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The psychology of color and your brand

Colors have a profound effect on the way we experience the world. They have the power to affect our emotions, our behavior and even our physiology. So, it’s no surprise that choosing the right colors is one of the most important decisions you can make about your brand. There are many decisions to make regarding what colors will look best together, but you also must evaluate what message is being sent by your choices and how consumers will react.

Common associations:

Red:

Red is a bold, assertive color that suggests excitement and passion. It is great for creating a sense of urgency and grabbing attention, which is why sales and clearance materials are almost always red. It is also known to elevate heart rate and increase appetite, making it a common choice for fast food restaurants. Our eyes are naturally drawn to red due to its long wavelength and its prevalent use on things that need our immediate attention like fire trucks and stop lights. This makes it a tempting choice for advertising, but too much red will seem pushy and aggressive.

 

Blue:

Blue is a cool, dependable color associated with tranquility and maturity. Shown time and again to be the most popular “favorite color” around the world, blue is a good bet for brands looking to promote trust and simplicity. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought while soft blues will calm the mind and can aid concentration. While blue might seem like a safe choice, there is a risk that it will seem cold, aloof or too conservative.

 

Yellow and Orange:

These are bright, warm colors that evoke optimism and cheer. Used carefully, they can lift spirits, inspire confidence and be great positive attention grabbers. These are fun colors that can be used to create a friendly brand image; however, their vibrancy merits caution. Overuse or the wrong tone can cause anxiety and a feeling of overstimulation.

 

Green:

Green is a gentle, peaceful color connected with nature, growth and health. Green is reassuring on a primitive level, its presence indicating nearby water and plentiful vegetation. Its association with environmental friendliness is so strong, the two have become synonymous. Its relationship with nature also gives it a sense of power, making it a good choice for brands that want to seem strong like John Deere and Land Rover.

 

Purple:

Purple is a rich, creative color that suggests decadence and imagination. Located at the end of the visible spectrum of light, just before the wavelengths that are inaccessible to our eyes, it is often used to create a sense of mystery and imagination. Described as the color of royalty, it can be used to present an air of glamour. Its connection to flowers and the feminine also makes it a popular color for beauty products.

 

Black:

Black is a strong color associated with authority and decisiveness. Black can be used to portray intelligence, as with the New York Times and Wikipedia logos, or confident simplicity, like the Nike logo. Like purple, black can also be used to invoke a feeling of mystery.

 

White:

White is a clean color that evokes purity and sophistication. It promotes an image that is uncompromising or even sterile. It can be used with other colors to soften them up, or with black for a stark, no-nonsense contrast.

 

Gray:

Gray is a neutral color connected with balance and practicality. While some gray can lend an aura of timelessness to a brand, too much gray is boring and depressing.

 
Perceived appropriateness:
Doctor

We’re ready to see you now.

Do your color choices seem to fit the products or services you are selling? This perceived appropriateness is a strong indicator of how someone will react to your choice of brand color. Here are some examples of how this takes the common color associations one step further:

  • You want consumers to have warm, happy feelings about your brand, so you choose a nice, bright orange. This choice makes sense if you are selling a fun line of clothing, but not if you are a hospital, where a dependable blue would be more appropriate.
  • You want to grab the public’s attention, so you go with a bold red logo. This choice makes sense if you are a toymaker, but not if you are a wildlife preserve where a natural green would be more appropriate.
Cultural context:

Sometimes it is necessary to look beyond the ordinary color connections to make yourself stand out in the crowd. For example, while green has a strong association with the outdoors, our culture also associates it with money, making it an obvious choice for the financial management service Mint. Green also, as mentioned above, tends to have a calming effect, which is the last feeling you want to evoke if you are the makers of an energy drink. Yet, Monster Energy has successfully utilized the color in its logo by making it a glowing radioactive green that we would naturally associate with, well, monsters.

Knowing the emotions associated with your color choices and the reactions they are likely to evoke is important — whether you want to utilize these expectations or skillfully subvert them.

