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Victoria’s Secret sure hopes so. Because they spend big bucks on those branded bags.

This morning FOX TV invited me to share my views on “The Branded Bag Effect”, Is there one? Do consumers even think about which bag they carry and which one they dump?

That depends on who you ask. Some studies show there are two kinds of consumers who carry bags.  Specifically, people are either “entity theorists” or “incremental theorists.” Entity theorists believe no action of their own can change who they are. They know their failings and their limitations. Incremental theorists see no limits to what they might accomplish, see no end to how they might improve themselves.

So you’d think the later were the big buddies with their bags. Turns out both believed in external helpers.

This is where a branded bag becomes part of the carrier identity, like an outside branding agent, a persona accessory.

The study, to be published in December, is the work of Deborah Roedder John, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. In one of four experiments, John and a colleague approached 85 women in a mall, asked them to fill out a survey — embedded in which were questions about their self-perception — then gave the women one of two shopping bags to walk around with for an hour. One of the bags was from Victoria’s Secret. The women in that group reported to the researchers that they felt more sensual and glamorous simply for the carrying.

Brands can influence people in other ways as well. The study also notes the curious case of some M.B.A. students asked to take notes for six weeks using a pen embossed with the MIT logo. Those who did reported feeling smarter at the end of the term.

No big surprise, a couple of years Apple computer studied the brain and prior to exposing the research candidates with problems to solve they were shown Apple products and image. Those folks scored higher as they believed they were more creative.

So what does this mean for your brand? Watch the video

Packaging is an important touch point for many brands. It not only further tells your story (brand personality) by your choice of graphics, style of bag, materials used etc., but it can serve as a strong emotional connection to the shopper’s core values. And if the consumer is proud to be associated with your brand, it’s a transportable billboard too. And you can’t beat that.

And remember packaging and bags are not limited to fashion brands, they can also be a great point of distinction for a restaurant’s to-go food packaging,  a dentist’s toothbrush pouch or a consulting firm’s proposal wrap. And reusable  and recycled bags can also earn you points for the save the planet movement too.

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