The exercise was simple. "Study the beans and, using only information available from your five senses, pick your favorite bean." When I asked for a show of hands, 75% of my audiences consistently picked Starbucks. I asked people from each group to stand up and share their rationales for picking one over the other. The vast majority of people described things that had nothing to do with genuinely observable qualities of the beans themselves. If they voted for the no-name brand they referred to ideas like "not wasting money"; if referring to the world's largest coffee franchise, ideas like "passion and richness" came up. They were invoking imputed brand statements.