In creating your brand, there are many aspects that go into the brand itself, including a business name, a logo, fonts, voice, and color. Color is a powerful tool to not only target and influence your audience, but to set yourself apart from competitors.
Color Is Underrated
Color is often overlooked in the creation of a brand, and consequently chosen without much thought. But color can affect how we think, feel, and act, so it should be considered carefully. There are accepted views on colors and which industries they’re used for: blue for healthcare, black for luxury brands, green or orange for food. However, understanding why these views exist is key.
Our Perceptions of Colors
The way we perceive colors is both intuitive and learned. Studies show that some perceptions of color are ingrained in our brains: red activates our amygdala and raises our blood pressure, as a response to both danger and excitement, while blue light keeps us awake because it suppresses the production of melatonin.
However, learned perceptions of color also exist, and these vary more among people, since they tend to be historical and cultural. For a long time, the only colors that existed were natural, so unnatural hues were associated with the wealthy (see: royal blue, white wedding dresses).
Color is also cultural. Not only does the language you speak affect how you see color, but cultures use and see colors in different ways — for example, some Eastern cultures wear white to funerals instead of black.
Choosing Colors: What To Consider For a Brand
Your Target Audience
It’s incredibly important to understand both instinctual perceptions of color and the historical and cultural context when choosing a color for your brand. If your customers are in China, the United States, or Brazil, they will have different perceptions of a color due to these contexts.
Age is another factor that affects perception of colors. Different generations, each with their own specific cultural context, will feel differently about colors. Trends like millennial pink and Gen Z yellow speak to this difference, so if you’re targeting a specific demographic, you should take this into account.
Different sexes also see colors differently, sometimes quite literally: women see more shades of colors than men do. Men and women also have different feelings about colors, and will prefer some colors over others.
Understanding your target audience, from their background to their age, sex, and more, is crucial to pick the right color for your brand, because it can make or break your brand’s success with them.
Color Combos and Hues
When choosing a color for your brand, you’re actually choosing several: a palette of 5-10 primary and secondary brand colors that will all be part of your brand. Understanding how colors work together, not just alone, will help you choose these combinations. Similarly, there’s more to a color combination than just “blue” and “yellow,” for example, since you’ll be choosing a specific shade of each color.
A professional is your best asset for picking colors, since they understand the nuances of each specific shade and how they work with other shades, both logistically and psychologically. They’ll know not just what colors look good together, but what they say about your brand.
What feeling do you want to give a customer? Color stir emotions and thoughts inside of us, which can lead to our behaviors. Will we love this brand or hate it? Will we feel connected to it? Feelings are incredibly important to sales — don’t overlook them.
One piece of common advice is to use red for a call to action button or a sale sign, since red inspires people to take action. However, you won’t choose red as your brand color just to stir action in people — and if you do choose it, your brand isn’t automatically aggressive and bold.
The idea is to be conscientious with your color selection, and choose colors that overall give off the mood and feeling of your brand, whether it’s elegance, excitement, peace, or something else.
What are your competitors doing? Understanding and analyzing what colors your competitors are using can help you understand your own business and your target audience, and help you decide whether you want to go in the same direction or try something different.
Color can differentiate your business from those around you. You could go with the same thing your competitor is doing, and it may work, but trying something different can set you apart and bring you more business that way. Although your colors should still make sense for your industry and audience, finding a new take can help your brand stand out.
Color is only one aspect of a brand. Ultimately, all the aspects of your brand have to work together, and though color is important, it must work with the others to create a cohesive and effective brand.
Build a Brand With Hyvemark
At Hyvemark, we have studied the psychology of color and are ready to help you pick the right colors for your brand. As we build your brand, we’ll do research and consider a wide variety of factors, then come to you with our suggestions for fonts, designs, and of course, colors.
