Brands carry a lot of weight in purchasing decisions for me. In some cases, it is the primary reason I will either purchase or not purchase an item. Kevin Keller, author of Strategic Branding Management, maintains that successful branding often creates strong, favorable, and unique brand associations to both functional and symbolic benefits. With so many product options, consumers need help in deciding on the right products and services. Scott Bedbury and Stephen Fenichell, authors of A New Brand World, further note that the most innovative product line will grow stale in the minds of potential customers if the marketing has become static, undifferentiated, or irritating for lack of change.  For me, it is those unique differences and my own personal experiences that impact my product selections.
The underpinning question is a value issue. In many industries, giving away samples is an effective, low risk way. Giving free samples encourage buyers to try unproven or unknown products. In environments like Costco, customers expect free items. However, some customers frown on free product offerings. Michael Solomon, author of Consumer Behavior, maintains that some buyers are materialistic and place a high value on status and appearances; price is usually a consideration. Therefore, the higher the price or more exclusive the product, the more valuable the commodity. This relates to prestige pricing.