Color Branding Cues

We talk a lot about the importance of brand colors. Brands (the promise between a customer and the company) and color are inextricably linked.

Even so, color is an area that tends toward the subjective and much of our work at Market Illumination has been to educate brand managers and marketers that color is a strategic tool… not a mere decorative whim.

It is the visual component people remember most about a brand followed closely by shapes/symbols then numbers and finally words. When color is used as a strategic tool versus aesthetics only, you can actually stretch (I think the “in” word these days is ‘optimize’) your communication budget.

Recently, we have noticed brand builders are using their logo colors beyond the logo. Research has reinforced that 60% of the time people will decide if they are attracted or not to a message – based on color alone!

And the decision may be based more on an “unconscious cue”, then a “conscious decision” by the viewer. These studies show color is the hurdle that must be overcome before your audience can hear or read the message in your advertising.

Three recent commercials I saw demonstrate this color trend

Color Branding Cues

The Campbell’s Soup ads which show an all white background and people wearing all white scooping nothing from empty white bowls. The chef comes out with a tall pot of Campbell’s soup. The Campbell’s logo is the only color in the ad at this point. The soup that poured is red—again in sync with the logo color.

Sprint is taking the same approach with their logo colors of yellow and black. Their commercials have their spokesperson wearing a black suit while the background is yellow.

The Tylenol’s “I love my job” commercials also use only the logo colors (red and white).

These ads are all branding ads, reinforcing the brand attributes the companies are working to establish without an overt mention or call to action which a product or service ad would do.