— Mark Prus, Principal Nameflash

About two and a half years ago, Brandless was launched. The company sold “unbranded” household, personal care, baby, and pet products on the cheap and was viewed as a breakthrough in the “anti-branding” movement.

Today, Brandless is dead.

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 30: A general view of atmosphere at the #BrandlessLife Pop-Up With Purpose on April 30, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo John Sciulli/Getty Images for Brandless)

Brandless failed to demonstrate proper value to consumers of their products. This is what a good brand can help do, but Brandless failed to establish itself as a quality brand that was worth trusting.

Many people underestimate the placebo effect that a good brand name can provide. Consider the power of a brand like Nike or 3M in this research study.

In this study participants completed a putting task, and half of the respondents were told they were using a Nike putter and the other half did not have a brand specified.  Although all participants used the same golf putter, those who thought they used a Nike putter on average needed significantly fewer putts to sink the golf ball.

Researchers conducted a similar comparison with 3M ear plugs and invited participants to take a math test while wearing a pair of foam ear plugs to minimize distractions and improve concentration. Each participant used the same ear plugs, except that half of participants were told that the ear plugs were made by 3M and the other half were not told a brand.  Those who thought that the ear plugs were made by 3M got significantly more answers right.

Numerous other scientific studies demonstrate what smart marketers know…brands matter!