The Australian Small Business Blog

Friday, March 16, 2007

Developing your Brand's Strategy- Lesson 7

The Meaning of Colours and Your Business

The meaning of colours varies depending on one's culture, race, gender, and even age. So, it is not just the selection of colours in general but also which colours to use with your target customers. For instance, white is often associated with weddings in Western Culture and evokes the feeling of innocence, freshness, purity and new life. In Eastern cultures, white signifies death. An exporter of white wedding gowns to China would go broke in no time.

Colours can be combined to signify meaning to a culture. In the western world, green and red are associated with Christmas, while browns and yellows Autumn.

Several large brand name companies are associated with their corporate colours. IBM- Big Blue signifies stability and conservatism. United Parcel Service (UPS) - Brown symbolizes longevity and reliability. A colour can be connected to products like Beer Wine Spirits in the bold orange, evoking the feeling of vibrancy.

Consider the meaning of the following colours for your business marketing, branding, websites and documents. (Western culture):

White: Pure, Clean, Innocence, youthful. It is a neutral colour that can imply purity in fashion and sterilization in the medical profession. (Monash University, White Lady Funerals)

Black: Power, Elegant, Secretive. The colour black can target your high-end market or be used in youth marketing to add mystery to your image. (De WALT power tools)

Red: Passion, Excitement, Danger. Red is the colour of attention, causing the blood pressure and heart rate to rise. Inject excitement into your brand. (, 3M, St George Bank, Ferrari, Red Nose Day, Virgin Brands)

Orange:Vibrant, Energy, Playful. Add some fun to your organisation if you want to create a playful environment for your customers. (Telstra, Wizard Home loans, Beer Wine Spirits )

Yellow: Happy, Warm, Alert. Yellow can be an attractor for your business with a relaxed feeling. (McDonalds, Dick Smith, Kodak)

Green: Natural, Healthy, Plentiful, Organic, Going Green. To create a calming effect or growth image choose green. Go green go. (Melbourne Water, Blackmores, BP, Woolworths- the Fresh Food People, Caltex)

Purple: Royalty, Wise, Celebration. Maybe add some purple tones to your look for your premium service business. (Aussie Home Loans)

Blue: Loyal, Peaceful, Trustworthy. Blue is the most popular and neutral colour on a global scale. A safe choice for a business building customer loyalty. (IBM, Vic Government, Sensis, GE Money, Intel, Seek)

Consider how these colours are used in your organisation’s marketing materials from logos and brochures to business cards and uniforms. Are your colours projecting the personality and image you want? If not, it may be time for a colour makeover.

Colours have meaning. A white flag means surrender, however, if you have never seen a war the colour is insignificant. It all depends on the experiences of the customer and observer. Consider matching your colours with your customers to best choose the winning colour for your business.

Richard Gill is the director of The Banner Lady

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