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While most people think that their purchasing decisions are made out of their own free will, many companies have been using the psychology of color and site to affect the ways we interact with their products for years. Check out some of these tricky ways that companies rely on colors and sights to draw in customers.
1. Green is a color that’s strongly associate with nature and being environmentally friendly, which is why companies like Starbucks incorporate it front and center in their branding to give off the impression that they’re conscious stewards of the earth.
2. Another use for green comes to us from Disneyland. When they began designing the park, Disney created a shade of green called Go Away Green. It was intentionally designed as so bland that most people wouldn’t even notice it, with the eye slipping right past it. It’s used for fences, buildings, and walls, to keep guests focused on the exciting branding rather than the mundane structures.
3. Disneyland also has used some cool visual tricks to keep their characters accurate. On Main Street, U.S.A. they use smaller bricks for taller buildings which helps make things like Sleeping Beauty’s Castle look even bigger than it actually is. There’s also a place called Snow White’s Grotto that has statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but when they were donated the anonymous donor made all the statues the same size. Disney uses forced perspective to make it look as if Snow White is taller. The visual tricks help them keep their branding consistent and impress guests.
4. Red is a great color for companies that want people to spend more. It’s stimulating and inspires people to take action. Studies have even shown that including a red button on your website will garner more clicks than a green one, and incorporating red into a website will get your customers to spend more online. Waitresses who wear red are more likely to get big tips.
5. Some stores use visual and navigational road blocks to get their customers interested in spending more. They’ll put basic items in the back of the store so that shoppers have to pass all kinds of other things before they reach their destination, making you more likely to pick up another item or two. Ikea is a master of this by organizing their store in a way that gets you turned around and lets you see absolutely every product they have available before you get out.
6. One way that stores use visual cues is to create an image of a particular lifestyle. Instead of just displaying one item, they’ll put shoes next to jeans, or set up a whole room for you to wander through. That lets you see an entire lifestyle rather than just a product, and pushes you to buy more items that fall into the image of the life that you’re seeing.
7. Advertisers also use sight to pull you in and use your other senses. One of the higher predictors of buying more is touching a product. So stores will create displays that aren’t too perfect, places where you have to dig to reach what you want, or even placement on a shelf to get you to touch an item. The more the look of a place invites interacting with the products, the more likely you are to buy.
8. There’s a phenomenon called the “halo effect” that stores like Abercrombie and Fitch make serious use of in their advertising and store displays. This is the psychological effect in which we think good-looking people are talented, kind, and smart. If we associate beautiful people with a product we’re far more likely to buy that product or believe that those effects will transfer to us, even if we dismiss that we could be influenced in that way. That’s why stores like A&F have models plastered across their stores, and sometimes even in person models posing in the doorway. The whole thing is set to make you feel good and associate their products with positive qualities.
9. You may have noticed that a number of social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) have blue as their primary branding color. That’s because we tend to associate it with communication, trust, and logic. It’s calming and draws people in.
10. One color that has a strong association is black. It’s nearly always used for luxury brands to signify exclusivity. Since we tend to take black very seriously, seeing it in marketing says this is a brand that is serious.