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How color in your brand drives business to the small business owner’s door

Judy Harr
SCORE

What colors should you use in your brand, your Web site, marketing and material to communicate? Color can drive customers to your business or turn them away. Over 90 percent of the visuals that people remember about your brand and marketing material relates to color. Do you own a fast-food restaurant? Consider YELLOW in your brand. Are you a retailer selling high-end clothes? Consider a background of BLACK and add a splash of elegance in GOLD or SILVER. Perhaps you are a nonprofit helping stop drug addiction; WHITE combined with BLUE might be your best bet. Does your brand scream excitement and action? Consider RED.

Look around you, color is everywhere. You are warmed, excited, depressed and even angered by it. Drive by a garden in bloom and marvel at its beauty or be depressed by the black clouds bringing in a coming storm. Color affects our lives in many ways and is a powerful tool for communication. It can drive immediate, automatic reactions, or learned control from cultural differences and experiences. Color is the most important decision you will make for your small business recognition.

How to pick the right colors

No two people see color the same, our eyes are all different. Many cultures create different meanings for colors, which can also influence a response. Combinations together can change meanings, as well. This can be a complicated subject. Every person relates to it from personal experience and learned reaction. The science of color is not completely understood, but there are some basic generalities that may help you utilize it to enhance your quest.

No two people see color the same, our eyes are all different. Many cultures create different meanings for colors, which can also influence a response. Combinations together can change meanings, as well.

The first rule of applying color to your business should be to honor your taste and trust in your choices. The science of how it affects human behavior is a branch of behavioral psychology — what actions we may take when viewing color. There are many debates over hunches and misconceptions with little research supporting either. By understanding the reasons for color reaction, you can successfully use it to enhance your brands, logos, advertising and marketing. Color will help drive people to your business, product or service by re-enforcing feelings and make them buy from you. Remember this saying, color drives emotions; emotions drive business. It is critical in product design and signage. Color has the power to alter the way our brain relates to the outside world and your business.

Where do we start?

You start at the beginning, research. Take a look at the following steps to help your small business choose the right colors.

Look at brands of companies like yours or related to your industry.

Each industry has colors that are associated with a particular service or product. Note these colors, does it feel right for your business?

Search the internet for brands, how many colors do they use? Do the color combinations look good together?

Usually, a brand will use no more than two. Otherwise, it will look busy where the message becomes confused.

Collect other companies’ marketing material on the Internet and off. How does the combination and placement of colors affect you?

Remember, color drives emotion; emotion drives business. Are you emotional about the choices, how emotional?

Collect business cards.

Write down what you like and do not like. Are the colors bold, inviting or irritating?

Your color choices must look good when large and small. Metallic’s can look good on a business card but do not translate well onto a mobile device or tablet screen.

Create several color combinations, print them for marketing material, business cards, and the Internet.

Colors viewed on the Internet are different when printed.

A few added tips

The right color to use is affected not only by how your clients view it but through their cultural, behavioral and learned traits, as well. The small business owner must understand who their clients are. A tip that is often overlooked, color reaction is seen through our eyes but interpreted in our brain through our own perceptions. The small business owner must understand their client base to interpret their reactions to their color choices. Happy picking.

Judy Haar is a SCORE Mentor who continues to help Small Business Owners improve their knowledge and skills to grow their businesses. She has over 25 years experience with small business success involving marketing, social media and branding. Contact her through NorthernNevadaSCORE.org.