I am a scientist working in a design school who researches colour. I sometimes get frustrated by the simplistic view of colour and its use in branding, marketing and advertising pervades the internet (where anyone can be an expert). People often misinterpret my own work and imagine that all sorts of simplistic ideas stem from my research. So, for example, imagine that there is a company (that is aiming to deliver sustainable and environmentally responsible power) that is looking to brand itself and also imagine that my research reveals that the colour green is associated with the environment and nature. Typically people may say (or imagine that I would say) that it is obvious that the company should use the colour green as the basis of its branding strategy. However, this is a very simplistic view and one that I certainly don’t subscribe to.
When a company is constructing a branding strategy one has to consider many facets of the branding and marketing. What is the proposition that the company is making? How can colour support that or help to communicate it? A company may, for example, even may an ironic statement where it chooses colours and imagery that is the opposite of what it really stands for, just as an example. I quite enjoyed reading a post today by thebrandsquad that gave quite an intelligent and thoughtful analysis of colour in branding (using a case study rather like the fictitious example I refer to above).
See also Greenwashing – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing