5 tips to choosing your brand colours

5 tips to choosing your brand colours

“Colour is a power that directly affects the soul”
– Wassily Kandinsky

Think of a famous logo.

  • What colour is it?
  • Does that colour evoke any feelings on your part?
  • Is it appropriate to the brand?
  • Does it make you want to buy?

When we think of a company’s branding one of our first impressions is of colour: it’s easily recognised, easily remembered, and creates a ‘feeling’ that goes with that company.

Cadbury’s Chocolate was established in the Victorian era and purple was used as a regal and venerable tribute to the Queen. It says “our chocolate is high quality; our chocolate is a cut above”. So successful is Cadbury’s branding, that they trademarked their own Pantone colour in 2008.

 Cadbury logo 

Apples are usually green or red, but Apple inventor Steve Jobs chose white for his branding, as it invoked a sense of cleanliness, precision and class. Other computer manufacturers of the time stuck with functional greys, but Jobs was looking past pure function: he wanted Apple to be a statement brand, and he certainly got his wish.

 Apple logo

 Then there’s McDonalds: the red was chosen because red is thought to stimulate appetite (people on diets are recommended to avoid red in their kitchens and on crockery!), while yellow is happy, sunny and upbeat; representing a ‘coming together’ of family and friends.

mcdonalds logo

These are not just random jabs at a colour wheel, these are carefully thought our palettes chosen with surgical precision and design to sell product.

Research has time and again shown the importance of colour, with 85% of consumers citing colour as the biggest motivator when choosing a particular product, and a massive 60% saying that they will decide whether or not they’re attracted to a message based on colour alone.

How to choose your brand colours

So how do you go about choosing the right colour palette for your business?

You need to start by understanding the basics about colour psychology, and how this relates to you and your company, and I’ve put together 5 top tips for helping you make the right choice:

#1: Understand colour psychology

‘Colour psychology’ refers to the ways in which colour can affect, impact & influence human behaviour. Understanding colour psychology will help you to build a strong, memorable and relatable brand.

So let’s start with common colour associations:

Red is associated with danger, excitement, and energy. It’s also known for being the colour of love and passion and, as mentioned earlier, is believed to stimulate appetite.

Pink is feminine and romantic. Different shades, like hot pink, can be youthful and bold, while pale or dusky pink can be calming.

Orange, like its namesake, is fresh and full of vitality. It’s also creative, adventurous, and associated with being cost-effective.

Yellow is optimistic. It’s a colour associated with being playful and happy and can evoke nostalgia and sunshine.

Green is natural, often used to demonstrate sustainability. But it can also align with prestige and wealth.

Blue is trustworthy and reliable. It’s calming but also often associated with depression.

Purple is royalty and majesty. It can be spiritual and mysterious. In Ancient Greece purple was a difficult and expensive colour to create and was therefore used only for the wealthiest of people – this reputation remains.

Brown is down-to-earth and honest, often used for organic wholesome products.

White is pure. It conveys simplicity and innocence, as well as cleanliness and precision, often with a minimalistic feel.

Black is both sophisticated and elegant. It can be formal and luxurious, but also sorrowful.

Multicolour is united or open to anything. It’s great for capturing the spirit of diversity.

#2: Define your brand’s essence

To do this you must ask yourself:

  • What is my brand about?
  • What does my brand stand for?
  • Who am I trying to attract?
  • What are the goals of my brand? (for example, do you want your customers to be more informed or do you want to excite and inspire them through the products you sell?)
  • How do I want my customers to feel? (empowered, supported, confident?)
  • What is my brand’s personality? (serious, quirky, intelligent, fun, inspirational?)

Once you have figured out how you want your brand to be perceived by your customers, and what your brand’s essence is then it’s time to choose a colour palette that supports your business.

For example, if your business sells natural products and cares about the environment then green is a great colour to choose because it represents nature and the natural world. It also has strong associations with tranquillity, good luck and health.

#3: Get inspired!

Once you have a good understanding of the essence and style of your business, then it’s time to get inspired.

Create a board of colour inspiration in Pinterest. There will be certain colours that you will be attracted to and because you have determined what your brand essence is, you will be able to make a judgement as to whether the colours you have picked are right for your business and what you want to convey.

