How to Incorporate Colors Into Branding

the color red coke
As a meeting planner, you may be called upon to organize large-scale events presenting an opportunity to educate your audience about your company’s brand. While you may have mastered the messaging, it would also be wise to educate yourself about your brand colors. “Colors are remembered more easily than words or shapes,” notes Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone Color in her book “The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition: Expert Color Information.” “The elegant Tiffany brand font is effective style-wise, but people will remember most frequently the iconic Tiffany blue,” notes Eiseman. “Color is the most important factor in the design of a brand logo, playing an essential role in shaping the consumer’s impression of the brand. The brand’s mission, visions, intentions, and identity are all expressed by color. It becomes a vital part of the brand’s personality,” says Eiseman. Mark Minelli, president and CEO of Minelli, Inc., has devoted the last three decades of his career building a leading brand strategy and design firm in Boston. We asked Minelli, who is a frequent speaker on branding to audiences, including the World Brand Congress, the American Association of Museums and the American Marketing Association, to give insight for corporate planners to think about when using colors in events. He gives six tips to remember when incorporating color into your event:

Get to know your brand colors and culture.

Is your brand strongly associated with a dominant color (i.e., Tiffany)? If so, then it should strongly reflect that color at every public juncture (meetings and events). If not, you may have more flexibility. If this is a smaller formal setting with executives, it may call for a more restrained and elegant use of color. If the event is at a sprawling, noisy convention center, if may call for a more active palette.

Understand cultural underpinnings of color when working in a global market.

If you are working in a global market, be sure to understand the cultural relevancy of colors you select. For example, red is a symbol of wealth, power, love and affection in India. However, in parts of Africa, red is associated with death and mourning, so handing out red business cards would send a disconcerting message.

Orient yourself to your competitor’s brand colors.

Create differentiation. Why is Pepsi blue? Because Coke absolutely owns red. Color can help you stand out from your competitors.

Color is not a one size fits all equation.

Color is relational and will perceived differently based on background, lighting and application. You may need adjust colors across scale and medium so that they all “feel” the same.

Think of working with colors like cooking.

Any good cook knows the delicate balance of adding just the right amount of spices to create the desired flavor. The sample principle of balance applies to working with colors.

Less is more.

The discipline of branding tells us less is almost always more. What you leave out is just as important as what you include. Try to create an emotional mood with color, not decorating with the full rainbow.