Why Women Hate Brown and the Psychology of Colours in Marketing

More often that not, we ignore the psychology of colours in our marketing campaigns, but sometimes, it might pay to know a bit about how colours can actually play a major role in how purchasing decisions are made. According to Hanna McNamara in her book “Niche Marketing for Coaches”, there are 4 main considerations when we want to consider including colours in our campaigns.

The Psychology of Colours in Marketing

(1) Culture: Think about what colours mean in different cultures. In the western world white is seen as a clean, fresh colour – but in China it is the colour of death.

(2) Considered purchase vs impulse buy: If you are trying to encourage people to buy on impulse, then consider red, orange, black or blue. If you want to attract people who plan ahead, go for colours like pink, light blue, or navy.

(3) Status: Consider the status of your target clients – bright colours can appeal to people who are from a lower income, whereas the people who are in higher income brackets tend to use more classic and subtle colours like black and grey.

(4) Geography: People in cold countries prefer neutral colours, but residents of hot climates such as Latin America and Africa, prefer brighter and stronger colours.

Which Colour Is Suitable for Your Business?

And how does each colour speaks to the consumer? Here’s a summary:

Red: Energy, vigorous, speed, danger and excitement. Often used in sales or offers and promotions.
Blue: Trust, credibility and reliability, Safe and secure, calming, clean, focused, medical, professional, judicial, power, business-like. Suitable for medical, scientific, utilities, government, health care, high-tech, recruitment, tradesmen, legal, information technology, dental and corporate sectors.
Yellow: A colour that signifies optimism, warmth, cheerfulness, stimulating and happiness, but it could also represent the colour of fear and betrayal.
Orange: A warm and vibrant colour which encourages impulse purchase and create a call-to-action to subscribe, buy or sign up.
Green: Calm, confident, fresh, cool, nature, organic, nurturing, instructional, education, adventurous, ecological, growth and hope. But it can also be associated with illness and superstition. Best colour for medicine, science, government, recruitment, ecological, tourism and human resources.
Purple: Royalty, spirituality and dignity. Suitable for beauty and anti-aging products.
Pink: Soft and nurturing. Romantic and dreamy. Always used to market to females.
White: Purity, cleanliness. Death in Asia.
Black: Sophisticated, strength, precise, professional, accuracy, up-market, powerful, wealthy – especially when used with gold and silver. Can symbolize death and the occult for some countries and industries. This colour is best for construction, corporate, oil, financial, fashion, manufacturing, cosmetics, mining, marketing and tradesmen.
Gold & Silver: Prestige. Silver can be used to give something more of a scientific association.

Here is a very detailed infographic by KISSmetrics to show how colours affect our purchases. In general, women love blue, purple and green, but hate orange, brown and gray because women tend to adore brighter colours. And if you are targeting men, they love blue, green and black, colours that are deemed more mature and manly, but hate brown, orange and purple.

However, it is hard to also make generalizations from the above, as individual consumer might react differently to different colours due to their own likes and dislikes. Use the colours and test for yourself, and you might just find out what works best for your marketing campaigns.

Contact us for a chat using the form below – we’ll be able to offer some tips on how to use colours to increase your revenue.


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