Colours Drive 62-90% Of Your Sales – Sahil, IIM Indore

Yes, you read that right! It’s not always the path-breaking technology, cutting edge design, cool features or the best taste that drives sales. All of that too does the job, no qualms there, but when a customer sees your product for the first time, none of that really matters. Because at the first glance itself, no product will scream of how good it is, none of the features or properties will be very apparent to that person at the first glance. So, what does that person actually see? It’s the colour mi amigo, it’s the colour.

Be it the packaging, or the logo, or the container design (and thus the colour). What is even more amusing is that psychology has been studying the effects of colours on human mind for quite some time, and being in the business of doing business, companies started to use the findings commercially. KFC and McDonald’s using red, IBM using blue and white, Ups using brown and yellow is no coincidence, there is research behind it, studies behind it, above all, it’s the fact that colour drives their sales.

In the world that we live in, people now have hilariously small attention span, thus giving a ridiculously small window for brands to make an impact on the minds of customers. It’s not just customers, we too (marketers and brand managers) suffer from the same syndrome. Don’t believe me? Try to recall the billboards that you saw while driving to your office. From the web that you surf daily, how many ads made its message reach you effectively? The answer is the reason for the brands to implicitly convey their brand’s personality and character. Words now are becoming an archaic means of conveying a message or a story or a personality.

Colour is the new medium for conveying what your brand is. What a colour says need to be explicit, it caters to the subconscious of the consumer. The good thing is that the effects of the colours used by brands can be generalised to all audiences and hence is the right weapon in our arsenal. In a study done by Jessica Ridgeway of the University of Missouri, she surveyed 184 adults on their impressions of several mock companies based entirely on their logos. The responses allowed Ridgeway to track patterns in the emotions evoked based on the colour of the logo. The findings show that the colour you choose plays a huge role in how your service or product is interpreted by the consumer. The same is reinforced by another study called ‘The Impact of Color in Marketing’ (Singh, 2006) which goes on to say that 90% of snap buying decisions are made on colour alone. The study also says that human psychology is such that within just 90 seconds, people make up their minds from initial interactions with people and products. In fact, 62-90% buying decisions depend upon the colour alone.

With this fact established firmly, it’s time for you to know as to how you can make use of this new piece of information for your brand enhancement, for your brand equity. These are some of the widely used colours and the mental simulation that they create in the minds of the consumers

The colour red, for example, is proven to induce hunger. It is also used to invoke the emotions of physical courage, strength, warmth, energy masculinity and excitement. 

Blue, on the other hand, depicts Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection and calmness.

Yellow is the colour that is perceived first by the human eyes and depicts Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extroversion, emotional strength, friendliness and creativity. 

Green is called an earth colour and has a cooling effect on the eyes and the mind. It expresses Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium and peace.

Violet is spiritual in nature and is used to express spiritual awareness, containment, vision, luxury, authenticity, truth and quality.

Orange, on the other hand, is quirky in nature and depicts Physical comfort, food, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance and fun. 

Black depicts sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency and substance.

White, on the other hand, expresses hygiene, sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication and efficiency

Brown depicts Seriousness, warmth, Nature, earthiness, reliability and support.

Now, the way to move forward is simple. You need to recognise as to how you want your audiences to perceive your company. Think of the values your company stands for. Assign adjectives to them. Try fitting those adjectives with the colours that you see around. Use those colour accordingly. If you feel that one colour doesn’t justify your organisation’s existence, feel free to use a combination of colours. The permutations and combinations are endless. That is where creativity kicks in. So, wear your thinking caps and start off with the process to increase your sales. Do remember to send a thank you when you sit with your boss next quarter with sales chart booming and you grinning after receiving pats (and Bonuses) from your boss!




About the Author:

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Sahil is a student of IIM Indore and is currently in the fourth year of Integrated Program in Management (IPM). He loves marketing from all his doggy heart and plans to blog about it from next year onward. After following the US presidential elections, he is contemplating on how PR consultants can be integrated well with the Indian Political parties and on the use marketing research to come up with constituency specific manifestos keeping in mind the “needs and wants” of the citizens.

IIM Indore

This article is published by Media and PR Committee, IIM Indore