 

Pinterest

 

Once you have created your board then choose 6-8 colours that you feel are right for your brand and that will work together.

There are lots of tools that you can use to help you generate colour palettes. Canva has a really useful tool called The Colour Generator
(https://www.canva.com/colors/color-palette-generator/).

#4: Start selecting colours

Brands often have more than one colour as part of the colour scheme (remember McDonalds’ red and yellow). A business may use one primary colour in the main, but this colour will be supported by an accompanying palette (Samsung’s green Android is instantly recognisable, but its blue font is just as important).

Colours that are chosen in a brand palette must work together harmoniously. If the colours do not sit well together then the brand’s identity could end up looking messy and disjointed.

When you are choosing your brand’s colours, it’s worth creating a primary palette which consists of 1-3 core colours and a secondary palette of 3-5 colours.

Primary colours:

Your brand’s primary colours will be the colours most associated with your brand for example… Tiffany’s signature Blue or Coca Cola’s red.

Secondary colours:

Once you have chosen your primary palette, pick 3-5 secondary colours that complement your primary palette. These colours will either appear next to your main colours or they may appear independently. Different types of secondary palettes may include:

Analogous colours:

These colours sit very close to your primary colour scheme. For example if your main primary colour is green then you can add other cold colours such as blue and purple. Analogous colour schemes are harmonious in their appearance.

Monochromatic colours:

These are various shades and tints of your primary colour. For example, if your primary colour is red then your secondary colours may be light red and dark red. Monochromatic colour schemes can be used to enhance your primary colour.

Contrasting colours:

Contrasting colours are often seated across from each other on the colour wheel, or they are a selection of vibrant tones, such as red, blue and yellow. This colour scheme can help your brand to pop and can give it a contemporary feel.

Neutral colours:

Once you have picked your primary and secondary colour palettes then it’s time to choose your neutral colours. Neutral colours bring a balance to your colour palette and they are often the colours that appear across all your marketing collateral, such as backgrounds and text. Neutral colours often consist of white, cream, beige, grey and black.

It’s worth including both light and dark shades within your colour palette. A strong and distinct colour palette will include a mix of light, medium and dark tones.

Creating both a primary palette and a secondary palette will help to visually strengthen your brand’s look throughout all your design collateral. It will also make it easier to create a more distinct and memorable design. If you just limit yourself to 3 colours, it may make it harder to evolve your look.

Your colour palette is most likely to appear in your logo, website and emails, across your social media platforms, in your advertising, throughout your brand’s stationery and on staff uniforms. In fact your brand colours should appear anywhere where your business shows up so it’s worth taking the time to get it right!

#5: Test, test, test…

Once you have chosen your brand colours, bring them all together and create several different colour combinations to make sure that all the colours complement one another, and convey the right message.

If you are unsure then get outside feedback. Ask a few trusted people to give you feedback on the colours you have chosen. You can then measure their answers against what you were looking to achieve to see if the colours are aligned with your brand’s message and how you want your business to be perceived.

Summary

It’s exciting to start a business (actually it’s pretty exciting no matter how long you’ve been doing it!) and it’s very tempting to choose colours based on your own personal likes.

Whilst it is vital that you like your own colour palette (after all, you’re the one who has to live with it), it’s even more important that the colours you choose express the nature and goals of your company. I may have a fondness for yellow and pink, but I wouldn’t have used those colours if I’d been setting up a funeral home!

Sure, that’s a pretty simplistic example, but it illustrates just how wrong the wrong colours could be, while the century plus of success enjoyed by our old friend Cadbury proves that, with the right colours, the sky’s the limit!

Elevate Your Brand with Colour

If you are in the process of defining your brand’s colour palette and need a little help then download our free ebook which has been designed to:

  • Walk you through the process to defining a distinct colour palette for your brand
  • Break down the colour creation process into manageable chunks
  • Give you a step by step guide to creating your own unique colour palette
  • Help you to define your brand’s essence
  • Give you an insight into colour psychology
  • Create an effective mood board so that you can visualise your creative ideas

Download your FREE ebook ‘Elevate Your Brand with Colour’ and start creating your powerful brand today.

