Although it seems that branding is or should be a purely rational human activity, it is not, and it should not be. Taste plays two crucial roles.
While it is true that branding itself and especially writing about branding, requires a high level of rational (intellectual) activity, we should never forget human nature in relation to this question. For the purpose of this post about taste and branding, let me focus only on one specific human feature, namely the distinction between perception and conception.
Perception against entropy
Perception is a function of each living creature with which it relates and correlates with its environment. Living creatures without this feature are oxymorons. It is precisely this feature that makes a chunk of matter alive. This feature allows such a chunk of matter to “fight against” entropy. The law of entropy pushes us toward freeze; sensing such freeze empowers a living creature to find a shelter that raises the temperature. Rising the temperature lowers the entropy.
The emergence of conception
Conception is a unique human mental ability. It emerges from memetic activity. Memetic activity should be taken literally, namely, memes act on their own. Memes symbolize the real around us and create a reality (for us). Conception is a memetic creation of reality while other living creatures are stuck to the real.
Watch out! Conceptions emerge on the top of conceptions. What does that mean?
Contemporary neuroscience proves that particular brain damage that destroys perception pathways while simultaneously allowing previously established conceptual pathways deprives such a human of being a human. One cannot live in a conceptual world that would be completely separated from the perceptual world. That is why conception can only be built on the top of perception. On the other hand, those who are masters in meditation can eliminate conceptions and experience only precepts; and that is exactly the essence of meditation.
The taste is recursive
From this, it follows that taste as a percept always precedes any further conceptual step. Taste is a base for every memetic conception and, thus, for any brand conception.
Now please note that “taste” also has a metaphorical meaning. Not only do we have the taste of food (as a result of sensory organs), but we also have a taste for music, design, fashion, books, and almost every other human activity.
Taste, in this sense, is recursive. Even though a taste is a result of one of the human senses, is at the same time subjected to something that creates it; it is subjected to branding. Taste changes when influenced by memes. Blind tests prove this. While it is impossible to create a brand of beer without a physical sensation (perception) of a beverage that we drink, the taste of the specific beer we drink is very much influenced by the brand’s memetic environment.
Taste is thus a co-result of branding/memetic activity and sensory activity as much as human is an emergent property of genetic and memetic co-evolution.