The Impact of Colour on Consumer Buying Decision Essay

Abstract This paper describes a study in the Marketing Psychological Influences on the Buying Decision Process. Especially how colour can make influence in the Consumer Buying Decision.

Colour can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. It is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood and cause psychological reactions. Building on Grice’s (1975)theory of “conventional implicature”, the consumers react favourably to unusual colours or flavour names (e. . , blue haze or Alpine Snow) because they are essentially assuming that the market convey some useful information.

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Specifically, since consumers cannot interpret the literal meaning of the ambiguous label, they focus on what they assume is the pragmatic or underlying meaning or reason for the communication effort. Since consumers believe that packaging or advertising would only provide positive information, they make positive attributions about the brand based on the ambiguous descriptions.

The purpose of this paper was to investigate empirically associations with Psychological effect in Marketing Especially in Consumer Buying Decision. According to Marketing Express psychological influences determines people’s general behaviour and influence their behaviour as consumers. The main psychological influences on consumer behaviour are perception, motives, learning, attitudes, personality, self-concept and lifestyles. ‘Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions’ – Pablo Picasso. Introduction Some consumers have a tendency to be especially involved in the marketplace.

They acquire information about many kinds of products, places to shop, and other facets of the market and they engage in many product related conversations with other consumers to share their knowledge. But the Smart Shopper, it is not that easy to persuade to actually buy something. There is the science behind how the products are organized, labels are written, and sections are ordered to guide the consumers or customers to making a purchase. That’s wealth of tricks based on psychological theories and practices that in the end ‘convert’ the customer/consumer from a regular visitor into the buyer.

One of the most powerful methods to appeal to a potential buyer is applying colour theory to e-commerce. Has it ever occurred to the customer why they feel safer in one store and more energetic in another one? Have the customer noticed that landing on some web page they feel like clicking some button/link and keep browsing the site? While other pages prompt the customer to stay and keep reading? To some extent, this might be the choice of colours for the page elements. Colour is believed to be one of the most powerful elements of design for websites, direct mail, ads, and other marketing materials.

It carries meaning through associations and/or people body physical response. Colour associates can vary from country to country but in Western culture are basically the same. What is colour? In 1666, English scientist Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light passes through a prism, it separates into all of the visible colours. Newton also found that each other is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into other colours. Further experiments demonstrated that light could be combined to form other colours.

For example, red light mixed with yellow light creates an orange colour. Some colours, such as yellow and purple, cancel each other out when mixed and result in a white light. While perceptions of colours are somewhat subjective, there are some colour effects that have universal meaning. Colours in the red area of the colours spectrum are known as warm colours and include red, orange, and yellow. These warm colours evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Colours on the blue side of the spectrum are known as cool and include blue, purple, and green.

These colours are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference. It seems hard to believe that colours have an impact on human body and mind. However, scientists know colours can influence human/people body’s psychology and mental states. In a study by Wohlfarth and Sam, the colour environment of 14 handicapped children was altered resulting in a measurable change in blood pressure and a decrease in aggressive behaviour. The science of colours has been used by market researchers to determine how best to apply this knowledge to influence customers perceptions of business.

The power of colours stimulates the human/people nervous system and evokes emotional states. The colours of humans environment travels through human eyes to brain causing hormonal releases. But forget the science, what does the meaning of colours do for business? The meaning of Colours and Business The meaning of colours varies depending on one’s culture, race, gender, and even age. So, it isn’t just the selection of colours in general but also which colours to use with the target customer. For instance, white is often associated with weddings and evokes the feelings of innocence and holy.

In Eastern cultures, white signifies death. An exporter of white wedding gowns to China would go broke in no time. Colours can be combined to signify meaning to a culture. In the western world, green and red are associated with Christmas, while black and orange represent Halloween. Several large brand name companies are associated with their corporate colours. IBM-Big Blue signifies stability and conservatism. UPS-brown symbolizes longevity and reliability. A colour can be connected to a product like Tide; in the bold orange box, evoking the feeling of vibrancies.

