By Eniko DeLisle, Social Media Director, Sales-Link, Inc.
By now, we are all aware of the importance of properly branding our businesses. Most companies settle on a name, a logo and then a tagline, and apply these to all their sales and marketing tools. Brochures and stationary are printed; website and social media banners are posted -all with the same logo and information in the hopes that in time, name and image recognition will result in paying customers.
Business Dictionary.com defines branding as: “The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme,” and identifies its purpose as so: “Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.” (1)
Loyal, repeat customers are after all, what the success of every business depends on. Consumers of soft drinks, for example, are extremely loyal to their favored brands. Many of us remember the John Belushi “No Coke…Pepsi” skit on Saturday Night Live, where loyal Coca Cola customers ask for Coke with their take-out orders.
It is not uncommon for Coca Cola fans to cancel an entire order if the food establishment only offers Pepsi-Cola, and visa-versa. That’s loyalty. And have you noticed how instantly you recognize either cola by their logo? Heck, at this point, we are so familiar with the products that we don’t even need to see the logo. If the cans are turned, can’t you immediately recognize your favorite pop drink by the color of its cans? Of course you can! That’s called “color branding”.
The best example of color branding is Tiffany & Company’s gorgeous trademarked “robin’s egg blue” boxes. This famous New York City-based jewelry business writes on its website about the significance of receiving a gift in one of its coveted boxes: “Crowned with a white ribbon, the Tiffany Blue Box is an international symbol of style and sophistication.” The homepage goes on to say, “Glimpsed on a busy street or resting in the palm of a hand, Tiffany Blue Boxes make hearts beat faster, and epitomize Tiffany’s great heritage of elegance, exclusivity and flawless craftsmanship.” (2) –Color branding at its best!
If you are skeptical about the importance that color plays in the success of your marketing strategy, read the published research results (Journal of Neuroscience, 2016; Nature Neuroscience, 2013; Current Biology, 2015) of neuroscientist Bevil Conway. His research indicates that the power of color as a tool, based on the emotional response it triggers in humans, is often grossly underutilized. “Knowing that humans might … be hardwired for certain hues could be a gateway into understanding the neural properties of emotion,” he says. (3)
In her article, The Impact of Color Marketing, Satyendra Singh (Dept of Administrative Studies, Univ. of Winnipeg, Canada) writes: “People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with…products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. So, prudent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings – positively or negatively – and therefore, to attitude towards certain products.” (4)
So if color is so important to sales and marketing, why is it that so many businesses don’t even notice that for instance, the color green on their brochure is not the same color green on their webpage banner? And if they do notice, they are puzzled. “I ordered forest green for both, so why are they different?” they might ask. Interestingly, many designers are not aware of how to ensure color consistency across all print and web mediums. To be sure, it’s tricky business, and quite technical, but it is extremely important.
Our own designer at Sales-Link Inc. has made it his passion to achieve brand color consistency across mediums for our clients so that they may have a true representation of their brand wherever their logos and headings appear. Our advice to all companies: “Make sure your brand and your color are consistent, so they are easily recognized across all media, and therefore help drive sales and repeat business.” A technical perspective, and a drive for perfection is what drives one’s intense study of color conversion and color management.
It is recommended to start with Pantone colors for branding, choosing three colors, one as your main focal point, and two others to compliment it in your brand’s color scheme. Always start with Pantone’s Color Bridge Set (or the color finder from their website), which is the gold standard for color reference. From there, Pantone’s color conversion chart will guide the user to the proper formula to be used in print advertising to match.
Most people don’t realize the complexities of choosing color and maintaining color consistency. When branding, don’t go from RGB (the red, green & blue which create the color gamut seen on screens, based on pixels) to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow & key ‘black’ which are the inks that laser and inkjet printers use to print color) because an RGB screen can produce more colors than a CMYK printer. Always convert from CMYK to RGB to achieve consistency in color management.
In closing, Pantone offers nearly 2,000 spot colors, hundreds of specialty colors, plus a myriad of tools for graphic designers if you’re up for designing your own business logo and color branding scheme (5). There is also an excellent article: Pantone, Color, and What I Wished I Had Known published by Josh Collinsworth that will help guide you through the process. Or if Hex color codes and conversion charts are not your bag, do yourself a favor and hire Sales-Link and reap the benefits our expertise will lend to your business.