What is color marketing and how do I use it to my advantage?

In order to get prospects and leads, many startups in the Netherlands are tempted to address as many potential customers as they can. How? By saying that they can do it all!

Universalist vs. Specialist

On the surface, a can-do-everything company sounds like a dream partner to work with. However, besides the fact that this can of course never be true – particularly as a startup or scale-up – most people actually prefer to work with specialists in their field. So, even if you might be willing to try doing it all, this is still not the best aspect to communicate and market.

Actually, this is good news for Dutch startups, scale-ups, and SMEs, because the things they actually can do, they do so with a specialist’s commitment! Acknowledging this limited capacity and marketing your strong suits effectively is what you do with color marketing.

How does color marketing work?

Every color is associated with a universal basic need that consumers have, and this need largely determines their consumption behavior. So, since every color is associated with certain feelings – the psychology of colors – color marketing is used to exude feelings that satisfy the consumers’ universal basic need. The various colors are roughly associated as follows:

  • Blue: Competence, trust, reliability – Skype, Facebook, Audi
  • Purple: Confidence, wise, creativity – Yahoo, Milka, Hallmark
  • Red: Adventurous, dynamic, risk-taking – Lego, Coca Cola, Red Bull
  • Orange: Friendly, open, accessible – Nickelodeon, Fanta, Penguin books
  • Brown: Caring, intellectual, trustworthy – UPS, M&Ms, Nespresso
  • Yellow: Optimism, happiness, careless – DHL, IMDb, Hertz
  • Green: Peaceful, health, and growth – Lacoste, BP, Starbucks
  • Black: Sophistication, simplicity, powerful – Coco Chanel, Adidas, The New York Times
  • Gray: Balance, calm and neutral – Wikipedia, Apple, Mercedes
  • Pink: Loving, respectful, calm – Barbie, Cosmopolitan, Victoria’s Secret

All these companies above are effective in their color marketing because they are consistent with it. Red Bull, for example, is always looking for an edge (red), Audi reasons from intelligence to deliver technical progress (blue), and Nickelodeon features children-friendly TV (orange).

These brands don’t just use the same colors throughout their marketing communication, they also reaffirm the look and feel that corresponds with it. As a result, associating them with their colors comes natural, and so does the feelings associated with it.

How do you find out what your color is?

In order to get to the color for your company, you have to go back to your core:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What distinguishes you from other companies in your industry?

In answering these questions, you should get a very precise idea of your company identity and why you do what you do. Who your ideal customers are, should naturally follow from that. What is their universal basic need when they’re looking for a product or service like yours? Satisfying this need is what your color (max 2) should play into, and thus what your house style should be. Implement this house style throughout your company: your logo, website, social media, banners, portfolio, brochure, office supplies, outfit, etc.

Make sure that the associations with your colors match with the style of your photos, videos, and other media content, and with the underlying messages that you communicate. Otherwise, you risk confusing potential customers, and a confused customer isn’t going to buy anything!

Niche marketing for more quality leads

So, what is your expertise, and what type of persons or companies can benefit from that? Address your marketing communication to them. And do you have particular aspects within your expertise that you particularly excel at – your speciality? Then make sure to emphasize this as well!

Yes, you are targeting a smaller segment of potential customers – a niche – this way. However, customers in your niche will recognize themselves better in your communication. Accordingly, they will be more likely to actually try your products or reach out for a quotation, a demo, or an appointment. These are the quality leads that you can deliver the best service, which will give you the most impressive portfolio, the best reviews, and even word-of-mouth brand communication – still the most powerful marketing to date!

The interesting thing is that clear communication of your focus also attracts people outside of your niche market. Why? Because you are being clear in your communication! Consumers like companies that are clear, so they know what they can expect for their money (and thus whether their primary universal basic need will be satisfied with your product and/or service)!

So, invest in those leads that you can convince your strong suit because they are worth it every time – now, and for your company’s future!

How do I target my niche market effectively?

Target your niche market in each phase of the customer journey. This way, you are always relevant at the right moment, for the right person – every step of the way.

You can do this by storytelling throughout your regular website content, but even more so by adding in-depth blog articles, instructional videos, podcasts, or vlogs that answer particular questions that your customers might have. The more particular and tailor-made your content is, the better you can address your niche market. And, very welcome too, this type of content will significantly improve the SEO of your website!

Dare to embrace your color!

Embrace the look and feel of your colour – all the way! Make it the basis for your company culture and for all your customer contact moments. This way they’ll be immersed into your company ethos right from the get-go, which will ensure them that their universal basic need is already being cared for.