Color Branding and Marketing: A Review of Color Preferences

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Tue, Feb 19 - 8:14 pm EDT | 6 years ago by
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color branding color marketingI’ve written before on Brandcurve about color branding and the psychology behind colors. In the past, I’ve written from the perspective of what colors mean and how the psychological reactions to colors you use in your logo, marketing materials, website, etc. can affect your brand and your business. Today, I’m going to take a look at color branding and marketing from a slightly different perspective – how color preferences affect your brand and marketing strategy.

If red means hot or anger, then what does it mean if a person likes the color red? What do color preferences tell us about consumers and how can we adjust our marketing to better speak to those customers? It’s an interesting concept. First, let’s take a look at what color personality tests tell us.

It’s been stated that color personality tests go beyond the basic influence of color in terms of triggering emotions and feelings. Color personality tests can supposedly tell us the current state of a person’s emotions and help predict future behaviors. Psychologists have theorized about color and how it affects personalities and how personalities can be defined by color preferences for years. In fact, a variety of color personality tests exist, but there are several color groups that dominate and seem to be included in most tests.

Following are some of the common colors used in personality tests and their meanings to give you an idea of how color preferences can be used to further understand customers and their behaviors (source).

Orange Color Meanings

Orange is related to energy, strength and power. Your preferred choice of orange shows you are a fighter. You love to win. You are a competitor. You are considered more suitable for careers in sports, architecture and engineering. You have a fancy for design and form. Color personality tests term you as an energetic motivator.

Gold Color Meanings

Gold color represents loyalty and responsibility. When your primary choice is for gold, the color personality tests consider you an organizer. You love a peaceful environment. You value work and service oriented tasks. You have a greater degree of performance, stability and orderliness.

Green Color Meanings

The color personality preference tests assume that green color represents a persistent, decisive and resistant state of mind. You are considered assertive. You care very little for feelings and focus upon the available information before making a decision. They consider you suitable for careers in science, research, accounts, and auditing. You are capable of analyzing the details.

Blue Color Meanings

Blue color is related to calmness. When your primary choice is blue, the color personality tests consider you creative, balanced and harmonious. You avoid too many conflicting opinions. You are peaceful and possess a developed aesthetic sense. You are considered suitable for careers in art, music and literature.

Red Color Meanings

Red color excites. The color personality tests associate it with enthusiasm, strength and competitiveness. You love and hate with a certain degree of intensity. You are courageous. You are considered better for careers in surgery, emergency medical services, weight lifting, athletics etc. You can communicate well and tend to be talkative. When you start listening to others, you can solve problems better than others.

Looking at these color meanings as they relate to consumer behavior, it seems clear that different target audiences would respond to different colors in marketing materials and branding. It certainly makes a case for including color preference questions in market research used to segment your customers. Do your customers prefer orange or blue? If there is a trend, you might want to match your color choices to your target audience’s preferences.

What do you think about color in terms of predicting consumer behavior and using it to more appropriately communicate with target audiences? It would certainly be a fun study. Anyone need a thesis topic?

You can read more about color branding on Brandcurve:

Color Branding: The Meanings Behind Colors

Color Meanings Around the World

7 Ways Research Shows How Color Affects Your Brand

DuPont’s 2006 Car Color Popularity Report

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  • Kim Watson

    Yes, Susan Gunelius this is part of my thesis. Can you share more info or resources for me? I’m looking at how the manipulation of design elements elicit emotional responses. I’m a graphic designer working on an MFA.

  • Susan Gunelius

    Kim, specifically what type of information are you looking for? I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

  • Khushroo Dumasia

    Sir i am a MBA student from India. I am doing a Management Research Project on “Impact of Brand Colours on Consumers”. Can you help me in any way by giving me sources where i can get studies or projects already done in this area.

  • Susan Gunelius

    Khushroo, Check out the Brandcurve Color Theory Primer which includes links to more resources.

  • Colleen Brunner

    I am a senior sociology major working on a research project for a class at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. We are doing our end of semester research project for our professor Dr. Stephen Pratt. My project is how there is a biological component to color preference between the sexes, i.e. males prefer blue/females prefer pink. I am looking for substantial research to back up my hypothesis that because men and women had biological change during evolution because of their roles in society, i.e. men as hunters women as gatherers (berries,e tc.) that the color cones in the eyes adapted to these roles.

    I have been looking at your article Color Branding and Marketing
    and am wondering what, if any, information you could give me that relates to my topic. I am basing my research on a study that was done in the United Kingdom by Anya Hurlbert at the University of Newcastle, Tyne, UK who did extensive testing.

    I would be interested in your comments and wonder if I could include them in my research project.