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Create a Magnetic Brand: The Impact of Color Psychology and Brand Personality

When it comes to building your brand, your brand's personality plays a vital role in connecting with your target audience. Your brand's personality elicits an emotional response in a specific consumer segment, with the intention of inciting positive actions that benefit your business. In this blog post, we'll explore the different types of brand personalities, how to make practical decisions about color in your marketing and branding, and provide a brand brainstorm questionnaire to help you develop the perfect brand color.

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Brand Personality: The Five Types of Brand Personalities

A brand's personality is defined by its point of view, tone, and voice, which can be categorized into five main dimensions or traits: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own. Here are some examples of popular brands that fit into each category:


  1. Sincerity: Michelin Man™ - down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful.

  2. Excitement: Disney™ - daring, imaginative, innovative.

  3. Competence: Allstate® - reliable, intelligent, successful.

  4. Sophistication: Rolex® - charming, luxurious, prestigious.

  5. Ruggedness: Brawny® Paper Towels - tough, hardened, outdoorsy.


Color Psychology: Choosing the Right Colors for Your Brand

The psychology of color can help you make the right choice when it comes to selecting colors for your brand. While there are no clear-cut guidelines, understanding color theory and considering cultural differences can help you make informed decisions.


Color theory is a logical structure for color, consisting of three parts: the color wheel, color harmony, and the context of how colors are used. Each color can be open to numerous interpretations based on individual experiences, but here is a broad collection of common interpretations of colors:

  • Red: passion, love, energy, courage

  • Pink: happiness, youth, sensuality, hope

  • Purple: royalty, nobility, luxury, mourning

  • Blue: trust, loyalty, intelligence, understanding

  • Black: desire, greed, mourning, power

  • Yellow: happiness, energy, attention, intellect

  • Orange: efficiency, affordability, happiness, creativity

  • Green: health, nature, productivity, relaxation

Keep in mind that cultural differences may lead to skewed perceptions of your brand. For example, red could represent love in Western cultures, good fortune in Chinese cultures, and mourning in South African cultures.


Color Theory: Completing Your Color Palette

Color theory comprises many distinct aspects. It demonstrates how people interpret colors as well as how colors contrast and complement each other. Color theory further includes the concepts, reactions, and emotions that colors convey.


But there's more to laying out your visual identity than just picking your color(s). The basis of color theory is Newton's color wheel. A color wheel is a useful tool for designers that need to pick colors that are harmonious.


The color wheel is commonly classified according to color schemes. Choosing a color scheme for your brand can make or break your brand recognition. Therefore, marketers and designers should understand the specifics of color theory, which are:

  1. Achromatic: Achromatic colors include black, white, and shades of gray. This color scheme is devoid of color and can be effective in creating a minimalist, clean, and professional look for your brand.

  2. Monochromatic: Monochromatic color schemes involve using different shades, tints, and tones of a single color. This creates a cohesive and harmonious brand identity that is easy on the eyes and ensures that your brand is easily recognizable.

  3. Complementary: Complementary color schemes involve using colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This creates a high-contrast, bold, and vibrant look, which can help your brand stand out and grab attention.

  4. Analogous: Analogous color schemes use colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. This creates a more subtle and harmonious look, ideal for brands that want a more calming and soothing visual identity.

  5. Triadic: Triadic color schemes involve using three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. This creates a dynamic, balanced, and visually appealing look, perfect for brands that want to convey energy and excitement.

  6. Tetradic: Tetradic color schemes involve using two sets of complementary colors, creating a diverse and engaging visual identity. This color scheme can be challenging to balance but can produce a striking and memorable brand identity when executed correctly.


ACTIVITY: Create Your Brand Color Palette

A typical brand color palette should consist of 3 to 6 colors. This range provides enough variation to create a visually engaging and cohesive brand identity without overwhelming the design. Here's a breakdown of why this range is recommended:

  1. Primary Color: This is the main color that represents your brand and should be the most dominant in your brand's visual identity. It's the color that people will associate with your brand the most.

