How does colour affect buyer behaviour?

Color-Psychology

Imagine a world without colour! Pretty dull don’t you think?

Colour interestingly enough does affect our mood and emotions. We as humans associate different colours with different meanings. Choosing the right colour for your product or brand can help represent what an organisation stands for or can assist in attracting your target audience. In return our buying behaviour will be affected depending on the colour selected. In general consumers will make judgment of a product in less than 90 seconds, making the visual appearance a key aspect in buying behaviour. If we want to influence consumer’s decision-making processes when purchasing a particular product, understanding colour psychology will most definitely help.

Colour is commonly used to portray a certain image about your brand or product. For example when we look at the colour white we associate this with cleanliness and purity, which is why white, is so commonly used in a clinical setting. According to kissmetrics 85% of shoppers rated colour as a primary reason for purchasing a particular product. Colour can also increase brand recognition and even identify what type of shopper you are dealing with.

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Attract your ideal consumer through colour

Kissmetrics surveys show that people who are influenced by red, black or royal blue are more likely to be impulse shoppers. You will usually find this particular shopper first in line at a clearance sale or scouting for discounts at your local shopping mall. There are many brands using the colour red as their primary colour for branding. Red is also known to cause excitement and seduce inner cravings.

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Your budget shoppers on the other hand are more influenced by teal and navy blue. Blue can represent reliability and trust hence why many banks utilise the colour blue. 6 revealing facts about colour psychology

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Video: Rajesh Bagchi, associate professor of marketing in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, and co-researcher Amar Cheema from the University of Virginia study how red and blue background colors on websites or on the store walls influence consumers’ willingness to buy.

Perception of colour

Are we all influenced by colour in the same way? Yes and No. We are all influenced by colour but we may perceive colour differently from one another. Example, if a particular colour associates with a traumatic life event this can affect the buyers mood negatively, resulting in the consumer choosing another brand. Culture can also have a lot to do with perception of colour. Example, in the western hemisphere black is associated with death where as in the eastern hemisphere white is associated with death. Colour affects buyer behaviour

Establishing brand recognition with colour

The consumer needs to identify a product with a brand. Consistency is the key to successful brand recognition. Using colours consistently is an example of this. To create brand recognition the same colour could be used on the product packaging, website and brochures to display consistency. Researchers at the University of Loyola found that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% (Morton “Why color matters”). In another study, when a group of people were shown 3-second advertisements, over 62% developed an association to a brand based purely on the colours they saw (Chang & Lin, The impact of color traits on corporate branding).

We can not assume that colours will affect buying behaviour the same way for every individual but we can take colour into consideration when wanting to represent a certain brand or product. If you choose the appropriate colour for your brand or customer you can expect to grab more attention from your targeted audience.

Colour does matter!

Colour-psychology

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23 thoughts on “How does colour affect buyer behaviour?

  1. I liked this post as I believe it brings out the expression of colour and the use of colour in brands very well. I didn’t realize that there was so much to the psychology of colours on products.
    First thing I thought about as I read the first paragraph is how do marketers reach those who are blind. Perhaps something else to research.

    According to the Australian Network on Disability, blind people account for 357,000 people that is quite a large portion of market where colour will not play a role. (Probably not a fair comment for this blog) but as I say just something I thought of.

    Kids love colours, this post below was very interesting on how kids are drawn to colour. “Bright colour aligns with their energy – young kids are drawn to it and desire playful interaction with it. They play with colour like playing with toys. Like the joy of a kaleidoscope they are exploring with an experimental curiosity about what colour means to them.” Bright colorful toys are perhaps a love for marketers but hate for parents.

    http://www.childsmindinnovation.com/post/35330521827/the-colour-of-childhood

    For me personally, I love the use of simple shades of colours in logos, ANZ for example looks very pleasing and controlled to me, the Burger King logo however with the mix of three colours (red, yellow and blue looks cheaper and associated with a cheaper brand (in my mind anyway).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s interesting that you brought up the topic of psychological impact of colour on emotion and subsequently on consumer behaviour. I personally find the topic fascinating, however I think there are some considerations worth mentioning about using colours in marketing designs.

    Perhaps the most common mistake in using colours in marketing design in the overuse or the improper use of colour which can distract customers towards irrelevant information as discussed by Brockman, in the paper: “The Unbearable Distraction of Color” [1]. In the same paper, Brockman also discusses that “most contrast occurs between black and white, rendering colour less effective than this simple approach”, which is a common practice specifically in typography today and less applicable in designing logos or symbols.

