For many small-to-mid-sized businesses, the colors used in their direct marketing materials are an afterthought; a bit of whimsy to liven up an otherwise drab promotional effort.

Dynamic Color Wheel

But for those in the know, color is the silent salesperson; a marketing weapon that can be used to attract the consumer’s eye, help convey direct marketing messages, establish a strong brand identity, and differentiate your offerings from those of direct competitors.

Take Magnum Mortgage and Realty Group, for example. Here’s a company that wants to communicate strength and dependability during a time of tremendous industry turmoil. So they chose the classic colors, beige, gray and taupe for their direct marketing materials.

At the other end of the spectrum is Tech-Fast – a small company that’s all about speed and turnkey solutions. Their corporate color combination: orange and blue.

The marketing materials for Rolf’s Import Auto Service feature rich reds and dark blacks. Why? Because its target audience is attracted to sexy, high-end sports cars.

Then there are the companies that have elevated their corporate colors to icon status. Companies like UPS (brown and gold), IBM (blue and white), Coca-Cola and Target (red and white), and Green Giant (green, of course!), to name just a few.

The Psychology of Color

Every color has a direct effect on the consumer psyche. For some insights into exactly what emotions different colors can stir, we turn to Pantone, the world-renowned authority on color (from the “Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color”):

  • Red – Sexy, passionate, provocative, exciting and dynamic.
  • Hot pink – Shares the same high energy and spirit of red, but it’s more energetic and youthful.
  • Orange – Generally preferred by extroverted personalities, it’s perceived as playful, gregarious, happy and childlike.
  • Yellow – Cheerful, mellow and soft to the touch.
  • Brown – Rooted, secure, down-to-earth and durable.
  • Blue – Reliable, trustworthy, dependable and committed.
  • Green – Refreshing and fresh.
  • Purple – Sensual and spiritual; artistic and unique; with a futuristic quality that speaks well for new concepts and technologies.
  • Neutral tones such as beige, gray and taupe – Solid, dependable and classic.
  • White – Perceived by the human eye as a brilliant color, and most often used as an eye-catching contrast color, white communicates clarity and cleanliness.
  • Black – Powerful, dramatic, elegant, expensive and strong.

Make a Color Combination of Your Own

Think of three qualities that make your business unique, use the list above to select a matching combination of colors (hopefully a combination that will also make your brand stand out from the competition), then start using that arrangement in all your direct marketing materials.

If you use the combination consistently, in everything from your sidewalk signs to your marketing postcards, your target audience will start to subconsciously associate the colors with your company. Then, it’s just a matter of time before they start sending more business your way.

It may sound too simple to really make much of a difference, but the truth is, big companies use color branding to influence your perceptions and purchases every day. But because it’s a subconscious marketing technique, you’re usually not even aware of its effects.

Give it a try and see if it doesn’t give your brand the added boost so necessary in today’s hyper competitive marketplace.

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