Color Psychology: How You Can Boost Sales and Morale With the Right Hues

Business.com / Employees / Last Modified: December 15, 2017
Image credit: Markovka/Shutterstock

When choosing the colors that people will associate with your business, don't rely on your personal preference. Use these psychological findings to guide you.

One of the most common questions we are asked as children is, "What is your favorite color?" Often, by the time we are adults, our favorite color is no longer the same.

This is because our life experiences can alter our perception of specific colors. Color selection should consider much more than just personal preference. Just as words elicit different emotions or sentiments, so do colors.

The study of color psychology

Much scientific research has been devoted to how colors can affect people's moods. There is an entire field dedicated to the study of color psychology, and the way humans interact with color has been tested now for hundreds of years. Research has shown that 93 percent of customers' purchasing decisions are based on visuals, and 85 percent of those consumers cite color as the primary visual reason for making a purchase.

Given this wealth of data, it is essential that your business does not make color branding decisions based on preference alone. Whether you are selecting a color for your new logo, designing a specific advertising campaign, or ordering employee shirts and uniforms, consider using the findings of color psychology studies to your benefit. These studies show color can severely impact a business's success and customers' purchasing decisions.

Here we will explore how color can boost both sales and employee morale.

How color impacts sales

When a potential customer first visits your website or walks into your store, they are processing the visual cues you are subconsciously presenting to them. This leads to an immediate judgment of your company and products for their first impression.

Color accounts for up to 90 percent of this first impression, according to color psychologists. Additionally, more than half of consumers say they will not return to a store if they do not like its aesthetic. You must pay careful attention to color in branding your business, as it is a vital factor in purchasing decisions on both a conscious and subconscious level. The right color selection could even boost sales.

Studies show that colorful logos, shirts and advertisements are recognized 42 times more than an equivalent black-and-white design. So, if selecting employee shirts, colorful tie-dye shirts are more likely to elicit a positive response than a plain white tee.

Certain colors are also better used for specific goals, as each brings out different feelings. For example, consider how red is frequently used in "for sale" signage or call-to-action buttons in email marketing campaigns. Red is known to stimulate the body and mind and is often a cue for danger.

Businesses capitalize on this psychologically aggressive effect and use red as a signal for customers to take action. When viewing the color red, customers also tend to react more fervently and quickly than usual.

How color improves employee morale

Studies have also shown colors not only impact our decisions but our moods. The color pink, for example, has a calming effect. It is thought to ease tension in muscles, slow endocrine systems and provide an overall feeling of relaxation. Companies such as Pepto-Bismol utilize the mood-changing effect of the color pink.

The effect of colors on our moods can also impact our performance and morale. Employees favor colors such as blue, pink or green that have calming, trusting effects on their psyche. Bright, warm colors such as yellow and orange help increase confidence in the workplace, further boosting morale.

Tread carefully with an overuse of red in the workplace. While it's an excellent color to increase sales, it is considered an aggressive color for employee uniforms, unless you are in an industry that promotes love and relationships, such as the greeting card business. Studies have found red can decrease performance and even lead to conflicts in the workplace.

Selecting the right colors

In selecting the colors to improve your sales or boost employee morale, you first must answer a series of questions. Consider your target audience and their demographics in age, gender and habits. Think about your ideal customer or employee and their needs. Reflect on how you would like to make your customer or employee feel, considering that color preferences may vary by demographics and industry.

A study of the world's 100 top-performing companies revealed that the majority of companies use blue in their branding and employee uniforms. In terms of sales, blue shades attract a wide range of shoppers, from impulse buyers to those on a budget.

The color blue suggests trustworthiness and credibility; for employees, this translates to accountability and transparency. These are feelings known to boost morale.

Blue is frequently used for companies in the service industry, particularly the finance field. According to a study in the Journal of Business Research, customers returned to stores with blue color schemes 15 percent more than to those with orange color schemes.

Green is another frequently used color to improve sales and employee morale. This color evokes feelings related to health and wealth and is excellent for companies in the medical, financial, retail or food industries. Green also symbolizes nature and brings to mind grass, trees and shrubbery. This helps boost sales and morale for companies that emphasize sustainability practices.

Even black can positively impact a company's sales or culture. This refined, more contemporary color is well suited for the fashion or interior design industries. Particularly in locales like New York City, fashionable consumers value black for its slimming effect, and employees value its perception of maturity. A sense of completeness is also associated with the color, which can boost morale.

Colors such as gold, silver and purple are frequently used in exclusive and luxury industries. These colors imply a sense of opulence. Purple connotes royalty and can boost confidence among employees in the workforce. It's a particularly polarizing color too, though, and gender plays a factor in this. Women often cite purple as one of their favorite colors, while men most often list it as one of their least favorite. Slight gender differences play a role in color psychology, so keep this in mind if your target demographic favors one gender.

Your logo, employee uniforms, signage and more are all part of your brand. Once you've determined the needs of your customers and employees based on their demographics, your industry and your company's intended effect, you can begin to use these findings in color psychology to build your brand.

 

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