Over the last few years, I’ve taken the time to look a bit at the marketing and branding behind Western puerh vendors here on the blog. Since returning back to puerh buying, I noticed that marketing has become a driving force these days. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, in fact, I enjoy the marketing on display. However, I have sometimes openly questioned whether we are buying the puerh or just buying into the marketing.
I recently read this article about how we rate a wine label influences how good we perceive and rate the wine. It talks about the research by a Master’s student at the University of British Columbia.
The article is titled “Like the label? You'll probably like the wine, says UBC researcher”. The subtitle proclaims, “Masters candidate Darcen Esau says people want wine that matches their personal identity”.
I got to thinking that you could easily replace the word “wine” with “puerh”.
His research look to answer these questions: "With so many options available, why do some labels appeal to some people but not others? And then taking it a step further, does that label actually impact the wine drinking experience?”
The research essentially had different parts to it such as an online survey and a taste testing.
For the taste testing, he employed a triangle design with 3 glasses of wine and 2 of the 3 were the same wine. Esau also used two types of labels in his research: a contemporary design and a traditional design. No single design was found to make the wine taste better. However, if the person identified with a label they would perceive the wine as actually tasting better.
Do you think, as I do, that this result could easily be reproduced among puerh drinkers in the West?
Do we really like the puerh we are drinking or are we just unconsciously picking the Western puerh vendor and/or puerh wrapper that matches our personal identity?