Elevate your brand with colour ebook

Book your complimentary consultation

If you would like to book a complimentary consultation to see how I can help you grow your business then please click here.

Elevate your brand with colour ebook

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Core values: does your business have them?

Core values: does your business have them?

You have values, am I right?

A set of what you might call ‘core’ values that you’ve defined within yourself over the years.

Maybe they revolve around your priorities, your commitment to your family, your ethical standards or your faith.

But what about your business? Does your business have a set of clearly defined core values? Have you ever even thought about them?

Core values are slightly different from standards. You almost certainly have very high standards and it’s a good thing too: businesses rarely survive without them! But your core values are different, they are tangible; they are the rules by which you govern your business and they set you apart from other people. In short, your core values are part of your brand.

Core values
Much like a business strategy or marketing plan, core values need to be defined in order to make your business work. Yes you can bumble along without them for a time. Saying ‘I want to give the best possible service to my customers’ is all very well, but surely that’s the same for every business? Surely it’s a given? It’s like having a marketing plan that simply reads ‘get more customers’ – not very actionable is it?!

Why does it matter?

At the end of the day, your core values are woven into every part of your business. Every decision you make is impacted by them. If your core values are vague then your business’ direction will be vague. If you need to make a major decision within your business, the first thing you think should be ‘is this in line with my core values?’

Your core values are what help you operate with integrity and, if you can do that, then you WILL get more business.

So, what do core values look like?

Ok this probably sounds a bit abstract so far, so let me demonstrate what I mean. If you go to the ABOUT page on the Pink Lemon website you’ll find the following text:

“At Pink Lemon we are passionate, ambitious and results driven.

We believe that creativity and collaboration are the keys to good branding, and that good branding is the key to business success.”

This isn’t just part of the ‘blurb’, this is a carefully thought out summation of everything I want my company to stand for. It’s everything I want from my colleagues, my staff, my clients and, most importantly, myself.

Again you might say ‘well fair enough but aren’t we all passionate? Aren’t we all ambitious? Aren’t we all results driven? What makes this different for you?’

So let’s take these first three terms one at a time and I’ll explain:

Ambitious Passionate – I love what I do, and I’m guessing you do to, but in order to say that you’re truly passionate about something you need to feel it in every fibre of your being. When I was defining my core values I asked friends, family and colleagues to describe me as a professional. My love of design is overwhelming; it’s all encompassing – it’s second only to my love of my family, and that’s why it’s part of my core values.
 Ambitious – for me ambitious doesn’t mean that I want to make lots of money, or make a name for myself. I would like these things of course, but my ambition is so much more than a number or an award: it’s hard wired into every part of me. It’s a solid, actionable 5 year plan. It’s a crystal clear vision of what I want my business to become. It’s choosing my clients as carefully as I choose my staff because my business is a reflection of me.
 Results driven – This is, if you like, my USP. While any business person can claim to be passionate and ambitious these are, I’ll admit, somewhat unquantifiable qualities. However, when it comes to results, I believe that I truly set myself apart from my competition.
I’ve seen far too many Marketeers create a brand, a website, a marketing strategy or something similar, then hand it off to the client and walk away. Marketing takes time; it takes dedication and if you’re not prepared to implement a series of solid markers to measure the success or otherwise of a campaign, then how can you possibly call yourself a success? That’s where I differ. That’s why results are part of my core values.

What are your core values?

core values direction

So how do you define your core values?

Well, for a start, your business’ core values should reflect your own.

People have different priorities when running a business and you need to be honest with yourself about yours.

If you want to help people but know you’re never going to be a millionaire then that’s fine – as long as your business is sustainable, you’ll make it a success. If you want to give your children the financial security you never had, then let your bottom line be your guide and work out how you can benefit your customers without depriving yourself.

Whether you have ambitions beyond your local area or are content to stay small you need to be honest with yourself – your core values will see you right.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of defining your core values, so here are my 3 top tips to get you started:

Tip 1. 

Set aside some time to think about the things that are most important to you. This is important so give it the time it deserves

Tip 2. 