  2. Secondary Color(s): One or two secondary colors that complement the primary color and add visual interest to your brand's design elements. These colors can be used to highlight important information, create contrast, or evoke specific emotions.

  3. Accent Color(s): One to three accent colors can be added to your brand color palette. These colors are used sparingly to draw attention to specific elements, such as buttons, links, or icons. They help to break up the monotony of the primary and secondary colors and add a touch of variety to your design.

Having 3 to 6 colors in your brand color palette ensures that your designs remain visually appealing and easily recognizable. A well-balanced color palette allows for adaptability across various platforms and media while maintaining a consistent brand identity. Too few colors might make your brand appear bland, while too many colors can make your brand look chaotic and confusing. Ultimately, it's essential to strike the right balance that best represents your brand and resonates with your target audience.


With these concepts in mind, use the following formulas to help develop your brand palette. By following this color equation formula, you'll be able to create a well-rounded and impactful brand color palette that resonates with your target audience and represents your brand effectively.

  • Brand Personality + Color Psychology = Primary Color Analyze your brand's personality (sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, or ruggedness) and determine which color psychology best aligns with it. This will guide you to select your primary color, which will represent your brand's core essence.

  • Primary Color + Color Theory Principles = Supporting Colors With your primary color chosen, use color theory principles (achromatic, monochromatic, complementary, analogous, triadic, or tetradic) to identify supporting colors that will complement and enhance your primary color. These supporting colors will help create a cohesive and visually appealing brand palette.

  • Supporting Colors + Visual Appeal + Accessibility + Adaptability = Final Brand Color Palette Evaluate your supporting colors for visual appeal, ensuring they look good together and create the desired emotional impact. Make sure your color palette is accessible for users with visual impairments and can be easily adapted across different platforms and mediums. After considering these factors, finalize your brand color palette.

ACTIVITY: Brand Color Brainstorm Checklist

When brainstorming the perfect color for your brand, consider the following questions:

  1. Does this color fit with what I'm selling?

  2. Is the color in line with my brand's personality?

  3. Will my target audience like this color?

  4. How does this color set my brand apart?

  5. Can I use this color easily on different platforms?

  6. What emotions does this color bring out?

  7. Can I reproduce this color consistently?

  8. Is this color user-friendly for all, including those with visual impairments?

  9. Will this color stay appealing as trends change?

  10. Are there any cultural meanings tied to this color?

  11. Is the color a good fit for my industry?

  12. Does the color work well with my logo and visuals?

  13. Will customers link this color to my brand?

  14. What's the psychological impact of this color on consumers?


Your brand's personality and color choices are essential components in creating an emotional connection with your audience, so take the time to carefully consider your options and do research. Keep your target audience in mind, and don't forget to refer back to the questions above to help you make the best choices for your brand.


By understanding the different types of brand personalities and the psychology of color, you can make informed decisions about your brand's visual identity, ensuring a strong and memorable connection with your customers. With the right combination of brand personality and color psychology, you'll be well on your way to creating a memorable and impactful brand that stands out in the market.


Sources:

  1. Concept Drop. (2018). Color Theory & The Psychology of Color: Marketing and Branding. Retrieved from https://conceptdrop.com/blog/60-color-theory-the-psychology-of-color-marketing-and-branding/

  2. Help Scout. (2020). The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding. Retrieved from https://www.helpscout.com/blog/psychology-of-color/

  3. Aaker, J.L. (1997). Dimensions of Brand Personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 347-356. Retrieved from https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/publications/dimensions-brand-personality

  4. Klint Marketing. (2022). Color Theory: The Art and Science of Colors in Marketing. Retrieved from https://klintmarketing.com/color-theory/

 

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Hi I'm Ashley Sharie!

I'm a branding strategist and mindset coach with over a decade of experience, specializing in crafting powerhouse brands and developing CEO mindsets using innovative approaches to strategy and visioning to empower ambitious women.

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