Colors Create Emotional Connections with People That Can Improve Brand Recognition, Shape Customer Experiences and Influence Purchasing Decisions.

Understanding the connection between color perception, human emotions and consumer behavior is a powerful marketing insight for brands.

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The Power of Color

Most purchasing decisions are influenced by shoppers emotions and perceptions, and color can differentiate brands, influence how people feel and shape the way consumers shop.

93% 

of shoppers base purchasing decisions on visual appearance

60-90% 

of initial impressions are based on color 

85% 

of purchasing decisions are influenced by color

How Can Colors Differentiate Brands?

The way people perceive color is a big deal when it comes to marketing and branding. Color captures people’s attention, and enables the human mind to interpret information quickly and make subconscious decisions.

Studies have found particular hues and color combinations can shape the way people act and feel about brands, and influence purchasing decisions. Consumer research can explain the actions, emotions, characteristics and personality traits people associate with colors.

The wavelength, intensity and brightness of colors can arouse different feelings, moods and memories. Studies have found societal and cultural influences shape color associations, and some research indicates age and gender can also affect the way people perceive color.

Sources: Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Business Management | University of Loyola, Maryland,  University of Southern California,  Color Psychology in Marketing

In recent Qualitative Shop Alongs, clients have noted that they gravitate towards the Horizon Brand as it “pops” out at them from the shelf because of the color of the packaging. One consumer noted, “…the first one you see when you walk up to the shelf.”

The Meaning of Colors 

People around the world have similar reactions to warm and cool hues, and societal and cultural influences tend to shape the meanings people associate with individual colors. 

WARM HUES

Arouse emotional reactions and inspire physical activity around the world, but individual colors may convey very different meanings geographically.

COOL AND NEUTRAL TONES

Tend to be associated with human characteristics and trigger mental reactions universally, but individual colors may convey different meanings geographically.

Red: Energized →  Angry  

Orange: Warm → Hungry

Yellow: Cheerful → Unstable

Pink: Nurturing → Immature

Brown: Secure → Boring

Blue: Trustworthy → Cold

Green: Natural → Envious

Purple: Courageous → Mysterious

White: Pure → Lonely

Black: Sophisticated → Evil

How Do People Experience Color?

When it comes to marketing, package design and retail environments, colors speak volumes. Even though people initially perceive color visually, our minds associate certain colors with memories of places, fragrances and flavors.

Studies have found people are drawn to places and brands that use color to tell the right story and create a sensory experience. Neurologists have discovered a few universal color associations that may be hardwired into the human brain. However,most color cues are based on cultural influences and memories of experiences like eating, cooking or traveling. 

Sources: Harvard Brain Science InitiativeThe National Institutes of Health, Plos One: Cross-Cultural Odor Associations, Medical Daily

Which Colors Do People Love?

First impressions matter, and color is one of the most influential factors when it comes to consumer perceptions. Studies have found personal color preferences tend to be shaped by cultural backgrounds, societal influences, gender, and generational color trends. 

Color intensity and lighting changes the appearance and perception of color, and some research suggests men and women may actually see wavelengths differently. Men tend to prefer bold, bright colors with black or blue undertones, while women are more likely to respond to colors with less intense pigmentation or colors with white undertones. 

Sources: COLORCOM Pantone Color Institute, LIVESCIENCE | University of Maryland, Color Psychology In Marketing

Panatone regularly forecasts color trends impacting a wide spectrum of industries. For example, London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2022 colors are:

  • Cascade, is connected to cleansing waters, cools and refreshes
  • Coral Rose, a floral tone whose energizing presence brings a sense of excitement
  • Super Sonic, electric in intensity
  • Popcorn, a bright and cheery yellow hue that radiates warmth to all who embrace it
  • Potpourri, a lighthearted and carefree fresh pastel pink
  • Bubblegum, sends a message of playfulness and positivity
  • Sudan Brown, a naturally rich earth-baked brown tied to the great outdoors
  • Fragile Sprout, sharp and acidic, visually arresting
  • Orchid Bloom, reminiscent of our heightened love for nature’s florals
  • Coffee Quartz, a Flavorful brown that touches on both the basic and the glamorous

Source:Pantone Color Institute

Learning How People Actually Feel About Color

Even though most people will say price and quality drive their purchasing decisions, studies have found color is one of the primary factors influencing consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. Qualitative research enables  people to explain what they can’t always say through a survey. 

From telling a visual story, to establishing trust and influencing purchasing behavior, color selection is a critical strategic decision. In-depth interviews, group discussions and focus groups uncover the underlying factors that shape consumer perceptions and behavior.

Looking for Consumer Insights? 

Insights In Marketing delivers in-depth and actionable insights so you can have every confidence your decisions are inspired by the consumer voice. Our team has decades of client and supplier side research experience, and our marketing expertise spans across various industries and consumer segments.

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