Consider the meaning of the following colours on business marketing : * White: Pure, clean, youthful. It’s a natural colours that can imply purity in fashion and sterilization in the medical profession. * Black: Power, elegant, secretive. The colour of black can target the high-end market or be used in youth marketing to add mystery to the business image * Red: Passion, excitement, danger. Red is the colour of attention causing the blood pressure and heart rate to rise. Use red to inject excitement in the brand. * Orange: Vibrant, energy, play. Add some fun to the company if you want to create a playful environment to the company. Yellow: Happy, warm, alert. Yellow can be an attractor for the business with a relaxed feeling. * Green: Natural, healthy, plentiful. To create a calming effect or growth image choose green. * Purple: Royalty, wise, celebration. Maybe add some purple tones to your look for the premium service business. * Blue: Loyal, peaceful, trustworthy. Blue is the most popular and neutral colour on a global scale. A safe choice for a business building customer loyalty. Consider how these colours are used in the company marketing materials from logos and brochures to business cards and uniforms.

Statement of the problem and Purpose of the Study Advertisers have been quick to capitalize on psychological research into the effects of colour on human emotions and perceptions. The ads that people watch use this knowledge to evoke feelings or memories that make people want the goods on display, but it is not only in advertising that colours are chosen to have a subconscious effect on the viewer. Research has, for instance, led many employers to use a green colour scheme in the workplace, as there is evidence to suggest that this result in less absenteeism through illness.

At the University of Iowa, Hawkeye Coach Hayden Fry had the locker room used by visiting teams painted pink, on the basis of research that showed pink surroundings have the effect of reducing aggression! Whether or not we-or indeed they-are aware of it, visitors to the certain websites, too, will make assumptions about the nature, quality, reliability, and value of our products or services as a result of the colours that used in that website. The purpose of this paper was to investigate empirically associations with Psychological effect in Marketing Especially in Consumer Buying Decision.

According to Marketing Express psychological influences determines people’s general behaviour and influence their behaviour as consumers. The main psychological influences on consumer behaviour are perception, motives, learning, attitudes, personality, self-concept and lifestyles. When the customers are perceiving, this is the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting information inputs to produce meaning. These information inputs are received through the five senses. Perception has a three step process to it.

The first is selective exposure, where the consumer is selecting inputs to be exposed to their awareness and ignoring others. The second is selective distortion. With this a customer change and twist information when it is inconsistent with they own opinion. The last is selective retention. A person would be doing this if they were only remembering information inputs that support their decision. Motives are the second type of psychological influences. Motives are the internal energy force brings the person behaviour to satisfy needs. Patron motives are important for any marketer.

Since these motives influence where a person purchases products on a regular basis, means a new firm must come up with new ideas to get them to shop at their company. Learning is also a psychological influence. Any firm would want the consumer/customer to learn only the best things about the firm. If a consumer or a customer learns new information they are happy with, it can attract more customers to the company. Attitudes are also psychological influences. Since customers have different preferences, their attitude could be beneficial to the company or not.

A way to measure consumer attitudes is through the attitude scale. Ones personality and self concept are also psychological influences in the buying decision process. Once a again, based on the different preferences of the customer may or may not attract them to the company. Lifestyle is the last psychological influence. Lifestyle is an individual pattern of living expressed through their interest and opinions. Literature Review Power of colour in Marketing This chapter reviews current discourse of existing literature into the influence of colours in a consumer context. Associative Learning: Consumer Colour Associations:

According to Grossman & Wisenblit (1999) and funk & Ndubisi (2006), there is no underpinning theory of colour used by marketers when selecting colour schemes for product, packaging, brands or advertisement. Nonetheless, associative learning has been a framework used to explain consumer responses to, and preference for colour in products. Associative learning involve humans subconsciously pairing stimuli from their environment, creating an associative connection in their mind, 9Shrimp 1991 cited in Grossman & Wisenblit 1999). Learnt association tend to elicit conditioned responses when subjected to certain stimuli.

