Color Psychology and Branding

Why is it Important to Choose the Best Colors for Your Branding?

Color psychology and branding is one of the most important factors in consumer behavior and marketing. Consumers make their minds up about a product, service, or person, in about 90 seconds. More than half of that decision process can be attributed to color alone, so choosing the right color palette for your brand can be crucial to the company’s success. Having a set color palette is not only critical for the consumer’s attraction, but also for the cohesiveness of the brand content on social media and your website. Content that correlates with your company logo and overall image can help with brand recognition and distinguishing yourself from competitors.

Colors evoke different emotions in different groups of consumers, so it is important to reach the audience you desire with the right branding.

What Different Color Tones Mean & How to Choose the Right Ones

Typically, psychologists separate colors into three categories: cool, warm, and neutral. Cool tones include blues, greens, and purples. These colors are more subtle and invoke feelings of calmness, relaxation, and peace. Warm colors on the other hand are more exciting and energizing to the consumer’s eye. Reds, oranges, and yellows catch attention quickly and are used to generate a positive feeling in the audience. Neutral tones like black, brown, and white offer a sleeker and more professional look. Guide to Color Psychology in Marketing | Chamber of Commerce

Knowing this, the first step in deciding on colors is to think about your brand’s values and purpose and how you can make your design choices align with those things.

Who is your target audience?

How is your brand memorable?

What is your company’s value?

These things can be a starting point to determine how you want the audience to feel about your brand.

How Demographics Affect Perception of Color

The demographics of potential customers can affect how they perceive color and what that could mean to your brand. Knowing your target audience is imperative to choosing the right colors to ultimately attract the appropriate consumers.

Men and women often have varying preferences when it comes to color. Studies have shown that women are generally more drawn to softer colors, whereas men prefer bold ones.

Generational differences also have an impact on color preferences. Gen X and Baby Boomers tend to gravitate more towards colors that are viewed as mature and classic such as yellows, whites, blues, and dark reds. Millennials and Gen Zs typically prefer colors that are soft and neutral, like pastel pinks and greens, as well as browns and whites. Generational Colors: How to Attract Various Demographics Via Color (

Knowing that demographic factors can influence how one perceives colors, identifying your target audience is important to determine your brand’s colors.

Next Steps

After learning color psychology, play with various color schemes to see what you like for your branding and marketing. Free resources like Coolors and Canva are excellent tools to help you in your designing process. Once you begin posting, take note of how others respond to your beautifully crafted posts and use this information to keep what works and fix what doesn’t in your marketing strategy.

Additional References

View of Color Psychology in Marketing (

Color Psychology: How Colors Influence the Mind | Psychology Today

AI Threatens What Makes You Unique

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is like a new shiny penny in a world where we expect technology will make our lives easier. I would say that some things are definitely better with the speed of tech. However, when it comes to implementing AI in content planning, I am concerned. I think it is a good idea for businesses to be wary of AI, because AI could threaten their ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Business Goals

To explain my rationale, I’m going to start with some of the steps we take to create a content plan. First we start with business goals and marketing objectives. Usually business goals are to 1) earn revenue, 2) profit, and 3) grow. Marketing objectives are determined by your goals and they usually revolve around customers and converting them into sales. It is a lot easier to set a revenue goal than to achieve it. The huge number of businesses competing on the Internet of Things creates many challenges.

What Makes Your Product or Service Special?

Every marketing class or book will tell you to figure out what makes your service or product unique. Doing that will make it easier to stand out on the internet. In marketing we call what makes you special, your differentiator. Your differentiator is composed of what you provide, why and how you do it and the customers in your target market. You may think that you have the coolest and best product or service in the world. However, if your customers don’t see it or need it, then nothing else matters. You need to know who your customers are and that process digs deep. It involves research, understanding what their pain points are, and what you can do to solve their problems. Once you know what makes your business the best one for them, you start your digital marketing plan. Everything that happens next is reliant on how well your content communicates your value to your audience, and how successfully it reaches them.

Enter AI for Content Marketing

Content marketing is a primary part of any digital marketing campaign. Newsletters, emails, websites, landing pages, blogs, posts, videos, podcasts, books, whitepapers, and ebooks are all content. Any of these components can be sliced, diced, and formatted for the appropriate online platforms. The issue that most business owners (especially small businesses) have is a lack of staff and time to do what needs to be done. Enter AI for creating content and your time and budget constraints are solved, right? A Fortune article on February 17th, 2023, explains that Elon Musk, the founder of OpenAI (the parent company of ChatGPT), publicly walked away from his creation. Musk indicated that “(OpenAI) no longer resembled anything like what he had once co-founded in December 2015. According to Musk, it was designed to be an open-source nonprofit, which was the very reason why it was dubbed OpenAI.” The article states that Musk’s concerns arose out of the launch of ChatGPT. He says it has turned the concept he intended into a blockbuster moneymaking endeavor for Microsoft. I’m sure everyone knows about ChatGPT by now. The software has been in the news and online thanks to the marketing muscle behind Microsoft. However, the claims it makes of creating original content, based on your prompts, reside in a gray area.

