Just finished Martin Lindstrom’s most recent book, Buyology (Doubleday, 2008) and I strongly recommend it.

In summation, it’s an account of why we buy what we do, and how marketing and branding have evolved to accommodate. The entire book is worth reading, but a few particular points that jumped out at me were in regards to color. I, of course, have a minimal (but growing) background in art, so these findings were all new to me.

In one study, Mr. Lindstrom conducted a research project with a group of women that were all presented with a Tiffany-blue box. No logo. Nothing inside. Just a blue box. Their heart rates went up by 20%. Wow – that’s strong branding. The Tiffany-blue was instantly identified as being part of a product that stirred strong emotions.

Takeaway number two: In a study of phone book advertising, research proved that ads in color hold consumers’ interest for two seconds or more. Black-and-white counterparts? Less than one second.

And takeaway three: A study by the Seoul International Color Expo discovered that color can increase brand recognition by 80%. That’s a lot.

So my takeaway? Don’t just excuse brand colors as something that needs to be checked off the list when building your brand – and I’m sure you wouldn’t. Establishing your visual system is an essential element in creating a brand. Give it some thought, have others give it some thought and then give it some more thought. Make sure you’re happy with it because you need to live with it for a long time. That’s an essential ingredient of building a lasting brand – consistency.

Thanks for reading. You are reading aren’t you?