Brands with high performance rate can cause placebo effect

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New York, Jan 22 (IANS) Brands that can improve consumers’ athletic as well as cognitive performance can cause a placebo effect, reveals a new study.

Simply being prestigious is not enough for a brand to elicit a placebo effect, but it needs to be perceived as capable of improving performance in a given task, the study revealed.

The study examined whether the mere belief that a particular brand was effective at enhancing performance could actually improve performance objectively.

Not everyone benefits equally from the performance brand placebo, but the effect is strongest among people who are novices in a respective task, the findings showed.

“Our results suggest that the use of a strong performance brand causes participants to feel better about themselves when undertaking a task — that is, to have greater task-specific self-esteem.

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“This higher self-esteem lowers their performance anxiety which, in turn, leads to the better performance outcomes,” said Frank Germann from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the US.

Brand managers need to emphasize more on the performance characteristics of their brands, suggested the study to be published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Ironically, the study also indicated that consumers do not typically credit the brand with the performance gain, but rather themselves, the researchers revealed.

The researchers conducted several experiments to determine if there is a placebo effect. In one study, the researchers invited participants to take part in a market research study about a new golf putter.

The participants were specifically asked to complete putts on a putting green from three predefined locations with the new prototype putter. All participants were given putter of the same brand.

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But only about half of the participants were told that they would be putting with a Nike putter — a strong performance brand — whereas the other half were not told what brand they would be using.

The participants who were told that the putter was of brand Nike, on average needed significantly fewer putts to sink the golf ball than those who didn’t knew the brand name.

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