Are you noticing there’s a lot of competition in your market? This is common for most industries nowadays. In addition to high competition, every business is screaming for attention; they all want to stand out. But how do you do that?
Do you stand out through your marketing messages and campaigns? Your products? How about the colors you use? Didn’t expect that last one, did you? The colors in your digital and print assets and your personal style can help you stand out from the crowd.
But before you choose the most outlandish colors that nobody else in your market is using, you need to understand color psychology. You also must realize that standing out can sometimes be a bad thing. In today’s Color Concept article, we’ll dive into examples of both, with specific tips for standing out in a good way.
Standing out has different connotations, so, first, let’s get clear on what ‘standing out’ means. You want to stand out and be noticed, but you don’t always want to stand apart. Some companies intentionally choose colors that are vastly different than what most other companies are doing in their market. This can help them stand apart and stand out. But that attention may not always be good. At times it makes the company look like they don’t align with the marketplace. As if they’re out of sync, or even outdated.
Here are a few examples of successful branding with stand-out colors
1. Google – Tech companies usually have clean, minimalist type logos with just one or two colors. Not google. Their approach to color is, well, bright, and bold.
Today, more than 70% of worldwide online search engine requests go through Google. And internet search is only a fraction of what they do. Google offers over 50 internet products and services. There’s no question that the company is a success today. But Google is a young company.
When they began – in 1998 – although the tech market wasn’t new, Google’s specific services were a novelty. People weren’t yet accustomed to using search engines. This newness and novelty factor allowed Google to be more daring with their color scheme. Because the market was brand new, it was open wide. This gave more leeway for daring branding, such as the multi-colored scheme Google chose.
2. Caterpillar– They’re known for their iconic yellow. It’s their color. So much so that you cannot use the color in your brand. The company has trademarked that specific color under their brand.
And they’ve made this a cohesive part of their business. They even established Yellowmark TM, a line of repair and replacement parts.
Their trademark yellow has now become synonymous with their business. They’ve used the color strategically to distinguish themselves in the marketplace.
Let’s get practical with an example, shall we?
Examples of color used in a detrimental way
NBC Universal’s rebrand from the logo with the peacock, the bold, standout purple block logo.
While the bold rebranded logo does standout and certainly in the media marketplace, it lacks the character the prior logo had.
It wasn’t long before NBC made the switch back to the prior logo. But in the end, the failed logo change was a significant waste of energy and resources.
Before the rebrand:
After the rebrand:
You can see the color difference in the two logos. The second one is bold and stands out but is a radical shift from their previous brand. The color scheme is vastly different and doesn’t have the same character as before.
Using color to distinguish vs using color to be different
How do you distinguish yourself?
You distinguish yourself in the market with consistent marketing messages, visible assets, product quality. All of this can be done with a color that fits with your market. You don’t have to choose colors that look different from your competitors for you to be distinguishable.
Your customers will come to distinguish you based on other factors. Color is not the only thing that can help you stand apart from the rest.
As highlighted above, the wrong color choice can be detrimental to your branding. In 2001 the United Kingdom’s Royal Mail implemented a disastrous rebrand campaign that centered around a complete change of logo and colors. It was a costly mistake. But like all branding failures, it gives us guidance on what not to do. It also re-emphasizes the importance of color selection and how the wrong choices can be devastating for a business.
Think carefully before choosing colors just based on how much they make you stand out in your market. You want to be distinguishable, but you don’t want to choose colors just to be different from your competitors. Doing so can backfire and be costly and a waste of time.The psychology of color in branding is powerful. Understand the psychology, your market, and your clients, and you can harness color to reflect a cohesive brand.