Absolutely right. There is a difference between design and branding and I think you should try and figure out what your ultimate goal is for the website. Are you looking to have visitors mentally associate yourself with the "popular competition" or are you looking to stand out and differentiate yourself. There is no right answer, other than deciding what the websites business strategy will be - are you looking to blend into the crowd and hopefully get some business through emulation, or are you looking to stand out from the crowd and get those who are looking for some other than the norm.
Trial and error has shown that yellow and red combination seem to attract people's attention the best. A lot of research has also gone into this combination of colors. For some reason, that combination causes people to linger longer.
To expand on the previous post - I would think that you should especially not confuse colour scheme with branding. The branding as part of a colour scheme maybe. A black and yellow distinctive brand colour associated and extending the logo maybe - but unrelenting black and yellow is unsettling and has bad vibes for some people, me for instance
Worst Ad Colour Combinations and Adsense image Ads Used At present in Hubs, is causing Lot of Revenue Loss to Hubbers. I have only a Single Question to ask - Will anyone of You click an Ad Like These Below, If You...