Driven Goals
January 29, 2016
Using Colours When Branding To Generate Sales

Persuading Consumers Using Colours Psychology Is A Fascinating Subject. In This Post, I Will Outline How Colour Theory Can Help Consumers Identify Your Brand, Logo, Presence, And Encourage Them To Buy.

Initially, you should define your brand image, what makes you stand out from competitors, what semblance do you want consumers to feel about your brand? Consumers will buy depending on the first impression they get from your brand/logo. The aim here is to allow consumers to immediately identify your brand from a colour. This carefully chosen colour will communicate the quality of your products, price point and even the trustworthiness of your company.

‘Own It’

‘Owning’ a colour when branding can give a distinct advantage over competitors. For example, what brand do you associate with the colour red? Coca Cola. And mint green – Tiffanys. This process is not easy, and must be executed incorporating all parts of the brand, logo and image to make the brand instantly recognisable through just one colour.

A study conducted by Satyendra Singh found that consumers have decided within 90 seconds of interacting with a product/brand if they will buy or not.

Competitive Advantage

Influencing consumers through colour psychology can be helpful in distinguishing your brand from competitors, it can also instill on-to consumers a mood, presence and even a feeling (nostalgia). What do you associate withApple’s white colour choice? Clean lines, modern, tech savvy, innovative, designer feel?
Studies have revealed the significance of colour choice for newer emerging brands, as they will need to make adistinct contrast between them and their more established competitor. This is imperative for creating and establishing a brand image/identity, for example TNT chose the same colour as their competitor FedEx. TNT used orange as it enforces an idea of quality and reliability, Although FedEx use a combination of orange and purple. TNT have associated themselves with FedEx through colour, in doing so, have also positioned themselves as an alternate service provider.

Branding taps into consumer emotions and feelings, whilst distinguishing them from competitors. Cadbury vs Nestle would be a prime example of this, which I will discuss later.


You must also consider your market and environment – primarily cross cultural differences. A colour that is popular and well accepted in Europe may have a negative connotation in Asia for example. When expanding into other markets, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with the values, religious beliefs and customs of the region. Bear in mind that each market is different, cultural norms and taboos can vary even in the same country.
Consider Pepsi’s infamous blunder in South East Asia, which lost them a considerable market share to Coca Cola. Pepsi changed their vending machine colour to ‘ice blue’, regrettably this light blue colour has connotations to death and mourning in South East Asia. Considering this example, I would urge you to review your branding colours multiple times, do your research, and do not select colours based on your own personal opinion. Doing this could hinder you in establishing your brand image considerably, especially if you intend to break into other markets/go global.

Colour Theory

If you are still not convinced, these examples will demonstrate the power of colour psychology.

Think Red – Clearance sale, excitement, anger, warmth. This is all depending on your product and brand image. Red is great for attracting attention for a store discount or sale, but be honest – we think of Coca Cola and Virgin Airlines when we think red.

This colour is also synonymous with your appetite. So you can see why the biggest food chains cash in on this colour theory.

Green With Envy – Using the colour green projects an eco-friendly vibe, whilst also being fun and young (in the right context). Introducing Starbucks Coffee; by simply using this colour, they have distinguished themselves as a young, cool and funky brand, with an environmental responsibility, using fair-trade coffee.

Purple 2685C (To Be Specific) – Purple gives an aura of luxury, royalty and quality. The confectionary kings went to war when Nestle used Cadbury’s iconic shade of purple. In court, it was found that Cadbury had been using that specific shade since 1914, they had evidence that consumers associated purple with the Cadbury brand. In 2012, they successfully trademarked the shade Purple 2685C.

Feeling Blue – Depending on the brand, blue can feel very cold, but the fun icons on these popular logo’s demonstrate a reliable, calm, and tranquil brand image. The colour blue also enforces a ‘techy’ feeling, with IBM,Dell and HP all using blue.

Perfecting your brand colour can also enable you to convert more sales, colour theory helps the customer identify and engage with your brand/product, it gives off a professional and unified (integrated) feel as it is rolled out across your whole brand – from branded pens, company websites, social media platforms to staff uniforms/lanyards. Your chosen colour must be rolled out across the whole business to demonstrate consistency and professionalism.

Instant Recognition – Colour is paramount over shapes, symbols and words. It is the first visual cue that customers identify with, using the Mc Donalds example below, it is impossible not to focus on the red and yellow image, this is instant recognition.

Color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. (Source: University of Loyola, Maryland study).
Ruth Kedar developed the famous Google logo, she states – We ended up with the primary colors, but instead of having the pattern go in order, we put a secondary color on the L, which brought back the idea that Google doesn’t follow the rules.‘ So, it looks like they started with the primary colors (blue, red, yellow) and then added green to be a bit different.


I would urge any company to thoroughly research and invest in colour branding, whether you are a startup or an established brand considering a re-vamp. Taking full advantage of colour theory will not only promote consumer engagement, but will help you increase sales. These visual keys define the distinct characteristics of your brand, your USP’s (Apple example), and brand identity.
The colour theory framework supports you in enforcing your brand image;

Select colours that will support your brand messages, for example, yellow will communicate confidence, optimism, self-esteem and happiness. Red is a great colour to communicate energy, strength and vitality. Blue is good for communication, clarity, logic or efficiency. Green is restful and represents balance and harmony.

So why not take a more considered approach to colour next time you work on your brand identity? It will make the world of difference.

August 10, 2016


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Brands Whisperer #3