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“I’m so mad, I’m seeing red.” “He’ll never make the leap, he’s totally yellow.” “I wish the sun would come out, I’m feeling blue.” Our brains are programmed to make many specific associations to color, so much so, we have woven those associations into our everyday language.

Because of the powerful effect color has on our psyches, it is one of the best tools we have to strengthen our brand impact. You can use those innate associations to your advantage, but first you must be clear about what kind of associations you want your audience to make with you and your business. Once you are clear about your desired impact,  you can choose colors that  resonate with the core message of your brand to engage your ideal clients. Pretty cool!

The spectrum of possibilities is endless, so how are you going to choose the palette that’s just right for your brand?

Here are a few tips…

1. Start with your own preferences. What colors do you like? Why do you like them? What do they mean or represent to you personally? Think back to the ice-cream shop. Maybe there is a personal story behind a certain color you are considering. This may give you a very unique outcome to your brand image. Be careful though, choosing a brand color with your personal preference as the only criteria could be a mistake! Read on…

2. Consider your audience. You may love hot pink, but if your audience is male, hot pink probably won’t be the best match. Likewise, you may love soft blue, but if your audience is children, that shade probably won’t be strong enough. On the other hand, we often choose to work with people who are similar to us. If you love hot pink because you are a hip, cool, strong woman and that is also your target audience, then hot pink might be an excellent choice.

3. Pay attention to your industry. Generally speaking, the more conservative the industry, the more traditional the colors. If you look at banking websites, you don’t see a lot of hot pink! They use traditional colors like blue or red. Blue is a color that creates calm and confidence which are feelings you want to instill in your audience if you expect them to trust you with their money.

4. Forget about industry norms! Contrary to the tip I just gave, sometimes bucking the trend can be very effective. As a brand you want to stand out. What better way than to zig when everyone else is zagging? If everyone in your industry tends to use soft colors, a bold pop of orange or yellow could really set you apart.

5. Leverage your female advantage. Sorry guys, but girls tend to have way more options for color in branding. If you are a woman in business, take advantage and do something with flare! It’s much more acceptable to have flourishes and swirls if you are a female brand. Those extra details also help set you apart. Be creative with your color combinations.

6. Adopt a signature color. If you do have a favorite brand color, go whole hog. You can have fun with this. Say your favorite color is orange. You could paint a wall in your office orange, get a bright orange parka for winter, drive an orange VW bug, wear orange-rimmed reading glasses. You name it. When you embrace a signature color, people start to associate you with that color which is a very good thing for brand recognition.

7. BE CONSISTENT. This is a biggie. Whatever colors you do choose for your brand, be consistent. Don’t continually fuss with the shades or the color combinations. You will confuse and loose people. There is a reason we associate red with stop. We are conditioned to do so. If those octagonal signs were sometimes green and at other times blue, they would not be as effective.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when choosing colors for your brand.The best way for you to approach choosing the most appropriate colors to represent your brand is to think very carefully about what it is you are trying to communicate and what you would like your audience to feel when they interact with your brand. If you start with those two questions, you will have a much better chance of finding the pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow.

I love hearing from you!

What is your biggest challenge when thinking about colors for your brand?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:

Heather Poduska is a Reach certified personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach who helps women entrepreneurs create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.
To learn even more about Heather and the Clear Voice Branding System click the link. www.clearvoicebranding.com