Note: This article was filed by a paid contributor to Xerox Corporation.
In the “Impact of Color on Marketing,” author Satyendra Singh took on the subject of color usage in company branding. Although this research was originally published back in 2006, the topic is still relevant for today’s small business owners.
“People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.”
That statement makes a strong case for the importance of color in business branding—something that is especially pertinent for small businesses that need to make a big impact with their audiences right away.
In today’s article, I’d like to explore the various ways businesses can more effectively use color to boost their branding and marketing efforts. Let’s get started.
Tip 1: Don’t Be Afraid of Color
Did you know that color helps consumers more easily recognize a brand? In fact, brand recognition can increase by 80 percent with the use of color.
That being said, there’s a difference between playing it safe with muted colors that everyone else uses (like dark blues and light grays) and using bold, yet professional flashes of color. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your colors, so long as they align with your brand identity.
Tip 2: Play with Their Emotions
For small businesses trying to make an impression in an oversaturated market, a certain degree of manipulation will help you stand above the competition. That’s why the right use of color can be a huge boon to your branding. Before doing anything else, first focus on what sort of emotion you want to elicit from your audience. Then check out this guide on the psychology of color. It will help you identify the types of colors that will allow you to tap into those emotions.
Tip 3: Study the Competition
One more thing to think about before choosing brand colors is the competition. There are a couple different ways you can use what the competition is doing to decide which way to go. For starters, if you have local competitors eating into your share of local traffic, try to use colors totally unlike theirs, so it’s easier for consumers to differentiate between your companies.
You should also consider the major players in your space. Let’s say you are an e-commerce company located in Newark, NJ. Despite the newness of your company, you want to elicit trust from the local consumer base, so you look at Amazon’s or Zappos’s brand colors for inspiration. Your logo won’t look anything like theirs, but consumers may still make a connection between the similar color palettes and develop a sense of trust for your company too.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the visuals in this guide from 99 Designs.
Tip 4: Create a Style Guide
In order for color to make a significant impact in the minds of your customers, it has to be used consistently—in online and offline marketing collateral. Once you’ve determined which colors you want to use in your branding, be sure to document them (along with your other brand guidelines) using a style guide.
Tip 5: Use Color Strategically
With a strong color palette for your brand fully established, you can then start to use those colors for other purposes. For instance, you can use color to call attention to buttons on your website or calls-to-action in print collateral. Basically, anything that’s absolutely critical for your audience to read should be imbued with color. Why? Because color helps people find information 70 percent faster than information in black-and-white.
Tip 6: Remember the White Space
Any good designer will tell you that white space—the empty space surrounding content—is one of the most important elements in design. It helps draw the eye to what’s most important (i.e. what’s in the center of the white space).
If you want to keep your audience’s attention on your content, then be sure to use white space around it while infusing the content itself with color. The color will increase your audience’s recall by 82 percent, and the white space will ensure they know exactly where to look to find it.
Tip 7: Make Your Colors Look Gorgeous
Did you know that if handed a stack of mail, over half of all people would pick up the most colorful piece first? For small businesses that send out mailers or use print marketing collateral for in-person meetings, the quality, and type of ink you use matters. To make your colors really stand out, consider using metallic ink printing.
Tip 8: Use a High-Quality Color Printer
When it comes to digital marketing, you don’t really have to worry about the output quality of your branded materials. With print marketing, however, there’s always a concern that what you see onscreen won’t quite match what you receive when printed.
The whole reason you’re using color in your branding is to leave an impression with your audience and, in turn, to sell more (studies say that color can actually help you sell 80 pecent more). If you want to ensure that all the work your designer has done doesn’t go to waste, be sure to use a high-quality color printer to match the high-quality output you need. Xerox offers a number of solutions for this, including the ColorQube printer as well as the WorkCentre 6505 Color Multifunction printer.
In sum, color is an important piece of every company’s branding strategy. With the right use of color, your brand becomes 39 percent more memorable, you’ll be better adept at swaying your audience by tapping into their emotions, and it also helps keep your business brand looking professional, consistent, and reputable both online and off.
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