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The Psychology of Colour
There are four psychological primary colours - red, blue, yellow and green. They relate respectively to the body, the mind, the emotions and the essential balance between these three. There are eleven basic colours, however it is the range of primary colours that have the most impact. The psychological properties of these four are:

RED (physical)
Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, 'fight or flight', stimulation, masculinity, excitement.
Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.
Red is a powerful colour. Although not technically the most visible, it has the property of appearing to be nearer than it is and therefore it grabs our attention first. Hence its effectiveness in traffic lights the world over. Its effect is physical; it stimulates us and raises the pulse rate, giving the impression that time is passing faster than it is. It can activate the "fight or flight" instinct. Red is strong, and very basic. Pure red is the simplest colour, with no subtlety. It is stimulating and lively, very friendly. At the same time, it can be perceived as demanding and aggressive.
Examples: Virgin, Coke

BLUE (intellectual)
Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.
Negative: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.
Blue is the colour of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently it is serene and mentally calming. It is the colour of clear communication. Blue objects do not appear to be as close to us as red ones. Time and again in research, blue is the world's favourite colour. However, it can be perceived as cold, unemotional and unfriendly.
Examples: O2, Barclays

YELLOW (emotional)
Warning - how well do you see this color? Think carefully before choosing this as a primary colour. It needs a strong background. 
Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.
Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.
In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety.
Examples: McDonalds, Yell.com

GREEN (balance)
Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace.
Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.
Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the centre of the spectrum, it is the colour of balance. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Negatively, it can indicate stagnation and, incorrectly used, will be perceived as being too bland.
Examples: Starbucks, Body Shop

Clearly, your choice of colours will impact upon how your visual marketing communications are received. Remember to think through the eyes of your target audiences rather than simply choosing your favourite!

If this fascinating topic interests you and you would details of the other seven basic colours, please do contact us for full details.
Is Your Brand Behaving?
With so many different ways to get our message across, keeping a consistent image is tricky… especially when there are several people involved. Add the instant edge of digital marketing into the mix and there is a potential recipe for disaster.
Back in the days of writing letters, we’d always start with ‘Dear…’. With emails came informality: ‘Hi…’. Moving to social media and forums, your brand now has instant communication. The language and style of your content can boost or destroy your brand… in seconds.


Branding for Business

Social media for business seems to be the biggest culprit. When did text speak become the norm? I appreciate that there are character limits, especially in Twitter, but please refrain from using ‘text speak’. U’ll undo yr good mktg work by tmrw.
With some markets, it’s truly ok to be informal. Overstep the mark and you’ll lose favour, so tread carefully. Your brand is an ambassador for your business. It needs to be right… it’s the first impression of your business, especially online.
Consistency is vital. For example, is everyone within your organisation using the same email signature? The same font and layout for proposals? 
Images are important too… a definite boost for engagement with all marketing tools. Relevant, good quality images are a must. Funny team photos, holiday snaps for profile photos and a lack of photo at all are to be avoided. Eggs are generally not trusted as credible accounts within social media!
As discussed in an earlier blog, shockvertising can work but can backfire too. These principles apply to a lesser degree in any marketing communication, so it’s important to review your brand’s presence.
Here are some tips to make your brand well behaved:
  • Write your social media content as if you were talking to your client direct. Would you sign off with a kiss? x
  • If in doubt, be formal… you can relax later if you want to.
  • Avoid abbreviations; be ‘pleased’ rather than ‘plzd’, send your ‘regards’ instead of ‘rgds’
  • Use relevant images; not because they’re simply cute or funny (these are for your personal accounts, not the work ones).
  • Go back to basics. Who are you targeting? What style will they respond to? Write accordingly.
  • Talk to colleagues. If your marketing is not a solo effort, make sure that everyone understands the tone and image that’s important for your market… for your business. 

Need a hand? If you would like a review of your brand’s behaviour, let us know. We’re here to help.

Shock Tactics: Worth The Risk?
Grabbing attention is definitely crucial within marketing – but should it be achieved however possible?

‘Shockvertising’ typically reaches its target audience using humour, sex or fear. The reward is awareness; the risk is alienation. Ultimately, it isn’t down to you to decide, but or your audience and the Advertising Standards Authority.  It’s been officially stating where ‘the line’ of decency exists for 50 years.

Incurring the wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority, (ASA), can result in expensive retractions and amendments. Some marketers believe that the headlines achieved in doing so are worth it. But be warned – controversy is a dangerous game.

