Brands influence the sense of taste and ability to perform
Brands unconsciously add value to the consumers' experience. In fact, branding effects are so strong that it can influence your sense of taste or ability to perform. This has been demonstrated in the experiment of Plassmann et al.
In the experiment, participants had to solve puzzles. The respondents were given a can of Red Bull or a soft drink which tasted similar to Red Bull. Some of the soft drink were presented in a Red Bull can, without the participants' awareness. In other words, the participants didn't know what they were actually drinking.
The thinking ability of participants who thought they were drinking Red Bull increased, compared to the participants who thought they were drinking soft drinks. This experiment shows that the brand Red Bull increased performance, not necessarily the actual beverage.
This is largely due to a placebo effect. When we think something works well, it actually works. This effect is clearly visible in medical science. For example, a red placebo pill works better than a blue one, because painkillers are often red and therefore we associate red pills with painkillers. We also experience less pain when we are given a painkiller by a grey-haired professor than by his younger assistant. So you see, the association we have with something unconsciously produces an effect. For brands it can also work like this.
Branding really does make your product better
The Red Bull experiment is a prime example of a placebo effect and the influence of branding on the brain. So the brand itself literally adds value.
Branding and marketing really do make your product better. Brands activate emotions in the brain which influence consumer behavior.
As a marketer, you would want leverage this knowledge. Check out learning 2 for tips.