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When it comes to personal branding, the right colors have the power to attract customers and opportunities, while the wrong colors can do the exact opposite. So, what’s the secret to choosing brand colors that lead you to the C-suite and land bigger deals?
The first step to figuring this out is understanding the psychology of color. Color has the power to influence human behavior. It can be used to arouse a desired mood or emotion in someone and elicit a desired response (Staff Masterclass, 2022).
Colors are divided into several categories, the most common being primary and secondary colors. The primary colors are defined as colors from which all other colors can be made by mixing. The primary colors are:
Secondary colors are made by mixing two primary colors, the most common being:
Related: Trust Science to Help You Build Your Personal Brand
The psychology of color
Each color can vary in intensity, also known as chroma (think electric blue vs. navy blue) and its value (light or dark). Here’s a quick reference guide:
Red is passionate and energetic. Brands that use red in their branding try to convey excitement, vibrancy and action.
Blue is calming and reliable. This is why many financial and health services use blue in their branding.
Yellow is cheerful and optimistic — perfect for brands that want to convey happiness and positivity.
Vegetable is refreshing and natural, making it a great choice for eco-friendly and health-oriented brands.
Orange is energetic and playful and is often used by brands targeting a younger audience.
Purple is associated with royalty, luxury and mystery. If you want to convey a sense of sophistication and elegance in your branding, purple is the way to go.
Black, white and brown are considered neutral colors, but they also evoke emotions:
Black is powerful and mysterious.
White is pure, sophisticated and simple.
Brown is a mixture of all primary colors and is natural, earthy and strong.
When it comes to personal branding, you want your brand colors to represent who you are, and authenticity is everything. Choosing the color of your brand is not a game of hoping for the best. It’s a scientific approach that starts with clarifying what you want to achieve and how you want to be seen by your ideal audience.
For example, let’s say you are a nursing nurse who wants to harness the power of a personal brand to land an administrative role. In this case, you may be leaning towards choosing colors that convey compassion, excellence and leadership.
Let’s take Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit healthcare organization, as an example. The brand’s logo uses soothing blue to represent ‘loyalty and trust’, while white brings balance and tranquility to the logo. How do you feel when you look at the Kaiser logo? See how this large organization used color to make the brand feel ‘human’?
Related: Infographic: Psychology of Color in Branding
Make it clear how you want to be seen by others
Now that you have an overview of color psychology, it’s time to understand how you want others to see and experience you. What three words do you want people to use when describing you? What colors come to mind when you hear the words fiery, bold and ambitious?
Ask yourself how your industry and/or niche is viewed. Would you expect a doctor in a private practice to use pink and purple in their branding? Another point to consider when thinking about industry standards is: do you want to disrupt the industry or offer a slightly different approach?
Your primary brand color is the color you will use most often. It must demand attention. Visually, it is the star of your show and is used in your logo, website, social media and marketing materials. Your secondary brand colors are the colors you will use less often in your branding. They can accentuate some aspects of your website or make it visually interesting.
Related: Understanding the Power of Design and Branding
Consistency is key
Now that you know the psychology behind choosing the right colors for your brand, it’s essential to use your colors consistently. You use your brand colors on your website and marketing materials.
Another area where your brand colors should be consistent is your clothing. So many leaders and entrepreneurs miss the point in showing brand presence in the way they dress. If you plan on speaking in public, attending events or networking, wear your brand colors! By appearing ‘on brand’ you stand out in a crowd and make yourself unforgettable.
If career advancement is your goal, consider using your brand colors in your email signature, on social media, and anywhere else you appear. To stay consistent, you also need to know the hexadecimal codes of your brand’s color.
What is a hexadecimal code?
A hexadecimal code is a six-digit combination of numbers and letters to specify a color. Hex codes begin with a pound sign (#) and are followed by six characters, three numbers, and three letters. For example, the hexadecimal code for electric blue is #00FFFF.
Hex codes are essential for personal branding as they ensure that your brand colors are consistent across all platforms. When you use hexadecimal codes, you can rest assured that the blue in your logo will match the blue on your website, and the green in your social media posts will match the green in your email signature.
A best practice is to create a guide that outlines your branding standards, including your color palette, words that describe your brand, etc. Known as a brand guide, this document can also include logos, fonts, and even the filters you use on social media. As your brand grows, everyone on your team knows the standards and can easily maintain the same level of consistency.
Color is an essential tool that should not be overlooked for personal branding. By understanding the psychology of color and choosing colors that align with your goals and values, you can create a strong and recognizable personal brand.