By Steve Rivkin
That’s the conclusion from a study of peanut butter and consumer choice. Brand names taste better.
The details were first reported years ago in The Journal of Consumer Research. They resurfaced in a book by psychologist Gerg Gigerenzer about the “intelligence of the unconscious” (Gut Feelings, Viking-Penguin).
The study gave consumers a choice between three jars of peanut butter. In a pretest using blind taste tests, 60% of the time consumers identified one brand as having significantly higher quality.
Then the researchers put labels on the jars and tested another group of participants. One label was a well-known, heavily-advertised national brand. The other two labels were brands the participants had never heard of before.
The higher-quality peanut butter went into one of the jars with an unfamiliar label. Would the same percentage still choose the best-tasting spread?
Nope. This time, 73% chose a lower-quality product with the well-known brand name. Only 20% chose the high-quality product in the unfamiliar jar.
Researchers cite similar results among beer drinkers, using blind taste tests.
- A brand name is a promise of how you will perform.
- A brand name can differentiate you from others in your category.
- Brand name recognition can have more influence than taste perception.