The Emotion of Color: How Color Impacts Experience

Why even bother to name a color of the year? It shows the power of color over our thoughts, emotions, even our decisions.

Because color is so influential, marketers often use it to help achieve the results they want from experiential marketing and other types of marketing initiatives. Here are four ways color impacts experience.

Color impacts your mood

Research has shown over and over that color can change people’s mental and physical state. According to Pantone, workers in a space painted light blue complained about feeling cold. When it was painted peach, they stopped complaining. Looking at red objects can actually raise a person’s blood pressure, while looking at blue objects can lower it.

An article on the Huffington Post does a nice job of explaining how different colors affect consumers. Here is a brief summary:

  • Red signals danger (think fire and fire trucks) or passion (think of the way the skin blushes after a passionate kiss). It can also make people feel angry.
  • Orange urges people into taking action (that’s why exercise clothing is often orange) and is also thought to make people feel more creative. Orange is a difficult color for people with most skin tones to wear. As a result, orange clothing is likely to bring attention to the wearer.
  • Yellow is a cheerful, sunny color. People associate it with the warmth of the sun and the fun of carefree summer days. Yellow can also remind people of jaundice and other sickness, however, so make sure you have the right shade and use it with caution.
  • Green reminds people of grassy fields and tall trees. It makes them feel calmer, refreshed and more at ease.
  • Blue also calls to mind natural spaces such as sunny skies and warm oceans. It is considered the most relaxing color. Blue also conveys trustworthiness and confidence. That’s why so many professionals wear blue suits.
  • Purple was an extremely hard color to come by in ancient times. The only natural source of purple dye was a small shellfish that was only available in limited areas. As a result, only rich and royal people wore purple. Purple is still associated with richness, both because of its history and the deep nature of the color.
  • Black can convey evil or sophistication, although it’s more commonly associated with the latter. It’s a great color to incorporate into events because it goes so well with all the other colors.

You want consumers visiting your experiential marketing activation to feel good emotionally and physically. Color can help you achieve both of those things.

Color changes perception of space

Marketers can use color to change how people perceive space. Light and warm colors can make a small tent or room seem larger, while dark and cold colors will make the same space seem more confined and threatening. Placing a contrasting color along the edging or trim in a space draws the eye to those areas and can also make a space look bigger. To make a space seem more intimate, use a dark color on the ceiling to make it appear lower. Keep these tricks in mind when designing the space for your experiential marketing event.

Color identifies your brand

I recently saw a cell phone commercial that exemplified this idea. The commercial was for Sprint, and they were describing how much they could cut their competitors’ rates if consumers signed up with them. They gave the names of their competitors in the voiceover, but they never displayed the names. Instead, they represented each competitor with their color. I had no problem connecting blue to AT&T, red to Verizon and pink to T-Mobile.

A brand’s colors are so important to its overall image that they should be reflected in any experiential marketing event the company puts on. Brand ambassadors can dress in the company’s colors, and giveaways can also reflect the company’s hues, but think about other creative ways to work in branded shades.

Can any comment cards or other materials be in one of the company’s colors, with all provided ink pens featuring a corresponding color? (Especially if there’s some high contrast – think black cards with silver pens, or yellow paper with pink ink.) How can you work your brand’s colors into videos or 3D/4D experiences? Even subtle attempts to integrate color can really stick in people’s minds.

Color can mark you as cool or not so cool

Some colors are trendier than others. Some are a sure mark of being out of touch. As you plan your experiential marketing experience, make sure you think about what’s color palates are popular in decorating schemes now and which would seem wildly out of place in our modern era. Then use those colors accordingly.

For example, a bridal company definitely wouldn’t want seafoam green associated with its brand (unless it was trying to be ironic, perhaps). No brand should dress its staff in the harvest gold, avocado green and burnt orange shades that were so popular in the 1970s. Those colors communicate that your company doesn’t keep up with current trends.

On the other hand, if your company doesn’t have a strong association with a color, maybe you want to dress your brand ambassadors in 1980s neon because it’s made such a big comeback in the last few years. Or perhaps you should think about incorporating a recent Pantone Color of the Year into your activations. That way you know you’ll be using a color (or colors) that are on-trend.

However you choose to use color in your experiential marketing activation, let Factory 360 help you find additional ways to make that activation successful. We aren’t green when it comes to experiential marketing; we have over a decade’s worth of experience doing events of all kinds. Our expertise can help you from getting red in the face as you determine the best way to organize and execute your event. Contact us now for some true blue advice about how to make the most of your experiential marketing campaign.