    Another important consideration is about the ethical use of colour as a true reflection of the brand rather than a deceptive marketing strategy. An example of such deceptive strategies is the issue of Greenwashing, described as “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or its environmental benefits of a product or service – even with the best of intentions” described By Paetzold [2].

    An example of Greenwashing is the misuse of colour green to promote the perception that a product or service is environmentally friendly. Such deceptive claims can erode the consumer’s faith on the social/ethical commitment of the organisations. The issue of Greenwashing is a result of the fact that consumers are nowadays exposed to a large number of headlines about global warming and energy resources. The unethical act of Greenwashing targets the environmentally-concerned consumers, misusing the colour codes and even charging premium prices for products or services that fail to deliver their proposed promises.

    [1] Brockman, John R.: “The Unbearable Distraction of Color” (1991) IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. 34(3). 153-159.
    [2] Paetzold, Kolja : “Corporate Social Responsibility: An International Marketing Approach”

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  3. Thank you for your reply.

    You are most certainly correct, colour does play an important role in psychology which in return could have both positive and negative effects on a brand or product. Colour can also be used to manipulate the buyers perception of a product. It’s quite amazing how the use of colour can really impact our decision making processes and it is defiantly something I myself am now more aware of.

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  4. Good afternoon everyone. I agreed with all the research and comments from all of you. However, in my opinion, colour not alone determines whether the customers will definitely purchase the product or not; which is one of the most important final decision for profit making in marketing ones’ product. Supermarket nowadays using “same colour illusion” to attract new customers or existing customers to buy their home brands products. For example: Woolworths and Coles create their home groceries brands, which has the almost exact colour of other well known brands such as Kellogg, Cadbury and so on. http://www.mamamia.com.au/wellbeing/home-brand-or-brand-name/#

    Secondly, not every company or corporation targets all types of consumers. They have specific target market and type of product they sell. What I am trying to explain is that marketers have their own target consumers and they use the colour according to their target audiences. For example, McDonald targets are kids, teenagers and students that is why McDonald uses bright colour such as yellow, red and orange. http://karenhaller.co.uk/blog/branding-why-red-yellow-is-used-by-the-fast-food-industry/

    Moreover, customers not only look at the colour of the products, but also read the labels and the description on the products before they purchase them. To conclude, I would suggest that colours not only influence consumers’ attraction to buy the products so the marketers of the brands need to emphasis on other factors as well. http://www.interpack.com/cipp/md_interpack/custom/pub/content,lang,2/oid,7773/ticket,g_u_e_s_t/~/Product_packaging_plays_an_important_role_in_the_marketing_mix.html
    Thank you so much everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi All,

    Coulours of brands influence customers’ behaviour but not in all the situations.Based on its influence,it is mainly because clients’ sensation and perception affect their behaviour and sometimes decides their desire and visual stimuli are obviously important to marketing.As we can see,Ads show products,product design,print information,imagery visualization to dacilitate desirable products and make their brands’ identifities such as what have been mentioned on the post KFC and ANZ.Further,if consumers can understand the colours,it will be better for companies to make full use of this kind of information to build its brands.Aslo colours can convery culture meaning,which can be used in designing products significantly.

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  6. Use of colour and its effect on consumers has always intrigued me. Whilst I acknowledge that traditional research suggests that psychologically certain colours trigger particular feelings and actions, my question is how much do we attribute an individual’s colour perception to the natural progression of their psyche or good ol’ classical conditioning?

    For younger consumers who have the benefit (or detriment depending on who you speak with) of growing up in a society where advertising is widely purveyed to them in a number of mediums i.e. social media, ATL, BTL, digital etc. I wonder is their supposed psychological behaviour towards colour tainted by advertisers following the so called “psychological colour spectrum.”?

    I’m of the mindset that it’s probably a bit of both. For example when I think of blue I think of strong, loyalty and all the attributes related to that colour. Consequently, I am reminded of brands such as Ford, IBM, Oral B who display similar characteristics as a company. I’m not sure whether I formed this perception naturally or as a result of these company’s adopting the colour and supporting their colour beliefs? In any case, it is effective!

