why colour is the most powerful tool in branding

Colour is pretty important for a brand. To 'own' a colour within a market is the holy grail of branding.

Think Coca-Cola's red, McDonald's gold or Amazon's orange they all own that colour within their field. But just how important is colour to a brand and how does it compare to the shape of the logo when looking at recall?

American website signs.com recently conducted some fascinating research on this idea.

They asked over 150 people to draw the 10 famous logos below from memory, as accurately as they could.

The results of the Burger King logo
Based on more than 1,500 drawings created over a period of 80 hours, the results reveal that, far from being stamped perfectly in our collective memory, these ubiquitous emblems largely exist as fuzzy visions in our mind's eye.

When a brand’s logo changes over time, some people tend to combine old and new versions. Similarly, we sometimes slip up when advertising utilises strong symbols not used in the logo (e.g., the Burger King crown).

Overall, 16% of people drew near perfect logos, and 37% were good but not perfect. As we would expect, the more complex the logo, the less likely people are to remember it in full.

But, the results show that most people are very good at recalling brand colours – around 80% selected the correct palettes for their drawings, while shapes and elements in logos are harder to recall.

Other interesting findings:
  • Men and women performed equally well (or poorly), regardless of the logo in question
  • On average, younger people drew more accurate logos than older people. 
  • 70% of our participants overrated the accuracy of their attempts. The average accuracy of the drawings as judged by the participants was 5.3 out of 10, while the average rating of the same drawings by our independent judges was 3.8.
So next time you're working on a branding project, remember to do your research and work out how you can maximise the effect of colour and try to 'own' it in the consumer's eye.

Check out the full study here https://www.signs.com/branded-in-memory/