One of the most popular articles on the web this week on marketing psychology is The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding. The article bust some of the myths and summarises major research into how colours influence brand perception and consumer behaviour.

  • Bottom-line, beware of any paint-by-numbers solutions in digital marketing; colours have no intrinsic meaning – meaning is based on personal experience, associations, context and culture (for example red is associated with luck in China)
  • However the online personality of a brand (the set of human characteristics associated with that brand) may be influenced in particular markets and for specific audiences based on shared associations to colours. For example, recent US academic research found the following brand personality associations with colours (see chart below)
    • Blue – Competence
    • Red – Excitement
    • White – Sincerity
    • Black – Sophistication (also purple and pink)
    • Brown – Ruggedness
  • Colour value (brightness) and colour saturation (intensity) may also influence perceptions, which contrast is key for drawing attention (and therefore call’s to action)
  • Brands such as Victoria’s Secret and H&R Block used colour as the core of their rebranding strategies to create a specific brand personality
  • Although there are no universal preferences for colour, research points to blue being globally popular (and more anecdotal evidence suggests that orange and brown as the least favourite)


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