The psychology of colours in marketing has long been harnessed by designers to improve the appeal of brands. For millennials, an appearance-driven generation, colour can be a powerful motivator. The difficulty with today’s discussion on colour in advertising is that it relies heavily on anecdotal evidence, so we should take certain colour ‘facts’ with a pinch of salt.
Nevertheless, there are existing studies that can help give us some idea of what to look out for when creating a brand image and content, particularly for Generation Z.
In a study titled ‘Impact of Colour on Marketing,’ researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on colour alone, depending on the product. This carries a lot of power in the digital world of the millennial consumer, as more often than not, you will find them scrolling through their Instagram feed at breakneck speed, taking in a lot of visual data in a short space of time.
So how do you stand out? The most important factor is figuring out your brand personality and mood. Colour stereotypes are ambiguous at best, so it’s not as simple as saying “blue is stable.” Context is important. The blue in a logo like Samsung may represent stability, but it’s also used to make consumers feel a brand is approachable and friendly, such as with Bob the BFC Buddy.
Ultimately, there’s little evidence that says people ‘buy red’ more than ‘green,’ and so what we can take away from this is that the colour choices for your brand should work to create a mood, and these should match your personality.
What colours speak directly to millennials, in that case? Throughout 2017, the fashion world has been inundated with what has come to be known as ‘millennial pink,’ to the extent where Bahrain Confidential named it as one of the must-have colours in your bridal party this season. There’s no consensus on where the craze came from. Some argue it’s the colour of the 2015 ‘rose gold’ iPhone, others point to fashion brands like Marc Jacobs.
The truth is that pink embodies many sentiments close to the hearts of millennials. It classically denotes femininity, allowing those who want to stand out and be different to do so. Those who call it ‘Tumblr pink’ say it lets you “be pretty while retaining your intellectual detachment.” That’s not to say that everyone should start pink-washing their content, but it does say something about the way that millennials respond to new trends. It’s not just a colour: it has to mean something, and come from somewhere.
It’s important to pay attention not just to the mood your primary colours are evoking, but to the environment you want your brand to thrive in.