The Origins of AI Content

ZDNet provides a simplified explanation of what ChatGPT is. They say that, “ChatGPT runs on a language model architecture created by OpenAI called the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT), specifically GPT-3. Generative AI models of this type are trained on vast amounts of information from the internet including websites, books, news articles and more.” The content your are getting “customized” for you, is an aggregate, pulled from a variety of existing sources. These sources are available to everyone including your competitors. They also are a part of the language of the internet. See how AI could reduce your effectiveness?

AI Could Threaten Your Unique Differentiator

So we know that using AI to create your content means accessing the same keywords, phrases, and overall language that anyone else using the software is also doing. How long will your content maintain any orginality? Furthermore, does AI understand your customers and their pain points? Can it relate to human emotions? Here is an example of my experience with AI that stems from the inability of Google to answer my questions. Have you tried searching for something on Google lately? The SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) that come up have tons of ads that are more and more unrelated to my question. The organic results are often not really what I am looking for either. I tend to abandon at least 75% of my search attempts as a result. Guess what? Google runs on an algorithm that is based on language. If we create generic language or encourage it, how does that affect our differentiators? Can you be unique in a world where technology delivers sameness? We are at the beginning of the AI marketing story. Like any new toy, everyone wants to play with it. Here’s a thought: If a metaphor for the internet of things is a haystack and an entity selling something is a needle that needs to amplify its differences to get attention. What happens when the haystack becomes a needlestack?

Press Releases Still Matter


I have heard directly from book review editors that they toss the materials that come with review copies.  I have also had a radio producer chastise me for mistakenly not sending a press release and kit with a book.  Clients have asked me if press releases matter anymore: “I mean does anybody really read those things?”  The short answer is “yes”: there are media, booksellers, librarians, academics, etc. who actually do pay attention to an old fashioned press release, and you have no way of knowing who is going to insist on having one and who isn’t.  So in my opinion, I wouldn’t sacrifice this tool just yet.  Here are five reasons why we still like them.

Core Message

Press releases are different from any of the other copy you will use to market your book. Some of the words may be the same as what you have on the back of the jacket, but the release is supposed to achieve a few things including delivering the newsworthy or unique aspects of what you are presenting; giving the reader an idea of why you would be a good interview subject; and a relatively brief synopsis of the best points of the book (or product depending on your industry).

Press Approved Copy

This is my favorite.  First of all the copy on your release is assumed to be vetted and usable for the press.  It is likely that one outlet or another will actually lift the synopsis or even the entire release and reprint it online or in the newspaper.  The first time I saw this it was a little weird, but the words on the release, by the very nature of what the document is, are fair game for repurposing.

SEO Optimization

Having the release available on your website, your publicist’s, publisher’s, etc. gives you more real estate online and can offer more search results. You will notice a search for your book brings up and other big properties first.  Your publisher and our website can appear on the first page or near the top of the second page.  It gives you more power online when there are more backlinks and references to you and your work.

The Press Relase vs. The Pitch

So many people interact primarily on email these days, so there is a bit more “room” to present the best aspects of your book. As a standard practice we write pitches according to which people we are sending them.  We paste the press release below so the media contact can choose to learn more.  In the past we would send a cover letter with the press kit which constituted the pitch.  However, I know that today all of those pages won’t get read in a mailing.  The release is an informational supplement that provides another tool for marketing.  If a contact only wants to read three sentences, fine.  If more is desired, it’s all there in the email.

Best Practices for Public Relations

More people want to see a release than not, and it’s part of the public relations/media relations process. In addition, your booksellers, event coordinators at higher end venues, librarians—they want to see the meat of what you are selling without having to read the entire book.  Having a press release gives you a more serious, professional persona when you are marketing your book.  It says, you mean business and people should pay attention to you.  Don’t sell yourself short.

The other more esoteric reason for the release is that it is an opportunity for you and your publicist to come to an understanding of what your intention is about your book and its relevance.  You may also discover some things that are unclear about your work, or an interpretation that is not at all what you meant.  It’s important to come to terms with how the book will be presented and what the selling points are.  It’s super competitive out there, as you know, and you want to make sure your work is getting the attention it deserves.

For some examples of different press releases go to our Campaigns page and click on the book jackets.  You can also check out this article I wrote for Jane Friedman’s website.


Include POEM in all Digital Marketing Plans

A successful strategy for your business needs to include POEM in all digital marketing plans.  What is POEM?  It is a combination of Paid, Owned, and Earned Media.  These three things together constitute the tools you can use to market your business and build your revenue.

What is Paid, Earned, and Owned Media?

