Seeing Red, Consumers Pay More (or Less)
“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways,” wrote Oscar Wilde in The Critic as Artist.
That’s just the problem for market research and consumer behavior. Few design aspects of products, packages, brands, logos, advertising, and environments are more subjective than color. Which is why so many marketing decisions about color are based on the personal preferences of designers, decision makers, and their spouses (“What do you think of this color, dear?”) rather than on scientific knowledge of which colors are best for specific purposes.
But just in time for Valentine’s day (today!) here is a compelling new finding about the color RED and how it affects buying behavior: Red backgrounds elicit aggression in buyers such that (1) they bid higher and more aggressively against other bidders in online auctions and (2) they offer lower, more aggressive price offers to sellers in direct negotiations. The research was published just this month in the Journal of Consumer Research.
So if a decision maker’s feelings of arousal and aggression will work in your favor, use designs based on red colors. Otherwise, choose blue tones, which have been shown to have calming effects.
“What about orange,” you must be asking, “how did Versta choose orange for its logo?” True, orange is associated with energy, excitement, balance, and playfulness. But just as the cobbler’s children so often have no shoes, we, in our early days, made design decisions without the insights that research can offer. So we did it the old-fashioned way: “I like this one. What do you think of it, dear?”