12 Sep, 2017

Colors Provoke Emotions And Benefit Marketing Campaigns


Marketing is a complex performance that needs many factors to survive. We’ve discussed a variety of marketing techniques over the course of Digital Diary, but we have missed one key factor that many people may not realize plays a large role in engaging an audience.


The psychology behind colors and marketing go hand in hand when it comes to grabbing an audience’s attention and keeping it there, in order to carry out the call to action of the campaign.

Let’s recap: The call to action of your business can be anything you want your customer base to perform, such as download something, attend something, buy something. It is the premise of the goal of the business. Successfully carrying this out is extremely important for a business to be successful. That is where marketing (and colors) come in!

Think about it, colors are everywhere. They make up the products you buy, the clothes you wear, the sky you stare into during your lunch break. (Ok, that was a stretch.)

The point is, colors are attached to many products we use or advertisements we engage in. And as if you can’t see where this is going already, colors and marketing, when done properly, can be a very successful duo.

We see colors trademarked for many popular brands. Starbucks green cup, Gap’s blue, Hermès orange label. Those unique colors represent these brands and have been ingrained in our brains, causing us to engage with them.

According to Score, colors are a big deal when it comes to customers.

“A whopping 93 percent of consumers place visual appearance and color above all other factors when shopping, surveys from Kissmetrics show. What’s more, 85 percent say color is their primary reason for buying.”  Score reports.

Colors used in visuals persuade an audience. People love visuals because it is the first thing they see before they even have time to make a buying decision. In fact, according to Institute for Color Research, people make a judgment about visual content in 90 seconds or less.

Putting colors into visual and digital marketing will make your business successful. But, choosing which colors to incorporate is tricky and will require some research and knowledge.

In case you missed the lesson of colors in grade school, don’t worry. We will cover every aspect a CMO should know about what emotions are provoked from colors, and how you can incorporate them into your campaign.

Where To Begin

Chances are you will want to add color to your branding if you want your business to be catchy and stand out. This is the part of the branding stage that really allows you to go to the drawing board, and get creative.

Digital marketing efforts rely heavily on colors and visuals in order to reach an audience and provoke emotion and deliver valuable information.

After you have a basic idea of what you want your brand to represent, you can focus on the colors that will be a part of your logo, your message, your website, you name it.

Keeping your colors consistent among all platforms is extremely important when it comes to visual content, so keep this in mind.

“The shades used by a business are key to its branding — color has long been touted as a vital component of the in-store experience. But as carried shopping bags turn into digital clicks, the colors used for digital marketing are part of overarching omnichannel strategies.” Footwearnews reports. 

It may seem like a lot of thinking goes into this, because it does! Being detail oriented is a trait that will help you during this process.

Know Your Audience – Shocker, Right?

First, know your audience. That is usually the first step to all things marketing, and if you are CMO you know this more than anyone. Your audience dictates basically every decision you carry out.

For example, if your audience is a younger demographic, you may want to focus your branding to be colorful.

Let’s talk about Target, for instance. This retailer provides clothing for people of all ages, but their campaigns happen to surround around their children’s line, which they are known for, especially during back to school season.

Jeff Jones, CMO of Target, even says so.

“Kids and families are incredibly important to Target, and just as parents recognize the potential in their kids, Target does too,” said Jeff Jones, chief marketing officer, Target.

Because of this, they mold their campaigns to meet their audience’s attention.

Take a look at the photo of a Target campaign provided by AdAge. As you can see, the colors they use in this ad are bright and catchy, which will ultimately catch a younger person’s attention which will persuade them to persuade their parents, to walk into Target and purchase. You know the drill.

Now it’s time to get into the specifics of colors. Why was red used for the bench, why couldn’t it be black? Why is the background white? Why are the girl’s pants pink? You can dissect this ad a variety of different ways, and each color has a purpose.

Know Your Colors

There has been notable research conducted about color preference and people. These studies focus on different individual’s personality traits, as well as gender, moods, and emotions.

According to one study done by Joe Hallock called “Colour Assignments”, gender has quite a lot to with color preference. He surveyed participants in order to reveal trends in color preference and gender.

For instance, men prefer yellow over orange, compared to women who prefer the opposite.

“A review of color studies by Eysenck in the early 1940’s notes that St. George (1938) maintained that blue for men stands our far more than for women. Related to different colors, Eysenck’s study also found that the most significant gender difference is yellow being preferred to orange by women and orange to yellow by men.” Joe Hallock reports. 

Kissimetrics did a similar study, and these were the key findings:

  • Blue is the most popular color for both men and women.
  • The most unpopular color for men is brown.
  • The most unpopular color for women is orange.

Age makes a big difference when it comes to color as well. Yellow is found to be liked by younger people, but that goes away once they become older. Maturity plays a large role in color preference. For instance, a mature audience prefers hues like blue, purple, or green.

