Brands influence the sense of taste and make you perform better
Unconsciously, brands add value to the consumers' experience. It's so strong that it affects the sense of taste or it makes you perform better.
A good example of this is the Pepsi paradox. In an experiment, people had to drink Pepsi and Coca-Cola blindly and choose which of the two colas was tastier. The majority chose Pepsi.
In the next round, the cola was tested with the brand visible, i.e. Pepsi or Coca-Cola. Now the majority chose Coca-Cola. You see, it was not the taste of Coca-Cola that was better than Pepsi, but the brand Coca-Cola influenced the taste; it even improved it.
The brand Red Bull gives you wings
That a brand unconsciously adds value, is also shown in the experiment done by Plassmann et al.
In the experiment, respondents had to solve puzzles. The respondents were given a can of Red Bull or a soft drink with a similar Red Bull taste. The soft drink was presented in a Red Bull can, without the respondents being aware of it. In other words, the respondents didn't know what they were actually drinking.
The thinking ability of respondents who thought they were drinking Red Bull increased compared to the respondents who thought they were drinking the soft drink. This shows, the brand Red Bull gives you wings, not so much the drink itself.
Branding really does make your product better
The studies above are good examples of the influence of branding on the brain. The Pepsi Paradox was even repeated while studying respondents in MRI scans. The results show that when respondents see Coca Cola (and not Pepsi), something was pulled out of their memory to add value to the product.
So the brand itself literally adds value.
Branding and marketing really do make your product better. A brand activates emotions in the brain which influence consumer behavior.
As a marketer you want use this. Check out learning 2 for tips.