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How To Use Color To Make An Impact

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How To Use Color To Make An Impact

June 16, 2015

By Dan Solin


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As a function of my advisory consulting practice, I devote a lot of time to discussing with clients the critical importance of first impressions. We focus on the non-verbal and verbal factors that contribute to how we, as advisors, are perceived by a prospect from the moment of initial contact.

Most firms have marketing materials available on their websites and in hard copy. And every advisor communicates with clients via email and through periodic performance reports. I have yet, however, to meet an advisor who pays the same attention to these materials as they do to their clothes or the way their office is appointed.

I interviewed Joyce Walsh, a professor at the College of Communication at Boston University. She is an expert on the essentials of graphic design and serves as a consultant to Assette, a company that seeks to improve the way in which institutional investment management firms communicate with their clients. Assette leverages technology to improve marketing, client service and productivity by reducing the time advisors spend manually creating reports to clients.

I asked Professor Walsh for her views on how to create marketing materials that will make a positive first impression on prospective clients.

The impact of color

Don’t underestimate the power of color in your presentation materials. One study found that painting detention cells vibrant pink significantly reduced violent and aggressive behavior among inmates.

Professor Walsh believes the color of your presentation reports and marketing collateral “conveys moods and associations that can become part of the message.” She has these recommendations for advisors:

Know your audience

Color is not interpreted the same way across all cultures. For example, in China, yellow is associated with pornography.

Don’t use the same color templates for all clients. According to Professor Walsh, “a firm primarily serving endowments and foundations might select a very different color palette than one used by a Taft-Hartley pension asset manager. Even within one target group, such as high-net-worth individuals, there can be preferential differences based on age, geography and other demographics.”


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