In a marketing sense, this stimulus is often the packaging colour of the product. UK consumer for example, will tend to associate the colour pink in crisp packaging, with the flavour, prawn cocktail. The mechanism used to describe this link between separate stimuli is known as ‘classical conditioning’ by Martin and Levey 1978 Cited in Aslam 2006). Effectively, the theory explains that through continued exposure the colour pink paired with the flavour prawn cocktail, consumers become conditioned to expect crisps packaged in pink, to be flavoured prawn cocktail.

This associative learning theory can help marketers understand how colour associations are developed with products and brands, but explaining consumer colour choices in relation to products or how they will be likely to change their consumer behaviour when faced with changes to normative colour schemes, falls outside its explanatory scope. Walker salt and vinegar crisps can be used as anecdotal example to portray the theory’s limitations as they were originally packaged in blue, before Walkers broke the tradition and switched the package colour to green (effectively a direct colour switch with the flavour cheese and onion).

Notably, despite the colour-flavour association that had already learnt by customer over a number of years, the switch over was a success and sales rose for both flavours, (Delwiche 2004). As demonstrated, an understanding of the associative learning theory cannot allow marketers to effectively predict customer reactions to new colour variants, but it can help to explain why an association exists in the first place. Cultural Colour Associations: This review of colours meaning across cultures serves simply as a touch point for the reader, in terms of what marketing scholars already know about the cultural connotations surrounding a colour.

Similarly to the varying psychological effects stemming from individuals colours, the meaning of individual colours has been shown to be equally inconsistent across cultures (Madden, Hewitt, and Roth 2000; Aslam 2006; Choungourian 1968 Cited in Aslam 2006). By first appreciating the diversity of colours meaning, it would seem logical that an understanding of the alternating connotations surrounding colours be essential for international marketing managers. How much they really know, we don’t know, due to the lack of published research commissioned by companies.

Despite colours apparent importance-echoed by the proceeding scholars-relatively few studies have ever investigated the disparities in colour meaning across cultural boundaries, (Madden et al 2000; Bellizi and Hite 1992; Jacobs et al 1991). It is simply another component of colour that remains under-researched by scholars. Motivational Research: The Psychological Effects of Colour In 1964, Earnest Ditcher – after practising motivation research methods for over twenty years – released his book: Handbook of Consumer Motivations. His research had sought to uncover the subconscious, symbolic meanings of objects.

In this book, Dichter (1964) documented his studies that investigated how the colour of packaging could affect the participant perceptions of the taste. In one study, identical coffee was served next to four containers, all varying in colour. Each colour evoked a different average of strength of taste perceptions among study participants. For example, 73 percent perceived the coffee from the yellow tin to be “too weak”, (Ditcher 1964 It is important to note, that this study was explanatory, and went against the depth techniques Ditcher had become accustomed too.

He was arguably taking a more Cheskin-like approach with his study on colour. Bearing in mind that this type of research was unfamiliar to Ditcher, it might explain why the methodology in the foresaid study is plagued with serious limitations. For example, participants were only provided with four descriptive options: (1) “Too strong flavour or aroma” 92) “Richer flavour or aroma” (3) “Milder flavour or aroma” (4) “Too weak flavour or aroma”. Effectively, participants will have been forced to align their taste perceptions with one of only four options that were all extremes of one another.

Consequently, this would have placed considerable demand characteristics on his samples responses, which draws into question, the reliability and validity of his findings. Ditcher (1964), seemingly unsure of his own study, concluded by explaining that his findings could not be generalized to other foods or even coffee itself, yet continued to assert his belief that people judge taste and aroma, at least to some degree, by the colour of the packaging.

Although it is proven that color have a strong influence on product attitude, perceptions of ad quality and credibility, color affects us in many other ways. Color is an important variable in a wide range of applied and theoretical disciplines and has been argued to produce a variety of sensory, perceptual, cognitive, and affective effects (Middlestadt 1990). At the physiological level, color has been shown to affect arousal (Wilson 1966), leg strength (Pellegrini, Schauss, and Birk 1980), performance of simple psychomotor skills (Naskshian 1964), and perception of time (Smets 1969).