The design of your website is incredibly important: not only do 94% of a visitor’s first impression of your site relate to the design, but 89% of consumers will shop with a competitor if they had a bad user experience on a site. Good web design leads to more conversions, more sales, and more return on investment.
However, while there are some basic tenets of good web design, certain elements are going to be different depending on the purpose and goals of the site. There are a few different website types, but for businesses, the primary ones are lead generation sites and e-commerce sites.
Let’s explore which elements you should consider when selecting each type of site, and which elements are important no matter what kind of site you have.
Lead generation websites are built to attract and convert customers that are coming into your site from digital marketing efforts, i.e. pay-per-click ads, Facebook Ads, social media, and/or SEO strategies.
The idea is that, if your digital marketing campaigns have worked, your site then has to do the job of turning that click into a customer. After visiting your lead generation site, a user should feel compelled to contact your business, get a quote, make an appointment, or visit your store.
If leads and conversions are your goal, the design for your site should take the following into account:
Fast loading time
Your site should load quickly, preferably in 2 seconds or less. You’ve managed to get that click from your ad or post, but if the user made the decision to click and your site is slow, they will just as easily click away and give up. Holding their attention while you have it is key to a conversion, and for that, your site needs to load as quickly as possible.
There are several ways to speed up your site’s loading time, including compressing your images so they aren’t too heavy, optimizing your code, and reducing redirects.
Add CTAs and contact forms
Once a user gets on your site, they should know immediately how to contact you or what action to take, because, without that action, there’s no conversion. In designing your site, you should include a call-to-action button above the fold (i.e. it’s visible before they scroll) as well as more CTAs spaced throughout each page.
A good CTA button should:
- Have a strong action word or phrase like “Sign Up,” “Download Now,” “Get a Free Quote,” etc.
- Be readable — you should use fonts that are easily readable on websites and that match your brand.
- Be an engaging color — studies show that red is the best color to inspire action.
- Link to whatever action you want them to take, e.g. a download, a signup, a contact page, etc.
You should also include contact forms at the bottom of each page to further encourage conversions and engagement.
An e-commerce site, unlike a lead gen site, is shoppable — website users can explore the business’ catalog of products online and buy them directly on the site through a virtual shopping cart and checkout. Therefore, the design should focus on this experience and facilitate it.
For an e-commerce site, your design should consider:
The shopping experience
An e-commerce website should be easy to navigate, specifically in terms of the shopping experience. Customers should be able to find products, sales, and information easily.
- An intuitive navigation bar. Your menu bar should have clear product categories and subcategories, as well as the shopping cart.
- Scannable product pages. A customer should be able to scroll through well-organized pages with good photos and clear product descriptions.
- Sorting and filtering options and a search bar can help narrow down a sale by helping customers find what they’re looking for.
The checkout experience
The checkout experience is especially crucial for an e-commerce site. A lengthy, complicated, or unsafe checkout experience can and does drive shoppers away, and results in many abandoned carts. To avoid this, checkouts should:
- Be short and simple — long processes alienate customers and make them abandon their carts
- Not require customers to create an account. Most visitors will be unwilling to do so, so a guest checkout is absolutely necessary.
- Have few distractions. One way to do this is to remove the navigation bar from the checkout page entirely.
Every Website Should…
There are elements that, regardless of the type of website you’re designing, will serve you in accomplishing your goals. Every website should:
Use high-quality images
For e-commerce sites, high-quality images show off the product, encourage trust, and make the visitor more likely to buy. For lead generation websites, they are visually appealing, breaking up longer sections of text and illustrating your work or product. Before and after photos can be especially useful, depending on the industry.
Use social proof
Social proof is key for any business’ site. In e-commerce websites, reviews help customers decide which product to buy and helps them trust in your products and your shipping or return policy. In a lead gen website, testimonials (especially videos) support your offering and make the customer more likely to contact you.
Internet users don’t want to use unsafe sites, so securing your site means securing your visits — and sales and conversions. This is especially important for e-commerce checkouts, where customers are inputting their credit card information.