    As an aside, I’d be interested to know if advertising would be able to change the overall psyche of consumers by adopting different attitudes than that of the status quo? i.e. changing advertising to feature yellow as say a negative colour…….would be very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very interesting article! I’ve always tried to figure out what best mix of colors to use in banners and posters that I have helped to create and it’s fascinating to read everyone else’s thoughts on the subject. Surely seems like a conversation starter!
    It’s also intersting how colors can manipulate our thoughts and perceive to be something different to want is expected, as pointed out in an earlier comment above.
    Have a look at this article on the link below. Quite interesting!

    http://m.fastcompany.com/3009317/why-is-facebook-blue-the-science-behind-colors-in-marketing

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Looking at another dimension of logo’s colors I find that a certain industry can use a specific color more than the other, take an example the fashion industry ; using black in a logo often means a prestigious brand, taking a further look at designer clothes and handbags, the majority of the iconic fashion brands use black symbols with a white background in their logo’s , they are very simple yet memorable black symbols on a white background !

    “The use of black color in the Louis Vuitton logo embodies excellence, innovation, elegance and dynamic attitude of the company.”
    http://famouslogos.net/louis-vuitton-logo/

    In the Automotive industry , Car logo’s are often (not always ) chrome, some of the more prestigious brands add some black as well , Rolls Royce for example !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this is correct. Upon researching for my blog entry there were many articles stating that black is perceived as prestigious. Using black can also make consumers believe the product is more expensive. It’s very interesting as I myself would associate black as being a classy colour but I have no idea why or how I have formed that opinion.

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  9. A very interesting article… Color plays an important role in marketing. As you said above it “established brand recognition with color”. Sometimes when you cannot recall the name of the brand, you will remember the color of the packaging first. You will tend to describe the product with its color. Don’t you agree?
    When I was still at school, I like to have my notes full of colors to help me memorized the information. “Colour helps us in memorizing certain information by increasing our attentional level. The role played by colour in enhancing our attention level is undisputable. The more attention focused on certain stimuli, the more chances of the stimuli to be transferred to a more permanent memory storage”. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743993/

    People also use symbols and images together with colors to communicate an idea of their brands. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This quote is absolutely true: there are lots of meaning behind a picture. People will understand a lot better with pictures than writing and will remember quicker. These websites give you a very good understanding of colors and symbols for marketing purposes.
    http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-marketing/color-and-branding
    http://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters

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  10. Color factor is interesting for brand’s perception, a brand logo with good colour can catch potential customers’ attention through television advertisement or poster on the street, it can convey a brand identity and make product stand out. Since we are in an information era, we are dealing a lot of messages everyday, but only few of them can make people have selective attention and selective retention, it is hard but very important to give people the impression.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. not sure if my comments got posted or not:

    A very interesting article… Color plays an important role in marketing. As you said above it “established brand recognition with color”. Sometimes when you cannot recall the name of the brand, you will remember the color of the packaging first. You will tend to describe the product with its color. Don’t you agree? When I was still at school, I like to have my notes full of colors to help me memorized the information. “Colour helps us in memorizing certain information by increasing our attentional level. The role played by colour in enhancing our attention level is undisputable. The more attention focused on certain stimuli, the more chances of the stimuli to be transferred to a more permanent memory storage”. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743993/

    People also use symbols and images together with colors to communicate an idea of their brands. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This quote is absolutely true: there are lots of meaning behind a picture. People will understand a lot better with pictures than writing and will remember quicker. These websites give you a very good understanding of colors and symbols for marketing purposes.
    http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-marketing/color-and-branding
    http://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A very interesting discussion on the power of colour to create a particular psychological effect. Especially interesting is the idea of inconsistency between a company/brand’s actions and brand, as discussed by sniknafs2015 in his comment about ‘greenwashing’. The case study of BP’s rebranding in 2000, when it introduced the green and yellow ‘star burst’ logo as a means to create a more environmentally friendly persona, is a fascinating insight into the risk of incongruence between brand and behaviour, particularly in light of the catastrophic oil spill caused by BP soon after. It is also a great example of the use of colour to influence consumer attitudes.

    https://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/bp.html
    http://www.inc.com/ss/evolution-corporate-logos?slide=1

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The concept of using colours as part of a marketing strategy is defiantly an interesting one, in particular because it is a factor that often impact the customer with out them knowing. What should also be considered is how different colours are perceived in different cultures. For example blue is often associated with integrity and loyalty in most western countries, however in China for example the colour red is often associated with these traits. Another thing that is also worth considering is if colour plays a part depending on the time of year? I generally feel as if advertising is generally a lot brighter and colourful in spring and summer as opposed to the colder times of the year.

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  14. Without a doubt colour influences how consumers perceive a product, with studies showing that – in general consumers will make judgment of a product in less than 90 seconds, making the visual appearance a key aspect in buying behaviour.

    However since color doesn’t influence behaviour in the same way for all consumers, marketers have to identify a target audience and then make their products appeal visually to that audience. How then do organizations identify the colors that their consumers are visually attracted to?
    Researchers at the University of Loyola found that colour increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

    A very interesting thought that directly follows from this is “How does rebranding (i.e. changing product design and color) affect existing consumer’s perception of a product? Do consumers feel more or less loyalty to a product as a result of a change in color scheme?

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  15. It’s been interesting to learn of the effect that colour plays on the psychology of being attracted to a certain product, and I wonder exactly to what extent companies draw on this insight and at what point they decide that colour isn’t that important for certain segments of the population (I guess for low income earners). Most supermarkets, for example, offer as alternatives to nicely packaged groceries, low-budget groceries in simple packaging. For example, the Coles “smart buy” products in Australia or the Rewe “ja” brand in Germany. I guess in order to be successful in all market segments, these companies alternatively choose basic-coloured packaging in order to win population groups that would rather have more of a saving.

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  16. Before reading your article I can say that I had never really thought about what affect colour had on me in terms of how products were promoted.

    After reading your article I can see that there are powerful connections that people make between the colour of things and the quality of the product. For me cadburys blue and purple colours promote a sense of quality.

    I did a bit of research about positioning of products through the use of colours and I found the following article very interesting about how telstra adopted the full gamete of colours in order to appeal to the younger segments of their market that they wished target.

    https://mpk732.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/how-does-colour-affect-buyer-behaviour

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  17. It’s like exploring the infinite factors that influence the customer’s behavior day by day. I never really gave much thought about colours of the products which I buy, may be my subconscious mind pays attention to it. Like mentioned in earlier posts the perceptions of colors are different and also age groups can perceive things differently. I tried to learn more on this thing and I found an article and I was surprised to see the efforts put into this area.
    http://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/
    When I looked back after reading all this stuff, it started to make sense and I will try to observe this when I go to shopping next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. very interesting post. i got to know a lot of things about the colours and why those colours are used in the logos and on the product packaging.
    you have made very good point. but i dont agree with you fully. i think the colours chosen for the logos and product packagings are always based on marketing perspective. I think it is more of graphic designing perspective. what colours people will like, what colours people will attract to. Its not always dependent on what colours signifies. I think its more of what will look good.
    e.g. if you take logo of Porsche, its pretty tacky with gold, black and red colour. which some people could think of it as cheap looking logo, their products sure arent cheap.
    So yes. your point about choosing colours for products and brands is valid, but its not always the case. Atleast its my perception.

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  19. Hi guys, I really love this topic. As I have known about how marketers attract shoppers by using of color, it is beyond my expectation. How they come up with this idea. Moreover, you have really shown to many people you know about this topic deeply. I agree with you that people are able to be influenced by color which are red, blue, and yellow. Personally, I am a person who is influenced because of color, When I go out to buy some snacks, most of snacks that I buy, they always have attractive color, such as red and yellow.

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  20. This is a very interesting blog! I especially loved the the first picture of emotions regarding to the colour. I strongly agree that these days the coloured marketing is so strong that people buy more attractive products. I work at Coles and I have seen many people especially youngsters are highly influnced of good coloured product. They barely see the price and quality first, they are always attracted to a good coloured product especially if its a popular brand then they definately go for it.
    But, to me its quite different I will first select the quality then the price and then comes the colour (attractiveness).

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  21. This is an interesting topic, bringing up the mix of the colours that will affect emotion and the consumer behaviour is quite fascinating. I definitely agree that now days colour also being part of the role for marketing that is because the colour sense from consumers will affect the decision that whether they wanted to buy or no. Based on what I have experienced around me, youngster would prefer more bright colourful colours rather than pale colours. My younger cousin would prefer to choose brighter colour dress rather than choosing a darker colour, but is still depending on personal preferences.
    Thank you Kficoril !

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