Within the learning theory tradition, there is evidence that color connotations can be conditioned to terms with which they are associated (Harbin and Williams 1966) and that color preferences can be changed with simple learning trials (Peters 1943). Schachtel (1943) argues that responses to color are similar to responses to affect in that they are immediate, direct, and evoked rather than deliberated or mediated. There is evidence that color affects subjects’ reports of moods (Rosenstain 1985; Levy 1980). Furthermore, although there are cultural, developmental and individual differences, colors and color words have been shown to be onsistently associated with mood-tones (Hevner 1935; Odbet, Karwoski, and Ekerson 1942; Wexner 1954; Murray and Deabler 1957; Schaie 1961) and affective meanings (Adam and Osgood 1973). Middlestadt (1990) states that like music, color would be expected to affect how people respond to products. And, like background music, background color does not convey explicit product information but seems to represent affectivity and emotion. Also, while the specific findings about color effects are complex and vary from study to study, red is consistently found to be different from the cool colors of blue and green.

This study does not focus on the effects of color per se but rather on the process by which color produces attitude change. It was shown that an aspect of the exposure situation, the background color had an effect on attitude toward buying a product. Subjects exposed to a pen presented against a blue background with blue ambient color evaluated buying the pen more positively than those exposed to the same pen with a red background and ambient color. Also, it was possible to show that the color affected the respondents’ beliefs about buying the product.

Compared to those in the red condition, those who were exposed to the pen in the blue condition believed more strongly that buying the pen would lead to two positive outcomes, buying a pen which was elegant and which was unique. The data do not prove that a cognitive difference mediated the attitude and behavior effects found here. However, the data demonstrated that subtle differences in how a product is presented, which do not appear to involve product information, do produce differences in beliefs about the product. As mentioned above, most prior research focuses on a limited set of dependent measures, e. . , overall brand attitude or contact attempts. In the research study reported here, I examine the impact of two different background colors (blue and red) on brand personality and brand attribute beliefs, important predictors of brand attitudes. Brand Personality: Conceptualization and Measurement Most basically, brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (J. Aaker 1997, p. 347). Brand personality tends to serve a symbolic or self-expressive function. Researchers have focused on how the personalities of the brand enables a onsumer to express his/her own self, an ideal self or specific dimension of the self through the use of a brand. Brand personality is a key way to differentiate a brand in a product category. It is central driving force of consumer preference and usage, and a common denominator that can be used to market a brand across cultures (Aaker et al. 2001). Consumers are able to imbue brands with human personality traits, often in response to marketing/ advertising efforts aimed at associating specific brands with celebrities (or lesser known endorsers) regarded as possessing the desired set of traits.

Alternatively, brand personalities may develop in response to brand name symbols or logo, adverting style, price, and/or distribution channel – or, color. Such associations tend to be relatively enduring and distinct (J. Aaker 1997). Thus, Apple is considered to be “young”, whereas IBM is considered to be “old”; and Coke is “All American”. With rare exception (J. Aaker 1999; Aaker et al. 2001; Siguaw, Mattila, and Austin 1999), prior research on brand personality has relied on ad hoc scales or the “Big Five” human personality scales (capturing Agreeableness, Extroversion, Conscientiousness, Culture, and Neuroticism; as noted by J.

Aaker [1999] and reviewed by Digman [1990]). In contrast, I utilize Aaker’s (1997) five-dimension theoretical framework, composed of personality traits (i. e. , Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness) determined to be relevant to both human and brand personality and generalizable across product categories. In the interest of completeness, the impact of color on brand personality beliefs and the more traditional attribute-based types of beliefs is tested here. Methodology Overview

The primary purpose of this study is to explore the impact of one type of non-verbal executional cue in print advertisements (e. g. , background color) on brand image/personality and brand preferences (e. g. , brand attitudes). For example, it is expected that viewer’s perceptions of a brand’s image and personality will reflect the image associated with the ad’s background color (e. g. , a brand will be judged to be more vibrant and exciting when it is advertised with a red background versus a more calming blue background). To predict attitudes, the predictors of interest are ‘adequacy-importance’ (AI) product terms (cf.

