Color’s Role in Business Communications

Did you know that there is a blog entirely focused on color combinations, and that they have over two million different color palates listed? I am in awe! When I discovered this site, the first thing that I thought of was how much we take color for granted today, at least in business communications. It wasn’t that long ago that our business and home printers could only print in black and white. Just like the evolution of television sets, black and white was first, followed by color.

If you are not leveraging color to your advantage in your marketing communications, then I would propose that you are not using every available option to make your content stand out.

Some colors clearly have a connotation tied to them. Take “green” as an example … we all know what it means to be green with regards to sustainability and recycling. As a marketer, your use of green should not contradict any pre-conceived notions your target audience already has about what green means.

I have always been puzzled why so many businesses believe that “blue” is the best color to use in logos and other communications. The belief is that blue is a color that indicates being serious about your business. Maybe this is an evolution from IBM being portrayed as “big blue,” and that the largest stocks in the NYSE are considered “blue chip” companies. I have read that from a psychological perspective, the color blue connotes a feeling of warmth and strength, and can indicate confidence, reliability and responsibility. These seem all good attributes to be part of a successful business brand.

“What has brown done for you?” is one of the more memorable ad campaigns that UPS has executed upon, which was clearly focused on associating their brown trucks to their business. This was a brilliant communications program – it could not be copied, had an element of humor and reinforced their brand. In fact, the phrase was a tagline at one time. Sadly, it appears they have ventured away from that phrase to something more generic and boring. Here is a link to one of their better ads.

For those of you selling to the women’s market, “pink ” has to be one of your favorite colors. It is the international color of girls, and is quickly recognized as representative of products and services tied to this market. In some respects, “blue” is also associated to boys, at least as infants or toddlers, but, once we grow up, not so much!

For those of you who are interested, here is a link to a great color blog post that talks about all of the other psychological color connotations and meanings, which will let you gain better perspective on what non-spoken communications are tied to your choice of color.

What is important to understand is that each color has a reference point and a connotation that already exists in your target audience. As a marketer, it is our responsibility to be aware of these pre-conceived notions to be sure we leverage the right color for the right business communication.

Gordon Benzie is a marketing adviser and business plan writer that specializes in preparing and executing upon business plans and marketing strategies. Gordon can be found on Google+.

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Gordon Benzie

Gordon Benzie is a marketing, communications and public relations consultant that is passionate about elevating brand awareness. He builds corporate narratives, writes business plans, and identifies unique value propositions. This intelligence can then be used to define and execute programs to improve sales and marketing effectiveness.

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