Our brains process visual information more efficiently than any other kind of data input. That goes for audio, flat text or spreadsheets. The way that information is presented can dramatically affect how much of it is stored in memory and the accuracy with which it can later be recalled. Even if you’re not a graphic designer by trade, there is one simple element of design that you can master: color.
Visual processing and color
Visual communication is an underutilized form of engagement between companies and their investors. However, there are many outside groups that use data visualization and other visual strategies to tell stories effectively. In fact, activist investors use graphic design regularly to enhance their value proposition when engaging in a proxy dispute.
One element of every activist’s investor presentation, you’ll notice, is the use of color. Color provides a simple way to create contrast, suggest trends, and demonstrate potential changes. It allows the designer (or the activist or company) to suggest an idea without typing out dozens of lines of text. Using graphic design in this way can increase memory of earnings data and operational metrics. But color has many other benefits as well.
Color increases appeal
Color draws attention. It attracts online investors, who will gravitate towards your content if it’s bright, colorful, and vibrant. The mood you want to convey and the kind of investor you’ll attract can be altered subtly with changes in color and shading. Appeal is the critical first step in attracting new investors online. Without color, it’s more difficult to appeal to digital audiences.
Color increases engagement
Using color in your investor presentations will instantly make them more attractive. The added benefit of the ‘appeal’ of colorful content is that it also enhances engagement and plays into your inbound ir strategy. The more color is used in your materials, the more likely they’ll be shared and re-shared online. Investors will spend more time looking at colored charts than black and white graphs, for example. Use this to your advantage. Add color, keep to your corporate style guide, and you’ll greatly increase the chances of your content spreading in a ‘viral’ fashion.
Color increases comprehension
The strategic use of color in your investor presentation or earnings infographic can dramatically increase comprehension. Since visual information is largely processed by our unconscious brain, using highlights can give the reader an impression of the content before they’ve even had the chance to begin reading.
Adding color can enhance content comprehension by as much as 73%. Most designers will use yellow or green as highlights as these colors fall in the middle of the spectrum.
Color increases trust
Color can be used in design to elicit emotional responses from the reader or viewer. Depending on the cultural background your investors come from, the colors you can use to promote positive responses will vary slightly. This is because some colors hold deep cultural and historical significance. You can find a synopsis of cultural colors here.
Consider that your team is presenting to two groups of foreign investors and your current investor presentation has a lot of yellow in it. For the Chinese audience, the yellow can stay; it’s considered regal and nourishing. However, for the egyptian audience, yellow is equated with mourning and should be replaced with a green which suggests perfect faith.
How investors see color
Color increases brand recognition
Various studies have been conducted on the use of color in brand recognition. The most commonly sighted  comes from Loyola University in 2007, which concluded that color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. Its unlikely that simple throwing a colored header on your page will significantly increase page or brand impressions, but the hue used in your investor presentation can have a significant effect on your brand experience. Incorporating color is a crucial part of any digital investor relations campaign and something your IR department should be cognizant of. There is some evidence to suggest that using a variety of colors in your content can have an impact on search visibility as well, something to think about if you’re being guided by press release SEO best practices.