**P (Paid): Paid media is advertising, whether it’s on benches, buses, PPC (Pay-per-Click), or any other form you can think of.  For example, in digital marketing you will not grow organically on Facebook.   You must pay for growth by running ads and/or boosting posts to the best target audiences for your content.

O (Owned): Owned media is “free” and it belongs to you.  Examples are your social media platforms and your website.  Your podcast or tv show (if you have one) also belongs to you. How you manage them and populate them with content, determines how beneficial they can be to your business.

E (Earned): Earned media  is also “free” because it falls under the public relations and publicity umbrellas.  You may need to hire a consultant, but the resulting media hits are supposed to be free.  A media relations specialist or publicist will secure radio interviews, articles, reviews, and tv appearances on your behalf.

M (Media): It’s the “media” in the P – O – E components.

How Do Paid-Earned-Owned Media Work Together?

Your business needs to include POEM in all digital marketing plans because it represents the trifecta of a successful multi-channel or omni-channel marketing plan.  If you put your strategy together well your ideal customers will interact with your business throughout their journeys from idea to purchase.  For example:

A consultant offers hourly sessions and paid workshops.  They have a website and use Facebook and LinkedIn.  Let’s consider the three types of media for this consultant:

Paid: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on LinkedIn and via Facebook could be a part of their plan.  The ads should link pages on their website including a page made specifically for the campaign.

Owned:  When a customer is on the website, there is a pop-up form for joining the email list.  Maybe they offer a free download or a free workshop to get the customers more involved with their business.  Also, every page has contact information and there is a “Contact Us” form in case someone is interested in finding out more, but doesn’t want to subscribe.

Earned:  You are interviewed in a trade publication, newspaper, online news outlet, podcast, local TV, etc.  In the interview you talk about what makes your services special and specifically how you can help your target customers.  When the interview is ready, you put a link on your website, broadcast it on social media, and possibly use it in another PPC ad.

 Learn More about POEM and Marketing

There are many resources on the internet that can help you identify what media you can “own” as well as different outlets for “paid” opportunities.  Simply stated anything you “earn” is when someone shares their owned platform with you.  A mention on Instagram is earned because that influencer is using their platform to amplify you and/or your message.

For more information about using POEM you can visit Smart Insights to read their article on customer acquisition strategy.

Additional resources:  Small Businesses, Yes You Need Social Media

Small Business Marketing: What Makes You Special?

How do small businesses survive these days in a crowded market where being discovered online is more than half the battle?  They need to know what makes them special and understand how they can directly fulfill the needs of  their customers.

The Vitality of Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, employing millions and creating innovations that their size allows them to explore.  According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, in 2019 firms with fewer than twenty employees made up 89.0% of businesses in the U.S. and those with under one hundred accounted for 98.1%.

Rising Above the Competition

Just as there are many small businesses, there is a lot of competition and the best place to be discovered is the internet.  However, the web is a crowded place, and chances are your product is not the only one out there.  The key is differentiating what you do and sell from everyone else. 

What Makes Your Business Special?

To differentiate yourself, you need to consider what makes your business special.  What stands out about the owners, the employees, the products, and the services?  Being a bunch of friendly faces is not enough.  Neither is using words like “dynamic, innovative, or excellent” without an endorsement to add credibility to the praise. Here is an example of a successful differentiator:

Warby Parker is an eyeglasses company that started as a digitally native brand, which means they only sold online.  At the time there were dozens of different ways to purchase eyeglasses at stores like Pearle Vision, through your doctor’s office, and even at Costco and Walmart.  So how could the founders think that they could compete in a marketplace that was full of options?

They offered an alternative to customers who needed glasses by providing a simple process, a la carte pricing, and a chance to test out five different pairs of frames.  They saved people time and money, and offered the allure of an alternative name brand.  An article from CNBC explains exactly how they succeeded.  

Building Brand Trust

Once you know what makes your business special, you can incorporate the message into your overall brand.  Offering a product is not who you are, it is what you do.  In today’s world of direct, high speed, digital connection, people need to feel like they know their brands.  They need to trust their brands and to gain trust, you need to identify your customers and address their needs directly. 

For example, I spoke at a women’s networking event about content marketing and social media.  One of the attendees was a photographer who wanted to grow her wedding photo business.

Problem:  She did not understand why she wasn’t getting a lot of traction from her website which had beautiful photos that showed what she could do.  The photographer did not know what made her services special and different from others.  She also did not understand how her customers went about selecting a photographer.  

Possible solutions:

  1. She could share more information about her story and why she is passionate about working with couples and sharing their special moments.
  2. She could have blogs or articles on her website about how to choose the right wedding photographer.
  3. She could offer sample albums with endorsements from her clients.

Understanding what makes you special and matching that directly with the needs of your potential customers will build your business.  Everyone has something to offer that is unique to them.  The challenge is figuring out what that is and who needs it.  Then you need the courage and the know-how to go out there and communicate it to the right people in the right place, at the right time.