Your target customers may eventually make judgements about the character, quality and ethics of your company, but when they meet you face-to-face, it’s only human that they make visual judgements first – about your body language, your body image, what you wear… and what colours you wear. Colours have positive and negative connotations. So how can you use colour to your benefit to ensure that first meeting is successful?
What colours work for which situation?
The recommended colour for first impressions is blue. It has neutral and calming qualities. Commonly used in branding for businesses, it stimulates feelings of trust and loyalty – the perfect message you want to offer prospective customers. It also instills relaxation and approachability so it is great to wear when forming relationshipswith business partners or industry experts. Blue is also viewed as wise and being easy to communicate with which are ideal characteristics to have when it comes to working with others.
For more serious engagements, black is viewed as the classic colour to wear. It puts distance between you and an individual or party, hiding your personality and emotions. Darker colours create impressions of authority and power. On the negative side, that can make others feel intimidated or over-whelmed, so consider if this is the image you want give your business. If not, soften up dark appearances with lighter and pastel shades to give a more balanced and transparent look.
As the opposite of black, white is positively perceived as open and honest. But it can be negatively associated with innocence and simplicity. When involved in group discussions or important appointments, steer clear of white. It may cause people to doubt your experience and skills which, in turn, may affect your confidence. Its stark tone can also look garish and sterile causing others to turn away from you and to lose concentration.
Red – the power colour – can have strong effects on people. Red suggests strength with an emphasis on passion and ambition. That makes red a good colour for meetings and negotiations where you might like to take control without seeming to forcibly impose yourself on people – unlike black. For women, lighter reds can boost feelings of confidence. Darker reds can make women seem more assertive and uncompromising, yet a team player. So analyse your situation and consider which shade you would benefit from wearing. Red can be worn sparingly and still have an effect because it is so bright and bold. A red handbag, shoes or brooch can instil some of red’s characteristics into your appearance.
If your business is more on the creative side then wearing orange and purple is an interesting option. They exude a sense of energy, innovation and confidence. The can be great for sales pitches, giving you a bit more character and personality and allowing observers to connect with you as a person – not just a potential supplier. Pink is also a colour of creativity and energy but because of its feminine associations it can also be viewed as emasculating and emotional – that can be negative if you want to come across as a good decision-maker.
The colour of money
As a colour of peace and harmony, green should be the perfect colour for a work environment. However we tend to associate green with money, envy and possessiveness, so in business meetings where you discuss finances with customers,green may not be ideal!
Yellow and earthy tones encourage a healthy, friendly working environment. These colours can encourage a sense of warmth and optimism. They can be great colours to wear for social events or drinks with clients. Yellows worn at home with pink and purples might keep you motivated and inspired to work. When working at home, add a small red accessory to help stir your thoughts into passion for success!
If you are the first point of call for your business, are you also conveying the right message as an ambassador?
Your choice of colours can impact people’s decisions and mood long before they have rationally processed what your company is offering.
India Cash, writes about the psychology of colour on behalf of Monsoon; retailers of dresses, work wear and footwear.