The Client-Savvy Colors That Make Presentations More Effective
Seven ways advisors can use color to their advantage in client reporting and marketing material
July 7, 2015
by Joyce Walsh
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You put on your best outfit for client and marketing meetings. Your offices are well-appointed, reflecting the professional culture of your firm. Then you pass the presentation materials around. The colors are cliched and difficult to read. With the flip of a page, you’ve lost your chance of making a positive first impression.
Your client reports and marketing presentations are arguably the most public face of your practice. How they look and the colors you choose affect the way clients and prospects respond to the information you want to convey.
Color communicates information even before we begin to read the content. Leatrice Eiseman, a highly regarded color expert, notes that color adds meaning to communication, and this becomes even more important when words are not used, as in financial charts and reports. A recent study at UC Berkeley found that visual communication via charts is fundamental to the process of disseminating information. Because humans have a facility for understanding visual information, well-designed charts and other diagrams help audiences quickly understand complex ideas. Eiseman also notes that each color family conveys moods and associations that can become part of the message. Advisors can harness the power of color to engage their audience and more effectively communicate with them.
Here are seven strategies for choosing colors that reflect a positive brand image and lend credibility to your message.
1. Understand warm and cool colors
People perceive blue, green and violets as cool, and red, orange and yellows as warm. Cool colors and warm colors are related to a universal human experience – possibly due to our association of ice and deep water with cold and fire and the sun with heat.
Warm colors are energetic and demand attention. You can use red or red-orange with a white background to attract the eye and provide a focal point for your report or presentations. But a little goes a long way, so be careful. Given the context, too many reds and oranges may be perceived as aggressive – and, of course, “in the red” has financial and investment performance connotations most advisors would rather avoid!
Conversely, cool blues are perceived as reserved, calm and secure. As cool colors become brighter – such as turquoise – they show less restraint. Changing the undertone of a color can alter its temperature; the redder a purple, the hotter it gets. Yellow-greens are earthier and warmer than the blue-greens of deep water, which are perceived as cool and clean.
Identify the intended effect of the color: Do you want to convey reliability or dynamic energy? Use dark blues and greens to create a mood of reassurance and conservative associations of security. Use warm colors to create vibrancy or emphasis in a report.
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