To secure your site, you can:
- Install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
- Back up your site regularly
- Install ransomware for your server
- Use a secure hosting service
Proper branding is important for any website, but perhaps even more for an e-commerce site. Professional-looking branding, including consistent colors/fonts and a professional logo, lets customers know they can trust your business, and this makes them more likely to buy from you.
Visually appealing design is also important. The visual style of your page and the business it represents leave an impression on the customer and let them know what kind of business you are: modern, homey, trendy, serious, etc. A visual style that appeals to your target customers makes them more likely to buy from you on the site and increases sales.
Designing your website with its specific needs and your ROI goals in mind can determine the success of, not just your site, but your marketing efforts in general. That’s why Hyvemark strives to understand those needs and goals before building and designing your site, so your strategy can succeed.
Many small business owners hesitate when it comes to investing in marketing, and doubt if dedicating a significant budget to marketing is the right choice. It might seem like another reason for cash to be leaving the company, but this is a common misconception.
Marketing has a cost, but it can determine business success and bring money back to you, when done correctly. Here are a few reasons why investing in marketing is worth it, and why you shouldn’t overlook the benefits of branding, digital marketing campaigns, and strategy.
It Puts You On The Map
Marketing is like introducing yourself to your customers, and the first step to building long-lasting relationships. It’s not just a visual first impression; it’s finding your customers and interacting with them in the right way. Marketing is a long-term investment, a cohesive interplay of different strategies that give you long-term results.
Today’s competitive landscape, online and offline, makes it undeniable that without marketing, it will be very difficult for anyone to know about your business. Marketing accomplishes this through a variety of complementary strategies, from design to targeted ads, that work together to help you reach your company’s goals.
It Gets You Through Crises
Marketing can weather many storms, even when production goes down, technology adapts, or other changes happen. Although marketing budgets are often the first thing to go in a crisis, studies show advertising can actually help in this time more than ever.
Marketing during a recession, when others are not, means less competition and more visibility for you. This has a huge positive effect on your business, not just to survive a recession, but to thrive even more afterwards. The key denominator here is making sure strategies maximize your return on investment and cumulatively work together to achieve the same goals across all marketing channels.
Any action that can help your business not just get through a crisis, but grow in one, is something to invest in.
You’re Already Doing It
To start any business, you have to do some level of marketing, even if you don’t realize it. The moment you name your business, create a logo, start an Instagram page, ask your friends to talk about your business, or choose packaging for your product, you’re marketing your business. You can’t do business without marketing on some basic level, which is why investing since the beginning is crucial to a consistent and successful marketing strategy.
What’s the difference when you invest in marketing instead of doing it passively? You give it the importance, time, and budget it deserves. Inadvertently, we all recognize that branding matters, and that advertising a business matters — we are just hesitant to put in the time or money it may take to make it great.
But that time and money will take the work you’re already doing to a new level, and actually make it profitable. You want people to hear about your business, and this should be achieved with trackable and measurable online ads and organic search strategies, functional designs, and consistent branding efforts.
You Are In Control
When a marketing budget surpases a business’s revenue it is clear why business owners and stakeholders are often dismissive of marketing and see it as a wasted investment. But an investment in marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune to bring in real and beneficial results. Creating a realistic budget can help you reach your goals without overspending.
You decide how much you want to spend on marketing services and for how long you want to spend it. Since you can target a specific audience with your strategies, you can spend on specific platforms that can increase your return on investment and minimize wasted efforts.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, businesses should spend 5-7% of their sales revenue on marketing — and new companies should spend even more. A budgeted and careful investment can bring in revenue strategically.
Hyvemark: The Agency Focused On Your Growth
At Hyvemark, our experts will discuss your marketing goals and provide you with strategic recommendations focused on your business’ goals and sustainability. We strive to provide you with services that fit your budget and provide you with quality results by offering ROI-driven marketing that makes your investment in marketing worth every cent.
