First impressions are important, even in the business world. When you create an advertising campaign, you could be putting out a first impression to thousands of people all at once. Because about 55% of first impressions are made by what people see, getting a campaign right is essential. In fact, getting your entire brand’s first impression right is essential. 

Consumers are inundated with ads. As of 2015, the average American was exposed to up to 10,000 advertisements each day; imagine how many they see five years later. Because of this, it’s become relatively easy for people to “tune out” many of the ads they see. Again, this only reiterates the importance of a first impression. Many times, words aren’t enough to catch someone’s attention and keep it. 

Instead, you may want to start putting more focus on the colors used in your campaigns. They are often the first thing people notice when looking at a logo, billboard, or social media ad. And, they could be saying much more to your potential customers than the catchy slogans and sophisticated sayings you have been using ever could. 

It all has to do with the psychology of color, and the way it can influence human behavior. What does that mean for your marketing endeavors, and how can you use certain colors to your advantage? 

What Colors Really Mean

Choosing the right colors for a campaign and even for a particular product should be a priority for your business. Consider that 84.7% of consumers suggest that color is their main reason for buying a particular product. Simply put, color can’t be ignored. 

It’s about more than what you think looks good on a particular campaign. Instead, you can use the science of colors to your advantage by knowing which colors elicit certain emotions and actions, such as: 

Blue: Feelings of calm, security, trustworthiness

Red: Energetic, exciting, passionate

Yellow: Playful, happy, energetic

Green: Natural, caring

Purple: Nostalgic, creative

Think about how some big-name brands use color in their logos and ad campaigns. Facebook wouldn’t be Facebook without its traditional blue and white logo. You can’t think about McDonald’s without imagining the “golden arches”. Having one bold statement color can go a long way to get a message across, like using red to get attention for a particular event or promotion, or green to evoke a sense of care and peace during trying times. Think about what you really want your campaign to say, and how a color can reflect that.

Becoming an Advertising Artist

Of course, there is no hard and fast rule about sticking to one color. Choosing the right palette for your campaign can be just as impactful. 

If you want to catch someone’s attention, warmer colors like red, yellow, and orange can be used. Then, you can use their complementary colors to get your message across. Color schemes that often coordinate well together include:

  • Orange and blue
  • Red and green
  • Yellow and purple

You can put colors together effectively by understanding who your customers are and what would speak to them. Color psychology doesn’t regularly take certain factors into account when considering people’s perceptions. That includes gender, region, upbringing, and culture. For example, studies have shown that men and women see colors differently, and naturally seem to have different preferences. If you’re marketing toward a specific gender demographic, studying which colors appeal most to men/women should be a priority. Colors also mean different things in different cultures. In Western culture, for example, white is often used as a symbol of purity or cleanliness, but it’s a color of mourning to some countries in the East. 

So, from sign design to social media, it’s important to know your target demographic, the culture of that demographic, and the overall environment of where your ads will be seen. That will help you to evoke the strongest emotions and actions from potential customers. 

Where to Place Your Palate

While you can pick and choose different colors based on individual ad campaigns, it’s also a good idea for your business to have some consistency when it comes to a color palette. Color can become a big part of your overall brand strategy. Again, think about places like McDonald’s, Target, or AT&T. You can likely picture their logos right away because of the colors they consistently use in their advertising. 

One great place to show off that brand color consistency is through social media. It’s easy to change out graphics quickly, publish an ad in minutes (if you’re working with a talented designer!), and you can even place filters on photos that can change their hues and tilt them toward colors that reflect your brand. Finding a consistent brand identity will help customers to feel more comfortable with your business, and social media marketing is one of the best areas to build your brand. 

The science behind colors as it relates to marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming or confusing. In fact, keeping it simple can be beneficial, if you allow yourself to step into the consumer mindset. 

Consider how certain colors make you feel, especially when they’re used by specific brands. Compare those feelings with what you want your brand and advertisements to evoke from consumers. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on certain color combinations until you find the hues that work for you.