago and listened to two in particular have a lengthy discussion on why the other should not use red lipstick because it was loud, bold and not appropriate for her complexion. This friend of ours is rather conservative with colours and obviously would give anything to impose this on the rest of his friends, but despite his innuendos, Miss Red Lips would not hear of it.

Stha Magida

The conversation was totally hilarious as Miss Red Lips gave various reasons why she would continue wearing red lipstick. She eventually “won” the discussion as she was then promised red lipstick for her birthday from our colour conservative friend. This promise has still to be fulfilled as the birthday has come and gone. As I sat there listening and laughing, I could not help but think that colour has the very same effect on brands. Some consumers may absolutely love the colour of the brand and some may absolutely hate it to an extent that it influences purchase decisions because of the emotions that the colour evokes in a consumer.
I shall attempt to explain what a few colours mean in marketing and branding and possibly give examples of brands that use each colour.

It is described by authorities in the field as bold (one tick to my conservative friend). It is also described as youthful. It creates a sense of urgency and is used often to announce clearance sales. Red reminds me of the following brands — Edgars, Red Seal and Coke.

This colour represents optimism, clarity and warmth. Some authors argue that it is youthful. I personally cannot decide which colour I would rather call youthful of the two colours, red or yellow, but the brand that quickly comes to mind is Schweppes, particularly Mazoe Orange.

A colour that is cheerful and confident. Fanta Orange is a good example of a brand that uses this colour.

Represents growth and health. What quickly comes to my mind is my favourite brand of shoes. There is nothing quite as versatile for carrying one’s frame adequately and realistically (ladies please note) and at the same time putting a great finish to the outlook as green cross shoes. If you don’t believe this, ask an orthopedic surgeon. The Altfin Medical Aid Scheme brand also comes to my mind when I think of green. This is a medical aid that has given me and my family peace of mind in sickness. It is indeed for our wellbeing!

It is a calm colour that can also be described as neutral. The Mercedes Benz is a good example of a silver brand and so is Apple, famous for the iPhones, iPads and iPods. The calm and dignified nature of the brand is the one reason why I cannot understand loud music in a Mercedes Benz or extremely dark windows unless of course it is specifically for high security purposes.

Blue is described as liberal, cold, and is associated with progress and freedom. Other authors say that it signifies strength and dependability. Blue is a colour used frequently in banks for the staff uniforms and in logos. United Refineries is an example of a blue brand, and so is Unifreight. I do not hesitate to confirm that the Unifreight brand is dependable. This is the brand that houses Swift and Bulwark.

Pink is normally used to advertise products to girls and ladies. It is romantic and feminine. Pink is the colour used for the pink ribbons that are used as a symbol to spread breast cancer awareness. It is also used as the colour for Gyna Guard and Lactacyd, brands made for women.

Black and white
These are used to compliment most colours in branding although white is less frequently used as it cannot then be printed on white paper and would only work on some shades of coloured paper. Black is powerful and sleek. The black and white brands that come to mind are that of Highlanders and Real Madrid football clubs.

Well, this is it for today. I hope this article is useful to someone who may want to choose a colour for their brand. And if one is to choose a red lipstick, I am reliably informed that Mac is the brand to choose. Till next week, keep reading and remain Brand Savvy.

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