Ask your friends and colleagues to describe you and your business. The chances are you’ll hear a lot of the same words. The vibrations you put out into the world speak to the truth of your motivations

Tip 3. 

Study other businesses.

If there’s a business similar to yours, or a business person you admire, look at their core values and how they manifest those values in the day to day running of their business. Let the people you admire be your inspiration.

Summary

Remember that your core values are at the centre of everything you do in your business. If you have them clearly defined then your business will run more smoothly and decisions will come easier.

Neglect them and you could find your strategy becoming chaotic. However, as important as this exercise is, it’s equally important not to panic! After all you’re not ‘creating’ core values, you already have them whether you recognise them or not. All you’re doing is allowing them to become solid – defining them so that you can define your business and, in doing so, take it to new heights.

10 signs that it may be time for a rebrand

10 signs that it may be time for a rebrand

To brand or not to brand, that is the question…

If you’ve been in business for a while; the chances are you’ve developed a brand. Good – that’s the first step to business success.

However, when was the last time you really took a good look at your branding? You’re probably pretty comfortable with it, but therein lies the danger – comfort isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Even global brands need a refresh sometimes; just look at Apple: from fussy pencil, to glorious rainbow, to simple monochrome, to stylish silver, Apple is constantly tweaking its brand in line with the times and it keeps it fresh. That’s the beauty of branding: you don’t have to change it completely to keep it up to date. Apple will always be instantly recognisable, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay stuck in the past!

Apple logos
What if it goes wrong?

Ok so rebranding doesn’t always go smoothly – do you remember when Coco Pops changed its name to Choco Krispies in 1999? Don’t worry if you don’t, the public outcry was so great that it quickly reverted to the original branding.

What about the disastrous rebranding undertaken by clothing giant The Gap in 2010? The company went from a globally recognised logo to something so bland and unrecognisable that Execs ended up appealing to the public for help with the redesign (leading some to speculate that it was all just a clever, albeit expensive, publicity stunt).Finally, talk to a professional designer. Rebranding is not something that can be done in 5 minutes on a smart phone, it takes time, skill and experience, and it’s too important to get wrong.

Remember: all brands evolve over time and rebranding doesn’t necessarily mean changing everything completely. Successful rebranding is about evolution not revolution, so don’t be afraid to up your game!

Gap logo
So should you bother?

When you’ve got a thriving company, rebranding can fall pretty low down your list of priorities, and concerns about the cost and possible negative impact of any changes can make you wary of taking the plunge. However, you need to remember the old saying “if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling back” Brands that never change look dated rather than reliable and will soon start to lose customers (or, at the very least, not gain any new ones).

So how do you know if you need a rebrand? 

Take a look at the check-list below and if any of these apply to you then it might be time for a change:

  1. Your brand no longer represents your business’ vision
  2. There’s a disconnect between your business and your target audience
  3. You blend in too much with your competition
  4. Your brand message is too confusing
  5. You want to change perception of your brand
  6. There’s negativity associated with your current branding
  7. You’ve experienced rapid growth and have outgrown your current branding
  8. You want to target a new demographic/audience
  9. The market has changed and your business no longer seems relevant
  10. You want to boost your profits
What’s next?

Start by stepping back and looking at your brand objectively. You may love your old logo but is sentimentality clouding your judgement?

Next, ask friends, colleagues and customers – maybe even create a survey – to gauge public opinion. If the majority agree that it’s time for a refresh then go for it. Finally, talk to a professional designer. Rebranding is not something that can be done in 5 minutes on a smartphone, it takes time, skill and experience, and it’s too important to get wrong.

Remember: all brands evolve over time and rebranding doesn’t necessarily mean changing everything completely. Sometimes only tweaks are needed but when done right, those tweaks can make a fundamental difference to how a business’s identity looks.

Your brand is an investment and investments require commitment.

Successful rebranding is about evolution not revolution, so don’t be afraid to up your game!

If you would like to discuss a rebrand or a simply branding audit then get in touch.

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Are your business cards lacking zest?

Are your business cards lacking zest?

Picture the scene, you are at a networking event and you manage to finally get in front of a prospective Client that you have been wanting to talk to for ages…

Picture the scene… you are at a networking event and you manage to finally get in front of a prospective Client that you have been wanting to talk to for ages.

