The impact of branding products on consumer preference has been debated for as long as there has been the ability to differentiate. In the 1820s, P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” And while there is debate as to whether he really said it, there are studies that prove this theory to be potentially correct.
Brands impact the way consumers perceive products
In a recent study published under creative commons by PLoS ONE, researchers set out to understand the impact of branding on the human mind while consuming a cola type beverage.
Researchers concluded that showing a respondent a brand image, while consuming the beverage, significantly changed their perception of that drink. In this particular study, three cola products (Coke, Pepsi and River Cola) were mixed. River Cola acted as the generic brand. The respondents were served this same mix of colas on every serving, with the Pepsi, Coca Cola and River Coal brands being presented to them on a screen during consumption.
According to the research, both the Pepsi and Coca Cola products alike significantly outperformed the generic River Cola brand for taste and overall enjoyment. So why is this?
Branding of products has shown to leave a lasting imprint on the human mind
This can have positive and negative effects. Like in the study cited above, people have certain expectations from branded products and the sight mechanism triggers a sense of pleasure in the brain that actually transcends a similar taste. Good branding that aligns well with a quality product and reinforces the brand promise is a recipe for success.
The brand kiss of death – blending into the background
So if branding is so important, why have brands like Coca Cola made changes to their logo and tag lines throughout the years? Why did a successful chain like Starbucks feel like they needed to go through a rebranding that impacted the entire organization from the logo right down to the menu boards and service staff?
The answer is “Impact”. Well-executed branding is almost always going to fold itself into the background. As these brands get weaved into the fabric of our daily lives, they lose the impact that they had when the brand was fresh and new. Brands are always walking the fine-line between making a fresh impact whilst maintaining brand perception and consumer loyalty. Ongoing testing and data is critical to help brand managers and product specialists alike not only maintain existing brands, but also launch sister products as well.
The consumer deluge and the importance of consumer feedback
Brands surround us everywhere, across all media formats from radio and print to digital and TV. There has never been a time in history where testing the effectiveness of your brand image, brand story and brand impact has been so crucial. At Carbonview, we help companies like Armstrong, Keurig and more to keep their branding fresh and impactful. Contact us today and get the consumer and brand insights you need to stay on top and/or carve out a new niche.