The ASA is the first port of call for the public – and your competitors – if your adverts are deemed inaccurate or downright offensive. You may remember the controversial Benetton adverts of the 1990s, featuring the traditional taboos of war, racism and disease amongst other topics. They incited a negative backlash towards the brand.

At the other end of the scale, we’ve seen French Connection’s FCUK logo achieve success within controversy, as did Powwownow’s tongue-in-cheek banker character Cecil. (However his image was defaced on posters in tube stations as ‘his’ attitude was deemed offensive.)

We’ve seen charities spark fury by using 9/11 (Tsunami donations) and the Pope (condom advert) to raise awareness for their own cause. ASA research shows that 80% of the public believe that charities use shock  tactics. Ultimately it’s your audience’s view that counts. Prostate Cancer Charity receives 45% better donation levels in response to a positive message.

So, throughout its 50 year history, which advert has been most complained about? Did it feature sex, fear, racism? No.

Topping the list of complaints is the Kentucky Fried Chicken TV advert featuring call centre workers singing whilst eating. It seems that manners still matter to the British and that humour appears to be the most controversial element of all.

Are you thinking of a theme for your marketing communications? If you would like any advice please contact us – we’re here to help.
Winning Marketing Communications
Regardless of what you offer and who your target customers are, everyone needs to get the basics right. There are three raw ingredients which any successful marketing communications activity must consider:

Who is your target audience?

Knowing the people you are communicating with – usually your target/existing clients – simply must shape your marketing. It’s their views that count. For example:
  • What do they really want from you, (their motivation to buy)?
  • Where would they look to find you? (Clients don’t always act in the same way as you!)
  • Which search terms would they use if looking online?
  • Who are their peer groups? (Referrals are very powerful in any market.)

What terminology do they use?

Listening – really listening – to your clients by surveying their opinions about you is both brave and essential. There will be a surprise that you didn’t think of… it’ll shape your marketing decisions.

What is your marketing message?

Talk about how your product/service benefits your clients, rather than detailed descriptions of what you do. Remember the saying ‘buyers want benefits’. It’s so true. Keep your content simple and relevant. You have little time to capture and keep people’s attention, so focus on:   
  • What are you offering? It seems so simple, yet many business owners base their marketing on what they know, how they describe their product/service. This is often very different to how their audience would describe the real benefit that they’re looking for.
  • Competitive edge. What makes your business stand out from the crowd? How are you different - and better - than your competitors? Give people a reason to choose you!

These three points, designed through the eyes of your target clients will give you the foundation of successful marketing communications.

Whether you’re promoting online, writing a brochure or designing a newsletter – they all need this focus.

Invest some time in getting the basics right; you’ll enjoy the results.

Want to know more? Contact us for an informal chat – we’re here to help. 

Enticing Email Marketing
Despite the increase of social media as a communication tool, emailing remains a personable, flexible and successful marketing activity.

It’s ten times cheaper to gain an order or a piece of work from someone who you already know; yet many business owners concentrate on chasing their next new client, forgetting those who have already invested in their product or skills.

Why send marketing emails?

Staying in touch is vital for referrals, repeat business, cross selling and simply out of courtesy. Emails are the perfect opportunity (not forgetting to blend in personal contact too – underutilised by businesses and appreciated by clients).

The title – then the content – of your email will be essential in determining the success of your activity. Here are some top tips to help your email get noticed..  and opened:   

1.    Plan the email title carefully – the words like ‘save’, ‘offer’, ‘win’ and ‘discount’ will be seen as spam by many filters, (as are capital letters). This will stop your email reaching many inboxes.

2.    Varying the title increases the open rate significantly. Entice people to open your email by tempting them with content clues within the title. ‘Latest News’, ‘Summer Update’ or ‘Newsletter no.21’ simply don’t scream ‘open me’!  

3.    Consider using some keywords within your title and content… researched, of course. If these terms work for your website traffic, they should engage your contacts enough to open and read your email too. (Hopefully gaining valuable website traffic and contact engagement.)

4.    Content – position your best stories and deals/most seasonal/most popular items at the top of the list so that people will see them within their inbox – no need to scroll down. These items will draw people into opening the email.

5.    Timing – the day of the week and time of day are crucial to opening rates. Popular days vary between markets. How about looking at your website statistics and social media engagement to see which days and times seem most popular with your contacts?

One other point: one you’ve started, you need to keep going! Frequency will depend upon your market, content and workload. Whether you follow up monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or occasionally… do follow up.

If you would like to discuss your emailing plans or want a helping hand with putting the words together, please contact us. We can save you time and give you a guide-line for future emails. Let’s start sending!  