The discussion is going great guns and you feel as though you are really making a great impression, after all they seem really hooked on what you have to say. Suddenly, this said prospective, asks you for a business card; all of a sudden you panic!

You fish around in your bag for what feels like ages and then finally you manage to pull out something that resembles a rather sad looking piece of paper. You go to give it to the prospective client and then… OMG, it flops!

Standing there feeling rather embarrassed, all you can think is ‘why didn’t I just pay for some professional business cards….!”

How many of you have been in this kind of situation, where you feel embarrassed with your business card?

OK, so it might not literally flop but everything from the thinness of the card to the way it has been designed screams ‘DIY’….

So why you should you spend your hard-earned money on business cards?

Well, where do I start…

1. First and foremost, it creates a first impression
First impressions are extremely important, especially when networking and business cards can leave a lasting impression. If you received a flimsy, poorly designed business card, would you be jumping through hoops to do business with that person? I suspect not.

2. They are inexpensive
In terms of your marketing spend for your business, business cards are relatively inexpensive however they can be quite powerful in terms of marketing your business and telling people what you do.

3. Easy to carry around
Business cards are portable and as such, I keep a stack of business cards in my work bag at all times and they go wherever I go as you never know when someone may ask for a business card. They take up very little room which means if the right opportunity arises, I am able to market my business. Boom!

4. They are a direct marketing tool
Your business card is a valuable, effective and direct marketing tool that people can take away with them. It carries your branding and helps to create an impression of your business. It can also showcase your personality as well which can help your business to be memorable.

5. Creates a sense of professionalism
A well-designed business card can enhance credibility and create a sense of professionalism. It also makes you look prepared and ready to do business!

6. May help to generate potential leads
A good quality business card can help to generate leads which of course can turn into revenue. I have personally experienced this so it really does work!

7. Provides a personal touch
Business cards provide a personal touch. We live in such a digital age where everything is pretty much done via our phones or on the computer so it’s actually quite refreshing to exchange something physical. It helps build connections and you are more likely to remember the person who gave you a business card, as opposed to someone who sends their details digitally.

8. Easy to follow up
By giving your business card out, it makes it easy for prospective Clients to follow up with you at a later date. You are more likely to receive a LinkedIn request or a follow-up email, in which case you are then able to develop a business relationship.

9. Makes you referable
A business card can easily and effortlessly be passed on. Only recently I received a business card from a Solicitor who I met whilst networking. Talking to a friend the following day, they were telling me about their personal troubles and asked if I knew a Solicitor who would give them some advice. Of course, I passed over the business card I had been given the day before and before I knew it, I had made a referral. How easy was that?!

Summary

So, if you are in any doubt as to whether business cards are still needed, the short answer is, absolutely!

Why pass up an easy and inexpensive way to showcase your business and brand? It doesn’t mean you can’t still be digital in your approach but I personally believe it is still a key marketing touchpoint of your business.

I am more than happy to give out my business card whenever someone asks, in fact please go ahead and take one…

Pink Lemon business card

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Why you must invest in your business’s branding

Why you must invest in your business’s branding

Let me start by asking you a question… does your branding, website or marketing material convey the passion you have for your business?

If not, why not?

Believe it or not, branding isn’t just about creating a nice-looking logo or even a great looking website (even though both are important), branding is so much more than that. Branding is about creating something that communicates the essence of your business to your audience and that can’t be achieve through just a simple logo.

Don’t get me wrong; logos are of course, an important part of your branding however a logo is quite simply an identity stamp. It helps people to recognise your business but it doesn’t communicate your brand values or your business’s mission.

Branding isn’t also just about a well written strapline; although a strapline does help to tell people what you do, it doesn’t tell the full story.

In truth, a business’s visual identity can simply make or break a business. If it doesn’t connect or resonate with the right audience then it simply won’t lead to revenue. A business’s branding needs to really set the tone of what customers can expect from the services or products which the business provides. It needs to set the professional standards of the business.

What’s the difference between ‘brand’ and ‘branding?