Speaking of hues, factors like shades, tints, and hues, play a role in color identification. In order to understand what color to incorporate into these factors, you must know the basics of what they mean.


Tints basically occur whenever white is added to a pure color in order to create a shade of a variety of color, such as a pastel.

“They convey a lighter, more peaceful, and less energetic feeling than pure colors. They’re also considered more feminine. Companies in the health, spa, and beauty industries could benefit from using these colors.” Quicksprout reports.


Shades are usually mixed with dark colors, particularly black. They convey a dark, mysterious mood and also work well with lighter colors. Luxurious brands are known for using bolder shades for their marketing.

If you put these factors together you get a variety of different colors that can be used in your marketing strategies. There is a wide range of meanings for colors, which can play a factor while deciding what colors to choose.

According to Score, certain colors symbolize different things and provoke different emotions.

Red And Power

If you are interested in using red in your marketing campaign, know that it evokes emotion and increases appetite, passion, and intensity. This color works well for brands that sell food.

“In marketing, it is known to increase the heart rates, and it’s mostly used on impulsive shoppers. Red creates urgency often utilized during clearance sales. It stimulates appetite glands, and that is why it’s mostly used in lots of restaurants.” Colorpsychology reports. 

The iconic Coca-Cola branding is a great example of a company using red in branding and succeeding.

Yellow And Happiness

Yellow is a color that classically represents happiness. It is associated with cheerfulness, and as a result, is used for products that target a younger demographic, such as baby products.

It is considered an appealing color in psychology, and people are known to be drawn to it. Don’t get too carried away though, too much of this color can cause anxiety.

Blue And Productivity

Blue, (The Millennium Alliance’s branding, thank you very much) is a color that symbolizes calm and serenity. Productivity is also associated with this color. You will find the healthcare and finance industry use this color frequently.

Facebook, Chase, and LinkedIn are examples of enterprises that use this color for their branding.

Green And Serenity

Green symbolizes health, (Whole Foods) and serenity, (Starbucks, after drinking coffee on Monday morning). It is used in stores to provoke a relaxed feeling among customers.

Eco-friendly customers are prone to liking the color green found in brands.

White And Creativity

White is known to be clean and can signify purity.

“It’s the most common color used by marketers when advertised coupons and price discounts. White is the best color to use when you want to create contrast on your shelves and aisles in an outlet.” Color Psychology reports. 

It can spark creativity and act as a clean slate for marketing campaigns. You may see white often in the background of logos, in order to create a neat appearance.

Purple And Wealth

Purple shades are likely associated with royalty, wealth, and wisdom. It can stimulate imagination and can be inspiring. It is known to be the middle ground between red and blue and can provoke similar feelings from both colors.

Many creative brands use this color.

All In All….

Humans rely heavily on visual components when it comes to making buying decisions. Colors are the main factors that can influence these patterns. Marketers should use this fact to their advantage, by researching what colors will successfully carry out the call to action of the business.

Once you pick your colors, you will have a brand that will result in brand awareness. You can learn about brand awareness in one of our Digital Diary posts here. 


The Millennium Alliance is pleased to announce that application for the Digital Marketing Transformation Assembly is now open. Taking place on October 19-20, 2017 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT, this program has been designed to offer you insight into the latest digital marketing trends including artificial intelligence, omnichannel strategy, cognitive marketing, personalization, MarTech, the data revolution and more.

Marketing trends work to meet the needs of the consumer in order to drive a call to action of the business. Colors play an important role in marketing strategies because they make up a visual component that represents the brand. As a CMO, it is important to take all of these factors into consideration while conducting a strong marketing campaign.

You can learn from the best in the business by attending The Digital Marketing Transformation Assembly that brings together North America’s most prominent digital marketing technology and business leaders from all major consumer-driven industries.

We are thrilled to announce Keynote Speaker Martine Reardon, Former CMO Macy’s and Current Founder & CEO at Reardon Consulting, and Senior Advisor, Retail & E-Commerce at NRF. Martine Reardon is best known for leading the multi-faceted world of marketing at Macy’s, from 2012 through 2016. In her role at Macy’s, she captained the company’s 1,300-person marketing organization, including advertising, creative, and brand development, social, mobile and digital media, public relations, cause marketing, media planning and consumer insights for more than 800 stores and macys.com, the sixth largest internet business in the country.

There are limited sponsorship opportunities available. Download the Digital Marketing Transformation Assembly Sponsorship Prospectus for more information >>

Other speakers include Martin Barhel, Global Head of eCommerce & Retail Strategy, Facebook, and Brendan Witcher, Principal Analyst, Forrester.

Our agendas and attendee lists are for events attendees only. Apply to attend here! Already attending? Simply click the link and enter your password when requested.

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