One of the first things to talk about in this beautiful world is the plethora of colours that we see all around us.
The appreciation for colours is not merely a poet’s imagination but of a larger importance in the commercial sphere
considering why consumers prefer some colours over others and how businesses can market their brand by understanding
consumers’ wisdom. If one had to understand why some consumers would buy a red car and while some others would
prefer a blue one while some others would select white colour, it could be for the layman - merely a matter of
preference, however, it is a science to understand consumers by focusing on the brain and its impact on behaviour
and cognitive functions. That is neuroscience and it is paramount in modern times for businesses to position and
market their brand.
For example, what would happen if the double-arched logo of McDonald’s becomes brown from yellow and the popular Bata logo becomes green from red today? Would consumers still accept them as much as they did yesterday? Will the consumers’ perception change? Will those brands be still able to sell as much? These are certain crucial questions to ponder while we try to understand the marketers’ role in understanding the consumer’s mind in Brand Marketing.
Our brain, which is the apex of our central nervous system with about 1.5 kilograms of complex tissue mass inside our head comprises mainly three sections. The forebrain is responsible for consciousness and reasoning based on what we see and hear. The midbrain is responsible for all our emotions and feelings like trust, love, fear, anger, etc. and also is the place where memories are formed and decisions are made. The third section - the hindbrain is responsible for our subconscious memories, which are also where our old habits are built and stored. Therefore for brand marketing, it is important to understand the brain functions and the impact it has on consumers’ behaviour. Our brain typically wants to feel happy and safe, avoid painful incidences, get recognition, attract the opposite gender, etc and each of these feelings corresponds to certain neurotransmitter hormones such as oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, etc. The optimum level of these neurotransmitter hormones triggers the emotions in the brain and it likes to go for such neurotransmitters that it is looking for. While this can definitely vary from one person to other but most people show a patterned behaviour. These patterns make the brain comfortable and secure. These exact patterns are the “usual patterns” among people who seek such brands with which the pattern is very strongly associated. Our brain also remembers and engages with contrasts which excites attention by breaking a pattern. Contrasts provide options and variety with an increased flow of dopamine. Options and variety keep Brands young and alive and interesting for consumers. Brands to become the more marketable need to be pattern-fitting as well as different from competitors at the same point in time by different from the earlier version. For example, Apple has transformed over the years by being different from the competition and also being different from its earlier versions but following the same pattern-fit of ease-of-use, high-tech iOS and design simplicity for its customers. This fitment has happened by changing over from a colourful logo of the past to an all-white logo to a mirror-effect chrome logo of the present time which reflects the consumer as they are, thereby making it a preferred brand of choice for a growing number of people.
From the way an Indian consumer buys the instant noodle brand Maggi, you can understand that brands are strongly present in the hindbrain based on what they have been perceiving in the front brain over a while. The two most prominent colours in the commercial sphere are Red and Blue. While Red is associated with excitement, energy, action, lust, anger, danger, etc. Blue on the contrary which is mostly used by corporates stands for trust, calmness, depth and maturity. Pepsi as a dominant brand has both colours exciting a concoction of emotions while its larger competitor Coca-Cola is predominantly red with a combination of white representing the purity of thought and peace of mind. Energy drinks brand Red-Bull although called Red has a combination of largely blue and white in its packaging with a hint of yellow which represents youth and so becomes a preferred brand of choice for young consumers. The first car that I bought in my 20s was a Red one and as a mature man, the second car that I bought is a blue one - probably for most it is a matter of one’s preference, but I can self-introspect and understand the evolution of my brain from an excitement and action seeker to a calm and matured one now, hence the preference. Certain more examples to quote concerning Reds the world would be brands such as Virgin, Bata, Netflix, H&M, Canon, Kellogg’s, etc. which represent excitement, energy and action while good examples of Blue would be Tata, IBM, Visa, Dell, Intel, Unilever, etc. which demonstrate trust, calmness, depth and maturity.
There are various factors which determine the right choice of colour for a brand that marketers need to understand to create that perfect brand-market fitment such as the visibility of the brand, the type of product category and possible extensions of the future, the style of product packaging, the selection of target audience and the brand lineage. It is always the right choice to understand the brand marketing objective and then select the colours. Some more examples to quote to substantiate this are: Tropicana uses green colour to portray freshness in their juices, Land Rover uses green colour to signify off-roading in the countryside or for outdoor adventure, Starbucks has green and white signifying positivity, young, fresh and natural taste of coffee, Louis Vuitton uses black colour to signify elegance and luxury, Lacoste uses green and black to signify young and elegant, Cadbury uses deep purple colour to signify royalty of taste and its tribute to Queen Victoria. Our brain typically wants to feel happy and safe, avoid painful incidences, get recognition, attract the opposite gender, etc. and each of these feelings corresponds to certain neurotransmitter hormones. The optimum level of these neurotransmitter hormones triggers the emotions in the brain and it likes to go for such neurotransmitters that it is looking for. Consumers, therefore, prefer certain brands based on the fitment of emotions they get from such brands from their visual perception -largely due to the colours. Understanding colours and the effect they trigger in the consumers’ mind, therefore, is one crucial thing to understand as the neuroscience of Brand Marketing.
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