Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Are You Paying a Brand Tax?

According to professor and author Juliet Schor, "many consumers do not understand why they prefer one brand over another, or desire particular products. This is because there is a significant dimension of consumer desire that operates at the non-rational level."

Think you could tell your favorite brand of cereal from a competitor in a blind taste test? Chances are, you can't. Schor, in an essay The New Politics of Consumption, notes that in tests of favorite beer brands, cosmetics, clothing and many other categories of goods, when there are no labels, consumers find it hard to distinguish among brands and often fail to select their "favorite."

"It seems we love our brands," she wrote, "but we often can't tell which brands are which."