Wilkie and Pessemier 1973; Ahtola 1975), in which the beliefs about a particular attribute or benefit (e. g. , “‘is pure’ is not at all/very descriptive of Glacier”) are multiplied by the stated importance of that attribute or benefit in brand choice (“not at all important/very important”). [These adequacy-importance (AI) brand belief product terms were used in all hypothesis tests. ] Hypotheses: H1: Background color will impact brand personality and brand attribute beliefs. H2: Brand personality and brand attribute beliefs will impact brand attitudes.

H3: A different set of brand personality and brand attribute beliefs will emerge as significant predictors of brand attitudes for print ads with different colored backgrounds. The first hypothesis used simple independent sample t tests to assess the direct impact of background color on brand personality and brand attribute beliefs. Few significant differences emerged, but examination of the group means revealed that red and blue ads generated some predictable patterns among the belief scales. For example, the brand advertised in the red ad was rated as having a slightly more exciting personality than the blue ads.

The brand in the red ad was also perceived as having a more competent and sophisticated personality than the brand in the blue ad The ruggedness personality scale was also higher for the brand advertised with a red background. On the other hand, blue was found to be more sincere; i. e. , the brand in the blue ad was perceived as having a more sincere personality than the red ads. For attribute-based brand beliefs, purity beliefs were higher for the brand advertised with the red background versus the blue background. Also, respondents perceived that the brand in the red ad was healthier than the brand advertised with the blue background.

Taste beliefs were significantly higher for the brand advertised in the red ad than the brand advertised in the blue Background. The image beliefs toward the brand in the red ad were higher than the image beliefs for the brand in the blue ads. On the other hand, the brand in the blue ad was found to be more relaxing than the brand in the red ads. Also, the brand advertised in the blue background was rated as more refreshing than the brand advertised in the red background. Energy beliefs were also higher for the brand in the blue ad: i. e. the advertisement with the blue background generated more energetic beliefs about the advertised brand than the advertisement with the red background. Lastly, the brand in the blue ad was perceived as cheaper: the low price beliefs were higher than the brand in the red ad To test the notion that viewers’ perceptions of a brand’s image and personality will reflect the image associated with the ad’s background color, it is necessary that the red and blue backgrounds be judged as reflecting associations generally attached to these particular colors. Consistent with the vast body of literature into the “psychology of color” (e. . , Birren 1978), respondents exposed to the ad with a red background rated the color as being more intense and strong than the blue background which was rated by those exposed to that (blue) color as being more peaceful, calming, and relaxing. As desired, the ads were judged to be equivalent in terms of creativity, professionalism, complexity, and in formativeness. Both colors were also rated as being similar in terms of vividness, brightness, and brilliance, which were interpreted as reflecting that the background colors were comparable in terms of print quality. In summary, the color manipulation behaved as intended, i. . , was deemed successful. General Discussion The results from these studies suggest that color names can influence propensity of purchase, and that this effect is related to the specificity (or lack thereof) of the names and people’s underlying assumptions that information in the marketplace should conform to conversational norms. Although past research has examined many aspects of product attributes (e. g. , missing attributes, irrelevant attributes (Carpenter et al. 1994), and number of attributes) and their effects on choices, to the best of our knowledge, no one has examined the effects of how the attribute levels are amed. The proliferation of unusual naming strategies in the marketplace raises many interesting research questions. The studies reported here indicate that such naming strategies can lead to increased preferences for products over more typically named products and that such effects arise due to the ambiguity of the names. Consumers react favorably to unusual color and flavor names because they assume that the marketing messages convey some useful information, leading them to make positive attributions about the product as they try to determine the reason behind the communication.

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