Digital Asset Management and Distribution

Your sales force is scattered across the nation or even the globe. They need promotional items, PowerPoint presentations, print collateral and even mailing lists. And like everything else, they need these assets at the speed of life.

The answer: you need an interactive storefront or digital library that lets you store, manage and distribute assets on demand. Your password-controlled e-store keeps all your digital assets in one place, well organized and easy to access. The days of warehousing pallets of brochures are long gone because it’s a digital world.

The e-store allows you to control branding, eliminating the risk that an associate will go rogue and start creating their own materials. You also control shipping while delivering customizable material to your sales team. Delivery options include print pieces, downloads or electronic delivery via email.

Advantages of digital asset management:

  • Organized files are centrally controlled
  • Branding is tightly controlled
  • Eliminate cost on shipping pieces
  • Smoother inventory management
  • Data on usage of items

Other advantages include inventory reduction, since digital versions can be kept current. Your printing costs are also lowered because runs are typically small and on demand.

The key to creating an interactive storefront is centralization. Spreading digital assets across multiple locations leads to confusion, redundancy and frustrated associates wasting time searching for materials.

Tracking the numbers is another important factor. Knowing what’s being printed or downloaded gives you a better idea of what’s working in the field, what should be cut from your digital library, or what should be updated.

GO2 Advertising has created front end user interfaces that made it easy for Sherwin-Williams’ sales force and Comcast’s sales team to access assets.

nucleus home

nucleus inside

Comcast’s solution, Nucleus, is a full-featured Content Management and Delivery system. Shown here are the login page and the initial landing page.

Our team developed sites that allow their associates to have access to the most current marketing materials with just a few keystrokes.

GO2 Advertising can create a custom-built site to your specifications and requirements so that everybody on your team has the right materials every time, all the time, while increasing your corporate efficiency.

Embracing change: Three essential aspects of change management

We live in a time of constant change. The currents of technological advancement, economic uncertainty and shifting cultural paradigms wash around the business landscape, eroding the notion of a comfortable routine and making adaptability one of the strongest predictors of success. But “adapt” is just another word for “change” and change is hard. In fact, the success rate of major business-related change initiatives is only 54%1. The importance of these initiatives and the challenges they present make having effective change management strategies in place an essential part of growth and success. There are three steps to smart change management: Understand. Involve. Prepare.

Understand

Though some people, especially leaders, thrive on the challenge and novelty of change, most people are naturally resistant. Your new training program or your revamped sales process might be clearly superior on paper, but the motivation for human behavior goes well beyond a calculating assessment of the cold hard facts. There are many factors that might affect a person’s feelings toward major changes in their working life:

  • Emotion – The comfort of the familiar is a powerful draw. Anxiety and fear are very common reactions people have when faced with uncertainty in any situation. The workplace, of course, is no different.
  • Experience – From health and financial situation to education and work experience, each person will evaluate the upcoming change within a context that is unique to their lives.
  • Environment – Along with personal context, there is also organizational context. If there have been many recent changes, change fatigue is a common result. If a business has failed at implementing a major initiative in the past, that will weigh heavily on an employee’s willingness to engage.

Understanding and accepting that a person’s reaction to change will be a result of both rationality/logic and instinct/emotion will help inform your change management process so that the focus is on empowering employees to make a change rather than forcing them to do it.

For an example of the application of this concept, imagine that you want someone to change their eating habits to be healthier. Trying to impose a diet plan will theoretically be met with significant resistance, but improving their access to fruits and vegetables and teaching them to cook healthy meals will enable them to make good choices on their own. The same holds true for organizational change: change processes that are cooperative, tactical, nondisruptive and easy to imagine will be met with much less resistance than change processes that are drastic, direct and confrontational.

Involve

collaboration
In order to be empowered, people must be involved. A person will be much more invested in the success of a change they helped devise.

Here are some ways to engage:

  • Hold workshops – Provide a place where people can share ideas and develop a collective understanding.
  • Send surveys – Understand where your organization is at the moment and where its members want to be in the future. Give everyone a voice.
  • Be transparent – Disclosure is essential to engendering the trust that will be necessary for success. A person can’t begin to manage a change they don’t know about.
Prepare

Change is a process. In order to implement change that is realistic, achievable and measurable, a thorough and thoughtful plan should be laid out. There are several change management models for companies to take advantage of, but the one that we prefer is ADKAR from Prosci2. Its common sense approach has proven to be simple, effective, and even inspiring. ADKAR stands for the five stages in your implementation plan that are essential for both initial and ongoing success:

  • Awareness – An employee must be made aware of the need for change.
  • Desire – An employee must be willing to participate in the change; they will want to know, “what’s in it for me?”
  • Knowledge – An employee needs the necessary training and knowledge to make the change.
  • Ability – An employee should have the opportunity to put that knowledge into practice.
  • Reinforcement – It is easy to revert to old habits; an employee should be empowered to sustain the change.

There are many benefits to adopting an existing change management model. Having a framework for your implementation keeps your efforts organized and informs your tactical approach. Instead of starting at zero, saying, “I know something needs to change; now what?”, you can start planning your awareness campaign. Instead of declaring a premature victory directly after implementation, you can see that the reinforcement stage might need to include a rewards program or other incentive. A model can make the daunting task of a major change initiative into a structured and intuitive process.

It also offers a chance to more accurately measure your successes. If employees have a great response at the knowledge stage, you’ll know what tactics to repeat. If your effort begins to fall apart, you’ll be able to pinpoint where it happened with specific checkpoints to evaluate.

The pace of progress isn’t promising to slow, so the need for effective change strategies will only become more urgent. Invest the time now to understand the human aspect of company changes.

Sources
  1. http://www.strategy-business.com/article/rr00006?gko=643d0
  2. https://www.prosci.com/adkar/adkar-model
Social Media Metrics – Aligning Goals & Measurements

Most social networks now offer detailed, and sometimes overly complex, analytics. This can lead to some confusion when considering social media metrics, and how they relate to your brand’s goals. There are certain metrics that should always be tracked, regardless of your current goals such as; likes, followers, reach, engagement – any metrics that determine how successful your social media efforts are. But there may be other analytics you should be taking into account and using to support and measure your progress toward specific goals.

While we could delve into the specifics of each individual metric and how it relates to various business goals, listing examples of aligning goals with social media and measurements is much more effective and valuable. Below are several examples where social media goals were created with metrics and strategy in mind.

Example 1
facebookstats

Goal:

Improve overall page rating.

Strategy:

Offer incentives such as freebies or discounts to encourage more page reviews on Facebook.

Tracking benefit:

A testament to customer satisfaction and overall enjoyment of the Facebook page.

Related metrics:

Click-through rate (if using a tracked URL for the promotion), page visits, product sales

Example 2

Goal:

Improved response time.

Strategy:

Plan for more frequent social media check-ins to stay on top of new messages, replies and comments. Adopt a real-time response strategy.

Tracking benefit:

Determine an average response time and rate customer satisfaction with faster response times.

Related metrics:

Engagement, page reviews, reach

Example 3

Goal: Improve tweet impressions.

facebookstats

Strategy:

Tweet more frequently during peak times to get content in front of more audiences.

Tracking benefit:

Through Twitter analytics, you can determine what types of content, at which times are most effective for improving impressions.

Related metrics:

Top tweets, replies, favorites, retweets


The examples above are just a few ways your brand can create strategy driven goals that tie in various social media metrics. Even if your goal only directly relates to one social media metric, there are almost always more related metrics you can take into account. The more metrics you can tie in, the more evidence you will have to support how you did or did not reach your goal.

What kind of goals do you plan to set for your brand? Do you have a similar template in place to unite metrics and goals? Let us know in the comments!