Key takeaways in this post:

  • Colors are important in healthcare branding because they can affect how people feel and think.
  • Studies found that over 80% of people buy something because of the color.
  • Blue is common in healthcare because it makes people feel safe and calm.
  • Even the colors doctors and nurses wear can affect how people feel.
  • Knowing color preferences can help healthcare brands choose colors that make people feel good and want to be a part of their brand.

For a healthcare marketer, every detail counts when trying to reach and engage target audiences. That includes the messaging we use and the design that complements it. And an important part of that healthcare marketing equation is color.

Let’s talk about United Way and the “unignorable” color. The United Way in Canada began a new campaign to bring attention to the following issues:

  • Domestic violence
  • Mental health
  • Poverty
  • Homelessness
  • Social isolation

They wanted to make it hard to ignore their message about these problems. To do that, the organization worked with the Pantone Color Institute to create a shade.

The shade highlights local issues and is hard to overlook. They called the color “Unignorable.”

Laurie Pressman, VP of Pantone Color Institute, explained, “The Unignorable [color] boldly calls out for attention while remaining friendly, approachable and optimistic.”

In February 2019, the United Way Greater Toronto announced that supporters had raised $110.3 million. It was the world’s largest United Way campaign in 2018. The Unignorable campaign exceeded its fundraising goal.

The “Unignorable” shade United Way and Pantone created. Image from United Way.

It takes much more than a color to move people to act. Still, there’s no doubt color can move people, which is why it matters in healthcare branding.

Color is part of the perception process. It comes to us from our surroundings based on the differences in wavelengths of light. In short, the eye perceives color and the brain translates it.

Studies show that color is a powerful tool for marketing products and services. It’s related to the psychological, visual and technical qualities of most human-made endeavors.

Color accounts for over 80% of the reason someone buys a product. Because color conveys traits about an organization’s brand image and even stirs emotions, you can almost consider it a subliminal language.

So, what are colors “saying” to healthcare consumers?

Blue speaks healthcare’s language

Take blue. There’s a reason it’s a dominant color in clinical settings and marketing materials.

Certain blues are more “energetic” than others, such as the bright blue WG Content uses. But blues are often soothing and promote thoughtfulness. They bring to mind the cool, calming effects of the sea and sky.

Blue can also stand for success, trust and security. It’s not surprising that it’s a popular color for healthcare institutions and health insurance companies.

In healthcare environments, you can combine colors with images from nature to maximize healing. A clinical setting that combines a soft sky-blue wall with a serene, azure lake mural may create a sense of restoration.

But red or orange may be effective in another part of the clinic. A bright orange wall combined with the image of a glowing sunrise may be pleasing to the eye and stimulating for patients who are recovering.

How scrubs color affects patient confidence

Even a healthcare provider’s attire may affect how a target audience responds. One survey found that participants linked blue scrubs to being the most caring.

Meanwhile, participants linked black scrubs to being less caring. This shows that color can affect how patients perceive their healthcare providers.

We can’t change brand colors (or clothing) to please every age and gender. But it’s helpful to note that color preferences affect how your audiences respond to your marketing and environment.

  • How we feel at any time in life
  • How we want to feel
  • How a color ties into certain experiences

For instance, one study found a significant gender difference between yellow and orange. Women often chose orange over yellow. Men most often prefer yellow instead of orange.

When it comes to age differences, the same study said that “Blue and red maintain a high preference throughout life, but colors seem to drop down the list while other colors become more preferred. Yellow, for example, is well-liked by children but begins to drop away by people as they become adults.”

Also noted is the idea that as people mature, they tend to like blue, green and purple more than red, orange and yellow. Knowing such preferences exist, you may find it helpful to dig further when choosing one of your healthcare brand’s color palettes for a specific audience.

The perception of color is subjective. Still, understanding the complex emotional effect color can have on consumers may help you speak their language. It can also connect them with your brand.

Our team of experienced healthcare content experts can help you develop a strategy that reaches your various markets and connects audiences with your brand. Reach out today.

Colors can influence how you feel and perceive things. For instance, warm tones like red or orange are associated with energy and excitement, while cooler tones like green or blue may convey a sense of calmness and serenity. Certain colors can trigger specific memories or experiences that tie into your emotional state.

Knowing your target audience’s preferred colors can help you create appealing and impactful marketing materials that resonate with them. It can also help you understand their emotional reactions to certain colors and tailor your messaging.

Color perception is subjective. Different cultures and individuals may associate different meanings or emotions with the same colors. But you can see general trends and associations across populations.

Yes, depending on the specific industry within healthcare, certain colors may have different meanings and be effective in communicating messages. For example, brighter tones may be more suitable for promoting wellness products. And muted colors may work better for mental health services.

Yes, color preferences can change as you experience different life events and develop new associations with certain colors. For example, your favorite color may shift from bright and energetic to calming and soothing as you go through different life stages or events.

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