Consumer Psychology and Product Branding

Busy marketing departments in companies all over the world are looking for new and inventive ways to attract consumers to their products. There are many factors that go into a product’s design and advertising campaigns, but many companies have been looking into the colors in their packaging and advertising. It is believed that psychology plays a hand in this, and different colors bring different feelings and moods to different people.

By taking this into account, the companies are using the information to design their packaging to stand out on the shelves in comparison to their competitors’ products. Research shows that of all of the visual aspects of a product packaging, the colors on the packaging are most often used to determine choice when given several options.

Consumer Psychology

Market research and consistent studies have shown that colors have psychological effects on people. In fact, the effects are quite similar between people in very different locations and lifestyles. Some examples of the time tested colors and the impressions they leave on individuals is as follows:

  • Red – energetic, passionate, visceral

  • Purple – sophisticated yet mysterious

  • Blue – dependable, trustworthy, put at ease

  • Green – calm, freshness, health

  • Lighter Greens – serenity

  • Darker Greens – wealth and affluence

  • Yellow – hope, positivity, creativity

  • Orange – vitality, excitement, fun

  • Brown – strength, durability, earthy

  • Black – prestige, classic, sophistication

  • White – pure, clean, soft

For different products, the desired attractiveness of these different colors would seem to make sense. Certain products would do better to inspire thoughts of earthy strength, such as brown does, but many other products would do better to conjure up other images in the consumers’ heads.

Product Branding

In considering the different colors listed above, the associations make more sense the more they are compared. Another way of looking at the different colors is by dividing them between hot and cold colors. Hot colors are more associated with energy and excitement, while cool colors are linked to calmness and security. The colors of these two categories are:

Hot – red, yellow, orange, black

Cold – purple, blue, green, brown, and white

These colors can all be used to put together brand logos or advertising that appeal to the kind of psychological effects that the product attaches to. This is not only in the background color of the brand logo, but also the other contrasting colors in the logo, versus settings and backdrops used in both.

Beyond the feelings associated by certain colors, there is also consumer targeting information related to colors from existing research. Blue is the color most preferred by men, while a bright yellow can make babies cry. Red is often associated with passion and intensity, but also encourages appetites. That is why so many restaurant chains and fast-food restaurants use red so prominently in their logos, in their restaurant locations, and in their advertising campaigns.

These general rules of color all work together to provide a framework that should at least be considered when designing a product logo or advertising campaign for a new or existing product.

The more attention that is given to color choice in appealing to desired consumers, the more consistent that many of these color theories seem to be. For products targeted towards women, there tend to be soft reds, purples, pinks and whites. These colors tend to create feelings in women that they identify with, and many times, are drawn to. For targeting men, more typically there are darker blues, darker greens, browns and black. These more earthy, strong colors appeal to men more in general.

The color selections have the most to do with the brand logo and creating brand recognition, but also have to do with grabbing attention of prospective consumers who are seeing these products in advertising or on the shelf at the store next to their competitors’ products.