You’ve seen the commercials on TV where the host or actor discussing the fantastic properties of the amazing product is wearing clothes and accessories that match the products packaging and branding perfectly. Sometimes it makes for creepy over-branding whereas other times it makes the commercial more calm and focused. In either case, the intent is to unconsciously teach you the brand colour so that when you are in the store, the familiar colour will draw you in, consciously or unconciously.
However, the world of research is different. Using brand colours as part of questionnaire design can significantly affect the outcome of research and whether that results in increased or decreased scores, the impact is negative. Results from surveys should reflect in-market experiences, not unconcious associations of brand colours. If you plan to measure brand recall, awareness, purchase, attitudes, or perceptions within the the general population or within category users, particularly if you want to compare with other brands, never brand your questionnaires with brand colours, text styles, or formats. Questionnaires formatting should be neutral in all ways such that unconconsious recollections won’t be created.
So when is it appropriate for questionnaires to use brand features in the design? When can you use your brand’s colours and fonts and styles to pretty up what can be generic, boring pages?
When you’re contacting existing clients or customers to ask about a specific purchase experience or brand experience. That’s about it.
In such cases, the bulk of the questionnaire will focus on the specific experience with the specific brand. There may be a couple of generic introductory questions, but 90% of the questionnaire will focus heavily on your brand, your employees, your shelves, your website, your selection, etc. There is no point in creating a sense of blind review or uncontaminated response because the brand must be revealed early and significantly.
If you’re not sure which way to go, there is a very simple solution. Never brand your questionnaires unless there is no way around it. Better safe than sorry.