Branding defines the way consumers perceive your company and products. It defines you as a business (visually and beyond) and makes you stand out and differentiate yourself from others. A consistent brand can drive new business and retain current customers.
The most common symbol associated with branding is a logo, a quick and very visual way to make an impression on a customer. But branding goes beyond just a logo: it includes colors, voice, name, style, and more. With the right branding strategy, your business can achieve real success. By ensuring all its channels accurately represent and are consistent with the brand identity, a business can foster loyalty, sales, and professionalism.
What Does a Consistent Brand Look Like?
A consistent brand is not thrown together in one day, but rather thought out and executed with the help of professionals. When you’re defining a brand, you should consider, and decide on:
- Color palette
- Value proposition
- What makes your brand different
Once it’s defined, your brand should extend beyond your logo to business cards, promotional items, social media, email communication, and your website. Your website, as the online representation of your business, should be created (or redesigned) with branding elements of color, font, and voice as well, while communicating your values and differentiators.
A brand that’s consistent has a branding guide to maintain it, leadership and employees committed to using it correctly, and the promise of time to help it grow stronger.
Why Branding Matters
1. Improves Recognition
A brand that’s both consistent and memorable can help your business grow loyalty. If a customer recognizes your business and can associate it with certain products, values, and feelings, they will be more likely to buy from you than from a brand that they don’t know.
Your logo is the face of your brand and what it represents, so they are usually the first tool for recognition. The right logos have the power to be simple but memorable and give the right impression of your company. Your logo should be carefully and professionally designed to make the desired impact and display what your brand is all about in the most simple way.
2. Generates Referrals
Customers tend to talk about brands they like, especially if they are continually exposed to and have excellent experiences with the brand. It’s difficult to share about a brand someone is unfamiliar with or one they can’t remember, but a recognizable logo is the first step to achieving recognition. With time and consistency, a memorable logo will go a long way.
3. Differentiates You From Competitors
With so much competition out there, it’s critical to stand out from everyone else, because chances are your product or service already exists. Find the ways your business stands out and how you add value, then transmit those through your branding. This is a more subtle and powerful way to express your uniqueness than by simply saying it — your customers will feel and believe it.
4. Creates Trust
Customers are much more likely to buy from a brand they know and, more importantly, one they trust. Branding can help you create that trust through consistency and recognition.
Also, when a company has an excellent branding strategy, they unconsciously communicate professionalism to consumers. Customers trust, and buy from, brands that are professional, so when you’re adequately branded, people will look to you as an industry expert and trust your product.
5. Aligns With Your Advertising Efforts
Advertising is part of branding, and your strategies will reflect how you want to portray your brand. When you advertise your products or services, you must keep branding consistent and appealing so that everything in your business aligns.
Brand manuals, for example, are created to ensure brand consistency exists whether your team or a third party creates marketing materials, for example. They serve as the guide to how the brand will be communicated through any marketing channel, so that when customers see your advertising efforts, they recognize your brand and its values.
6. Influences Purchasing Decisions
Your branding can have a huge effect on your consumer’s actions. A brand that’s consistent in everything can increase their revenue by up to 23%. Consequently, your logo can also influence consumers at first glance, from the font, shape, size, and color. When a product is both recognizable and attractive (both achievable with consistent branding), it generates more sales.
7. Motivates Employees
Employees who work for strongly branded companies are more satisfied and have a higher sense of pride in their work. Not only that, but they also represent the business better to others, providing even more referrals and trust. Superficially, branded items can instill more loyalty in your employees, give them a sense of belonging, and encourage professionalism.
Define Your Identity With Hyvemark
Hyvemark helps you make your mark as a business with beautiful and effective branding. From a memorable logo to an entire brand identity, we create materials that will make it impossible for customers to forget your business and what it does. Explore one of our branding projects for a new startup.