Personal Branding: What’s color got to do with it?

The presence of color in our visual world influences us on a daily basis. As a previous Interior Designer, I studied the psychological impact of color in our environment. Did you know that restaurants manipulate how much food we desire by the color of the room or that a medical center can impact your heart rate and blood pressure by selecting the right colors for its treatment rooms? Of course, other elements can help reinforce these subconscious messages as well but, it proves the power that color can have on us without overt messaging.

Translating this study of color to your personal branding imagery provides the same affects to your brand. The colors of the background, lighting, wardrobe, even lipstick and nail polish colors, can all be targeted to send the right message to your ideal client.

In our pre-consultation, I will ask you specific questions such as, “what 3 words do you want a client to associate with your business experience?” If your answer includes trust, loyalty, and intelligence, I will likely recommend we incorporate blues into your photographs. Consider that several social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all intentionally use this hue. Social media by nature is about connecting with friends, family, and coworkers whom we typically associate with trust and loyalty (hopefully!) Of course, we also want to feel that our personal information is safe online and that what we read is true of which, blue supports all of these messages. 

In the portrait example above, you see Gavin, a community banker, against a blue sky, wearing a blue shirt, and a jacket with a blue plaid. Each of these color choices is an intentional decision to communicate trust, loyalty, and intelligence to his clients. Three keywords one would most certainly want to associate with the man they are building their professional dreams with via a commercial loan!

If you click to expand Gavin's portrait, you may also observe the touch of red added by his pocket scarf. This is intentional as well because, in addition to the emotional color associations we make, you want to be sure to capture your client’s attention. When three colors of the same hue such as the sky/shirt/ jacket combination here dominate an image, a small pop of an accent color can be used to draw your client’s eye to your image.  This can be done with a small accessory like the pocket scarf, lipstick, nail polish, or an extra layer of clothing. Without this contrasting pop of color, the image may be too subtle and quickly overlooked. That is an easy mistake you don’t want to make! After all, in a study titled, The Impact of Color on Marketing, it was proved that people make up their mind within 90 seconds of their initial interactions and, up to 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.