The Psychology of Color and Your Financial Brand
Every financial brand has the ability to influence through the psychology of color and quality of their marketing materials. It follows that the colors you select for your brand have a big impact on the success of your finance or investment business.
Why color is important
You will use your colors and brand throughout your marketing materials, from your business card, letterhead, and envelopes to your brochures, website, packaging, e-mail signature, and professional company attire. Your brand needs to look good in order to help you attract your ideal clients!
This article is about brand colors in financial services and why it pays to invest in your brand.
The sections below are links to each part of this article.
When establishing your brand, you'll need a Brand Consultant to help you create your Value Proposition and a Brand Designer to bring our ideas to life. Here are your options for Brand Designer:
Expect to spend from $500.00 to $2000.00 on your Business Identity logo or mark (not including website development or marketing collateral design). Seek a professional graphic designer with more than ten years experience, because you get what you pay for when it comes to design.
Experienced designers are familiar with how your brand will transfer to other marketing mediums. They understand the psychology of color and how resolution, file format, and colors will affect the printing process. Keep in mind that hiring an experienced designer is an investment in your company and the expense should be amortized over the first few years of business operations.
Your company name, logo, colors, and tagline should all work together to complete your professional identity.
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A logo is a way for your target client to remember you more easily. By associating your company name with a logo you are creating a positive, professional image. A creative logo says “this is a professional company” and allows you to command the fees you are worth.
Be clear with your designer regarding your target market so that the look and color are consistent. If you are a financial advisory firm, you will want to elicit trust and confidence - you'll want to stay away from red or black (see below). If your target market is affluent clients, choosing a more creative pallet may make sense for your firm.
It is not enough to use your professional logo on your marketing materials. Just plopping your logo on a business card will not complete the job. Your designer should also create a professional layout. This means using your logo and a design format to showcase your brand by creating a design flow utilizing your logo, colors, and texture.
For example, in the work I do with financial firms, the first step is to create the logo and tagline, before moving on to the website. The firm business card is the last brand deliverable as it must match the look and feel of the website.
The colors used in your logo and business card layout should work together to create a strong brand. It is not wise to use different colors for your business card and website. Try to maintain brand continuity across all your materials.
Different colors mean different things to different people. When discussing color with your design professional, make sure he/she knows your preference.
For example, I worked on a project years ago where the initial concepts were received poorly because the client's least-liked color was used. This could have been avoided if it were known at the beginning of the project.
• What colors showcase your authenticity?
• What colors represent your values and organizational culture?
• What colors appeal to your ideal client?
• Are you accidentally portraying a negative image of your business? (I know a financial services firm that uses black and red as their website colors which does not work well at all.)
• Are there color combinations that would allow your investment firm to stand out from your competitors, who are probably using the standard "blue" in their brand?
Because of its visibility, stop signs, stoplights, brake lights, and fire equipment are all painted red. Red is also “sexy.” Not an image you want to portray if you are a wealth manager, investment manager, high net worth banking, or the like.
Green is the color of money. If you use green in your website design you may be giving off a subconscious feeling of wealth. Green is also a healing color and the color of nature. Harmony exists where green is prevalent. Green often makes one feel calm. There are many green color variations that are suitable for an investment firm, such as sage, teal, or evergreen.
If you are “true blue,” you are loyal and faithful. The first prize gets a blue ribbon. The sky and ocean are blue. In terms of personality, even-tempered people are often "blue." Many financial services firms use blue, which can be a good color when used in combination with other complimentary colors. You'll see blue in wealth firms, investment firms, insurance, credit unions, banking, and the list goes on. Yes, it is used quite a bit. But if you love blue, go with it! But if you're open to other colors, check them out as well. If you're open to blue color variations, you could consider periwinkle, powder blue, Egyption blue, or midnight blue.
Purple is a royal color. Purple robes are an emblem of authority and rank. Purple can symbolize the future, spirituality, and harmony. Just think about how purple "feels" to you. Is it something special? If you're drawn to purple then it means this is an authentic color for you. Go ahead and use it in your brand as your firm will stand apart from many others! Color variations for purple that are suitable for financial firms, especially those headed by women, include mauve, orchid, royal purple, and mulberry.
