Mendoza School of Business

How an Expensive Suit Can Make You Better at Your Job

Published: February 18, 2016 / Author: Seth Porges, Bloomberg Business

I’m a big believer in staying unbranded; I’m about as likely to to wear a logo as a disco suit. Even my smartphone and laptop have logo-covering cases.

Well, according to new research, I could be missing out. A recent study conducted by researchers at Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky, and Penn State found that using brand-name gear can provide a noticeable placebo effect that could boost performance. In other words: If you’ve ever felt like you give better presentation when wearing an expensive designer suit, it might not be your imagination.

In the study, researchers found that simply being told you were using a Nike golf putter over a no-name club improved participants’ performance by about 20 percent. And this effect isn’t limited to the physical: The researchers also found that subjects who wore earplugs while taking a math quiz did better when they were told they were using high-performance 3M earplugs. The performance bump for this part of the study was also about 20 percent.

“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.”

Read the entire story on the Bloomberg Business website.