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Color By Customer: The Psychology Behind Colors in Marketing

Color By Customer: The Psychology Behind Colors in Marketing

You might not realize it, but your decision to purchase one product over another is often tied to color. Studies have shown that color definitely affects our purchase behavior. There's a certain psychology behind it. Knowing the influence behind certain colors allows you to design your website to subtly influence customer purchases.

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of the issue, take pause for a moment. Think of your favorite websites, in particular the ones you frequent most. Now, think of their color schemes. You have probably never noticed it before, and that's by design. It doesn't matter whether you notice the color scheme or not; but the web design team does. Those colors were a purposeful move on the part of the company to subtly influence your purchase habits. Let's look at a few, shall we?

The Color Psychology of Primary Colors

First up is blue, the color of trust. Brands looking to promote reliability and security will often use blue. For instance, take a look at the website of nearly any insurance provider. The predominant color in their branding and site design is blue. They want consumers to feel confident about the product.

Next, let's look at red. This color is very physical; it stimulates your heart rate and raises blood pressure. Red encourages appetite, which is why it is so popular with restaurant branding. It also creates a strong sense of urgency. This is why many retailers use red for those splashy clearance sales. It's an exciting color full of passion and movement.

Finally, we have yellow. Brands use yellow to evoke happiness and give off an upbeat vibe. This is why the yellow is equally popular among restaurants and fast food chains. Pair red with yellow, and you create an urgent sense of cheerfulness. They want you to be in the best frame of mind when they push the value of their new $12 burger.

The rest of the colors have their own unique psychology as well. Green is associated with growth and environmentally conscious brands, orange is seen as avante-gard, bold, and youthful, and black gives off an authoritative vibe. Knowing all of this is helpful, but it is no magic wand. It takes a bit more.

Color Alone is Not Enough

Color psychology has to piggyback off of something in order to be effective. In-depth color research suggests that color best affects a consumer's purchase habits if they feel the color is appropriate to the brand. True, 90% of consumers make impulse judgments on a brand based on color. Yet, that effect is magnified when consumers feel the color fits the brand.

If there is a perceived discrepancy, they may walk away without making a purchase. Take McDonald's for instance. They have successfully marketed their brand using red and yellow. It is all over their menu, on their Happy Meals, and their buildings. Now imagine for a moment if they changed the color scheme to purple and orange.

They might do well on Halloween, but that would be it. Those colors don't fit our perception of who McDonald's is. Keep that in mind if you are in the beginning stages of designing a new company website. It is perfectly okay to change up the theme, but changing your entire color scheme could spell big trouble.

Your brand and products are known by more than just your logo. Color matters. This is important to remember the next time you start a new print marketing campaign, or design a new landing page for your products. SEO and sharp copy are important. Yet, to maximize ROI, make sure you address color.


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