Direct Mail. Is It Back?
Five to ten years ago, direct mail was the channel by which businesses communicated.
Then came email, hitting prospects directly, straight into their in-box.
When the recession hit, businesses naturally started cutting costs on things like print and more traditional marketing methods. As a result, “old fashioned” direct mail volumes slowed, as marketers plumped for cheaper and trendier digital marketing methods to deliver their messages.
Today however, traditional marketing is back in the running, albeit as a more savvy option. Businesses are using it “as well as”, rather than “instead of” newer digital methods.
Research suggests that campaign ROI increases by up to 62% if a combination of mail and digital is used. (b2bmarketing).The key is to successfully integrate the traditional and the new channels available, to get maximum impact and good returns.
There are now 1.5 million more people responding to advertising than a year ago, with direct mail the most effective medium. And it’s the youth market (15 – 24) that are by far the most receptive - the same market that is far more likely to do further online research.
It seems mail is still able to create a reaction to any integrated campaign, proving direct mail still has value (marketingandmore).
Businesses are able to reach their target market with communications that hold both physical and tangible qualities that digital methods simply can not do.
The digital boom has given traditional marketing a make over - revamped and reformed it.
Is it any wonder that direct mail response rates are increasing?

Ultimately, your marketing communications should include both online and traditional marketing tools. Perhaps direct mail should be included?

Let's find out!
Lazy Logo or Branding Brilliance?
Your branding is the personality of your business; your ambassador. It must be epitomised by your logo.

The tone, style, colour… they all create a perception is someone’s mind. With today’s technological communication, you won’t always be there to reinforce the impression that you want your logo – and your brand - to create. Plus – it will need refreshing from time to time.

Yahoo is currently reviewing its logo – for the first time in 18 years. At Decisions Marketing, we have a shiny new look in time for our 20th birthday in April 2014. Having just been through this process, we hope it’s helpful to share some fascinating facts which helped us along our journey.

There are three key areas to think about if you’re creating or refreshing your logo:

Colour – 95% business logos use only one or two colours. But which colour to choose? Many have both positive and negative associations, with red as the classic example (attention grabbing energy or aggressive?). However – it’s the second most popular colour for logos. The most trusted colour? Blue. It suggests strength, trust and dependability and is universally popular. Phew, we say!

Font – the style of your typeface creates an impression. We like Arial and Callibri as they suggest ‘fresh, established, contemporary’. We sprinkle in a little Georgia too, for dependable and trustworthy associations – in line with our company values.

Image – does your image choice complement your business activity or style? Choose carefully. Some people move away from using images at all (41%); think of Kellogg’s or Coke. Others prefer not to use the business name (9%); such as Apple or Starbucks.

So – food for thought! If you would like to chat about this fascinating subject or find out more about colour associations, please contact us. We can also help with branding and your first meeting is free.
Protecting Your Prize Draw
Many of us are keen to include prize draws within our marketing arsenal; they’re great for engagement and word of mouth. 

As we get excited about the prizes, giveaways and ways to shout about our creative promotion, we must spare a thought for the legalities too. 

The beauty of a prize draw is that it’s very close to a cash incentive. Cash is, after all, the best incentive of all. Being able to enter without purchasing is the key condition which will entice people to join in.

Once you’ve decided on the detail, you’re legally obliged to produce terms and conditions, which must be readily available upon a click online or request. 

Here are the key elements of prize draw terms:
1.    How people may enter – specifically, (e.g. completion of form, submission from webpage).
2.    Only one entry into the prize draw per person – unless you’re happy for multiple entries? 
3.    This draw is open to all over the age of 18. 
4.    Prize description – in detail to avoid misunderstanding/confusion.
5.    The prize is as described and no cash alternative will be offered. 
6.    When the draw closes – date and time.
7.    How the winner will be chosen – plus when and how they’ll be notified.
8.    In the event that that the selected winner does not respond to the request for acceptance of the prize within XX days, you can reserve the right to select a new winner. 
9.    The name and location of the winner will be available on request from… 
10.    The name and location (not address details) will be used for promotional purposes
11.    The prize of XX is not dependent upon any purchase
12.    The prize of XX  must be redeemed by [date]
13.    The prize of XX is/is not transferrable – it’s up to you! 
14.    Where a copy of the terms and conditions will be available, plus until when.
15.    Who you, the promoter are – name and address plus contact details.

The chances are, you won’t be asked for these details. However… having comprehensive conditions in place for your prize draw is a legal requirement… and encourages essential thinking around the detail of your promotion.

Need a hand? Contact us for an informal discussion.