Now I know it can be a little confusing knowing the difference between what a brand is and what branding is so let me explain…

A brand is simply a name given to a product or a service which can then be communicated to an audience. It is the promise that you make to your customers which sets their expectations about your business / service / products.

Branding is the visual styling applied to the brand so that is has an individual look, feel and style that consumers can then identity.

Branding is everything from the colour palette you use, to the way you lay out your website, to when and where you place your company image. Even the font on your letterhead can have a massive impact on your revenue, so when it comes to really effective branding, the devil is in the detail.

Working on your brand messaging, knowing your USP, understanding where you want to take your business and what your business stands for are essential for being able to brand your business effectively.

It isn’t just about looking good, it’s about getting under the hood of your business, understanding what’s important and then applying the right visual styling that will convey the essence of your brand. It’s vital that there is a sense of cohesion and consistency right across your marketing collateral and throughout your entire brand.

3 key considerations

With this is mind, I’m going to provide you with 3 things to think about when it comes to your own branding:

1. How is your business currently being perceived?
How would you want your business to be perceived and do they match? If you are not sure then why not ask a few people in your network that you trust or perhaps a Client that you get on really well with, you may find the answer quite surprising!

2. Are you being consistent?
Are you being consistent across all your media channels? Whether it’s your design styling or the language you use – everything needs to be consistent. Develop a style that is unique to your business, create templates, decide on a tone in which you are going to deliver your message then stick to it. Be consistent.

3. Are you being social?
Social media (if done right) is a very powerful way of delivering your message. Create original content that will engage and resonate your audience – not just about your business but about your industry as well. Build an online presence through your website, blog and social media platforms. This will not only help you to communicate your business’s mission but it will also gain you brand awareness.

Summary

When branding is done right, it can really help to showcase a business’s products, services, ethos and standards. It builds trust and credibility and can also help to position a business in the marketplace. It will also have a positive effect on the company’s revenue both in the short term and long term.

Branding a business is not an easy task and, of course it does take time but it is vital to a business’s success.

If you are still wondering if your branding is worth investing in then please remember that branding really does matters because branding helps to sell and most importantly, it is what makes your business unique.

Please do share your thoughts and let me know what you think.

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What is branding?

What is branding?

The first question people tend to ask about what I do is “what exactly is branding?”

You see, people understand that a business needs a logo or a strapline, but they often think that branding stops there.

Worse still they think that branding consultants are just ‘paid for doing nothing’ – remember when the Post Office changed to Insignia and was then forced to change back at a cost of millions of pounds? That’s what people think of branding.

In truth they simply couldn’t be more wrong. Your brand is your identity and a good brand can make or break your business. It’s not just a logo; it’s a logo that is instantly recognisable. It’s not just a strapline; it’s a strapline that tells people what you do. It’s everything from the colour palette you use, to the way you lay out your website, to when and where you place your company image. Even the font on your letterhead can have a massive impact on your revenue, so when it comes to really effective branding, the devil is in the detail.

What do I do?

First and foremost I learn about your business, from your places of origin and your reasons for starting your company, to your current demographics and your hopes for the future. I research your business thoroughly so that I can understand exactly what you’re trying to communicate and to whom.

Once I know your business inside and out I can work with you to put together a brand. Often that brand will begin with a logo, but sometimes it might be something as simple as picking a single colour! Your complete brand package will include house guidelines on colour, font, images and style, and can even extend to the words you want to use and the places you want to advertise. That means that if you want to communicate with your clients at any point in the future you and your staff will be able to do so, without disrupting your company image.

Why does it matter?

Branding is all about cohesion and consistency. Imagine if you were searching for a McDonald’s and the ‘M’ was in a different font; would you still pull in for lunch? What if the Times newspaper journalists suddenly started using text speak, or Nike changed their tick for a cross?

The most successful brands are instantly recognisable and that’s because they have a style that is purely, and unchangingly their own. That’s what I can do for you: create an all-encompassing brand that helps your company become instantly recognisable for all the right reasons. A brand that showcases your product, your service, your ethos and your standards, and that helps you become firmly established as one of the best in your field.

The fact is that my services can increase your business in both the short and long term.

Branding matters, branding sells and it’s your business’s branding that will ultimately makes you unique.

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