A yellow ribbon is a sign of support for soldiers at the front. To holistic healers, yellow is the color of peace. Yellow also represents innocence and purity. Using yellow can produce a cheerful effect. Just think about the end result of financial planning: clients feel peace and calm knowing their finances are being well managed! Shades of yellow include cream, lemon chiffon, lemon, and goldenrod.
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange is also seen as extroverted, creative, and uninhibited. Orange can be used effectively in a creative manner when used in combination with other colors. Interesting color variations for financial firms come from nature and include pumpkin, papaya, peach, and apricot.
Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery. Black also shows a void or emptiness in a concept. Try to avoid black as a background color on a blog or webpage as it is quite difficult for visitors to read. In fact, I don't care for black much at all in a logo variation, but it can be used well as part of a website banner or other marketing piece.
White is associated with sophistication, light, goodness, innocence, and purity. It is considered to be the color of perfection. White can be a great enhancer to use in creating space between elements, which lends a fresh, crisp feeling to a design concept. White is also used well in creating space for the eyes to rest in website design. My website that you are viewing now is a great example.
Grey as a main color can be somewhat drab, conservative, and bland. As an accent color however, grey can be quite effective in toning down a bright color scheme. Grey can also represent elegance in the lighter hues. If your wealth management clients are somewhat sophisticated, using grey as an accent color can be quite effective.
Gold can be considered a color of wealth and is often a symbol of great accomplishment. Olympians earn a gold medal. Gold jewelry is more expensive than silver jewelry. Gold can be very elegant when used as an accent color in website design, especially for boutique investment firms.
Color aha moment
What are you trying to achieve with your financial brand colors?
If you'll look at my brand colors above in the banner, you'll begin to see my subconscious branding strategy. My logo is a dollar sign that is red and purple surrounded with green. I want to subconsciously convey to my clients that I am providing coaching that is valuable and enticing and includes out-of-the-box and creative strategies that lead to financial success. Can you see that now?
Obviously the colors listed above are not the entire color spectrum. There are many color combinations and nuances that can't be expressed here in words.
The choice of colors in your brand will influence many subconscious decisions made by your ideal clients. It's best to hire an experienced designer and consultant to assist you in this process.
What I want for you is to create a brand that will position your company to attract your ideal clients - those who are willing and able to pay top dollar for your services. Affluent clients expect professionalism. You really can't compete without a good brand. So when developing your annual Business Plan, think about how your Brand colors can position your firm for success.
I started my first business in Honolulu, Hawaii in the late 1980's as a young college student. My wholesale fine jewelry business was barely providing me the income I needed to put myself through college at the University of Hawaii, so I decided to "re-invent" my brand. I hired a designer who came up with some beautiful concepts, which I combined with my upscale Value Proposition. My designer really made my company look professional and my VP helped to seal the deal.
Branding lands the big fish clients!
After I landed a very big account (500 stores), I asked the store manager why they had hired me. Now this retail chain was known as the "go to place for the affluent" in Hawaii in those days, and I learned that my brand was a big factor in winning the business. The manager told me: "We hired you because you impressed the team with your marketing materials and your beautiful custom jewelry."
I spent $10,000 on my branded marketing materials way back then, but the investment landed me a top-notch client that fueled my business growth for 15 years. I can honestly tell you that the money was a drop in the bucket compared to the revenue from the client.
Lesson learned: Invest in your brand!
"Suzanne’s advice was invaluable when it came time for me to brand my independent financial advisory firm. Our work prior on target market, combined with help selecting my company name and colors and building my website have helped me attract my ideal clients and a consistent flow of leads from my website."
Financial Planner & Leader
"Don’t think twice about hiring Suzanne. Give coaching the time it deserves, be open, and trust that Suzanne will keep you on the right track."
AIF, CRPC, Financial Advisor, New Jersey
"I highly recommend Suzanne's services to anyone who is interested in growing their business and maintaining a healthy balance outside of work as well."
"Working with Suzanne has helped me to develop a distinctive brand. Having a cohesive brand gives me the confidence to network with and approach high level prospects. If I had not hired Suzanne, I would not have made this progress.
CFP® New York
"I truly feel that without Suzanne's guidance, my business would not have flourished. Her expertise in my field helped me produce the results I needed more quickly. But most importantly, she made me safe enough to recognize the weaknesses in my business (and myself). You can fix anything once you recognize the problem!!"