Can the brands you wear improve work performance?
A recent study at Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky and Penn State has found that using expensive equipment can provide a noticeable boost to performance.
Researchers found that just being told participants were using a Nike golf putter and not a no-brand putter improved the subject’s performance by 20%. In addition, the same study found that those who wore earplugs during a maths exam performed around 20% better when they were told they were using high-end 3M earplugs.
“Some people have a power suit that they put on for important presentations, or they have some special cufflink that they put on to bring them luck,” said Frank Germann, Ph.D., an assistant professor of marketing at Notre Dame University’s Mendoza College of Business who worked on the study. “I think our research would suggest that engaging in that kind of behavior might actually work.”
The researchers (Germann, Aaron Garvey of the University of Kentucky and Lisa Bolton of Penn State University) say the study indicates that perceived brand power has the ability to lower performance anxiety while boosting confidence. “When you think that you have this performance brand, you have higher-state self- esteem,” Germann says. “As a result, you feel better and your self-confidence is elevated at a certain task. In turn, you’re less anxious, and because of that, you’re performing better.”
Previous studies have supported the findings of this report. In a study completed in 2008, researchers at the University of Waterloo and Duke University established that exposure to logos can actually cause people to show traits associated with the corporate identity of a brand.
As an example, participants, when asked to do a task did it more creatively when they were being exposed to Apple branding. Similarly, it was found that when participants were exposed to a Disney Channel logo, they were more like to be honest.
In another example, in a study run in 2011, in Boston, when participants were exposed to a Red Bull logo they were more likely to take risks and engage in more extreme behaviour. Those given a (virtual) Red Bull car drovewith more speed, power, and risk-taking behaviors than those driving a car with brands such as Coca-Cola, Tropicana, or Guinness.