Siirry sisältöön
Marketing Psychology: The Impact of Colour

The use of colours plays a major role as marketers lead customers through the customer experience journey. Colours are skillfully used to resonate with the target audience.


Annika Konttinen

lehtori, matkailuliiketoiminta
Senior Lecturer, tourism business
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Anu Seppänen

lehtori, markkinointi ja viestintä
Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu

Published : 10.11.2022

Do colours make you feel a certan way? Savvy businesses know how to use colours cleverly in marketing and brand building.

Colours combined with stories can, for example, evoke nostalgic or affectionate feelings. There are several choices like red for passion and energy, yellow for inspiration and optimism, blue for trust and peace, green for ecology and health, black for luxury and authority, white for purity and safety.

Catchy colour combinations

What are the colours you associate with one of the world’s leading furniture retailers IKEA? Most probably the answer would be blue and yellow, which are also the colours of the Swedish flag. These distinctive colours are highly visible in IKEA stores all over the world. Coworkers (as they call the staff) are ready to serve in their blue or yellow shirts and customers are offered shopping bags in the same distinctive company colours.

IKEA brand colours stand out. Yellow represents not only Swedish heritage but also optimism and cheerfulness. It brings the sun into mind. Blue, on the other hand, is the colour of the sky and it is associated with open spaces, trustworthiness, inspiration and wisdom. Blue makes customers feel safe and secure at the store.

Personality behind the palette

Visual sense – the ability to see – is considered the strongest of the five senses. Colours evoke feelings and, surprisingly often, emotions drive our decision-making. Brand colours are effective in marketing as they immediately convey meaning without words. Creating an emotional connection with customers also cultivates attachment to the brand.

Signature colours boost brand recognition up to 80 %. Some brands can be recognised just by looking at their colour palette. Colours also reinforce brand personality, a character that is used in brand storytelling.

For example, Dove’s brand personality represents peace, innocence and pureness. These qualities are supported by white and soft blue / pink colours. IKEA, on the other hand, is fun and quirky, but also a caring, down-to-earth and trustworthy friend who loves everyday life and reminds us of the girl or guy next door.

Colour consistency across cultures, channels and the customer journey

It is worth remembering, though, that there are cultural differences with colours. White is associated with death in some cultures, red is the ultimate colour for celebration for the Chinese, green is the colour of envy and black the colour of evil in Vietnam. Companies must know their customers and the channels they operate in.

Besides the things customers value dear, businesses must know how to use colours and words to generate appeal for their products and services – and ultimately seal the deal. It is a pre-planned process, where all the steps are carefully considered, and the path is easy to follow for the customer.

With well selected and controlled touchpoints, the customer is led by the marketer on the customer experience journey. The journey can be enhanced by attractive storytelling and visual elements like images, videos and colours, which will evoke emotions in the customer. The aim is always to make the customer buy the product or service.

It is not only about choosing the brand colours that embrace the brand personality and resonate with the target audience. They must be used consistently across all channels and throughout the customer journey. Just look at the stores, products and online services of the most valuable and trusted brands to see how colours are skillfully used.