I want that one, or do I? The shopping decisions that may not be our own.

It’s that time again, the weekly food shop. If you’re anything like me, you’ll walk in thinking Ooh, maybe I’ll try something new and exotic this week, mango, papaya or perhaps a dragon fruit?’ Nope… By the time I actually get into the supermarket there’s only one thing on my mind, getting out! So, what can brands do to ensure that the little time I spend browsing in store will be spent looking at them?

I first asked myself (and Google) this question about a year ago. Then, continued my curiosity in the form of my 10,000 word dissertation. It can take as little as a third of a second for consumers to make decisions in-store, which means brands have even less time to get noticed. Colour associations create brand resonance which in turn, heighten consumer preferences toward your brand. It’s time to get out a Dulux Paint Colour Chart and start thinking, are there any colours that your brand could ‘own’?

Consumers build semantic associations with colours to make them more memorable. From memorability stems familiarity, and familiarity builds trust. In store, our subconscious uses these associations to make quicker buying decisions. Take a look below for example, do you associate any of the colours with particular food or drink brands?

colours blgo

If you don’t know, then you’re too healthy and we probably wouldn’t get on…

It’s Cadbury’s and Coca Cola by the way. What about this one? See how many brands you recognise from their colours (bearing in mind it’s American so there will be some that are harder to recognise). Even when you think brands aren’t ‘over doing it’ with colours, they are. The subconscious is a disturbingly impressionable asset of ours and creative directors know how to manipulate it. I bet the first time you watched Coca-Cola’s latest advert, you weren’t thinking about the colours? There were red books, children dressed in red, and even reddish hues from the sunlight. Every frame had the Coca-Cola colours planted somewhere. Makes you think, eh?

Cadbury are even braver with their advertising… Would a drumming Gorillaor an eyebrow raising childusually scream ‘chocolate’ to you? Probably not. The reason they do here is because of the colours embedded throughout the advert. Sneaky, but effective. You’d be surprised at how many decisions are made by your subconscious. With 3 hours to choose a chocolate bar, maybe Cadbury wouldn’t be at the top of my list but with little time, I see purple and I grab. Purple means Cadbury, Cadbury means good chocolate, decision made.

Once a brand has ingrained associations in the consumer’s mind, they have a significantly higher chance of being chosen on a shopper’s quick run around in the supermarket. So, next time you’re at the shop till, ask yourself, what made you reach down and pick that up?

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