Personal Branding For Dummies
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Color sends a powerful message and is key to representing your personal brand. Your brand color is the most important element of your visual brand identity. People remember color because it stirs up emotions. Therefore, you want to choose colors that best represent your personality and your brand.

Color in the corporate world

Corporate brands rely heavily on color. Consider an example that’s close at hand: The For Dummies books are consistently yellow and black. These books are references that are both friendly and smart.

They’re marketed to people looking to figure something out by themselves — people you might label independent. Yellow is associated with independence and is, therefore, the perfect color for a For Dummies book.

A 2011 study by PPG focused on consumer opinions regarding the importance of color as it relates to new car purchases. Here’s what the study found:

  • Of automotive consumers, 48 percent who responded said they generally choose products based on color.

  • Of automotive consumers, 77 percent said exterior color was a factor in their automotive purchase decision.

  • About 31 percent of the automotive consumers said they are willing to pay extra for a vehicle that expresses their personality through color.

A similar study by The Color Marketing Group shows that

  • Color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

  • Color improves readership as much as 40 percent.

  • Color accelerates learning from 55 to 78 percent.

  • Color increases comprehension by 73 percent.

  • Color ads are read up to 42 percent more than similar ads in black and white.

  • Color can be up to 85 percent of the reason people decide to buy.

Choose colors that suit you

You are a brand, and you need color recognition as well. Your color choices for your marketing materials may or may not reflect your personal favorites. If you’re drawn to a particular color, that’s a good place to start when considering options for your brand materials. However, you need to know that colors have meanings and make bold statements. You must consider those meanings and statements before you can determine that your favorite color will be your customers’ favorite as well.

When choosing a brand color, also be sure to look at what colors your competitors are using. If everyone in your industry uses blue, use another color so that you stand out and are differentiated from others in your industry.

Not everyone has an eye for color. If you’re certain that you don’t, ask a friend for help making your selections or — better yet — invest in the services of a professional designer. Like your logo, your color selections should remain the same (or at least similar) through the life of your personal brand. Isn’t it worth the up-front expense to make sure that you get those choices right the first time?

Consider the meanings of colors

When considering which colors best represent your personal brand attributes, you may want to take a look at the Reach Communications video found at this website: What Color is Your Personal Brand? This site gives you a basic overview of the color meanings. Then, consider these associations:

  • Blue: Intelligence, wisdom, integrity, leadership, authority, truth, peace, loyalty, reliability, confidence, hope, clarity, communication, imagination

  • Green: Growth, rebirth, nature, optimism, spring, change, fertility, relaxation, youth, luck, healing, environment, prosperity, safety

  • Yellow: Sunshine, joy, warmth, happiness, caution, warning, vision, intellect, creativity, light, self-motivation, independence

  • Orange: Energy, optimism, enthusiasm, determination, encouragement, humor, informality, success, competition, force, productivity, strength, vitality with endurance

  • Red: Power, attention, love, activity, potency, energy, desire, action, passion, determination, courage, vitality, motivation, playfulness, enthusiasm

  • Purple: Royalty, ambition, wealth, competition, mystery, spirituality, mysticism, inspiration, magic, dignity, luxury, personal power, self-worth

  • Brown: Solid, grounded, earthy, orderly, plain, not luxurious

  • Pink: Love, warmth, friendship, children, affection, femininity, softness

  • Black: Protective, strong, luxurious

  • Gold: Riches, wealth, fame, the sun

  • Silver: Mystery, intuition, the moon

  • Gray: Elegant, classic, well-established

  • White: Purity, cleanliness, spirituality, openness, truth, refinement

Use your color(s) everywhere

Applying your brand color(s) consistently will help others recognize and associate materials with you. You can brand materials that you use every day with your personal color(s). Possibilities include

  • Your clothing and/or accessories

  • Stationery

  • Business cards

  • File folders

  • Cellphone case

  • Coffee mugs or giveaway items

  • Your office walls

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