Exploring the impact of product similarity and price on brand management outcomes of junior imitations and traditional senior luxury brands: the moderating roles of consumer characteristics

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Areti Tsitsakis Vogel (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Kittichai Watchravesringkan

Abstract: Often considered the sincerest form of flattery, imitation has practically always underlain the business sector. Firms mimic the innovations of others in all industries and at varied levels, resulting in a spectrum of copies that range from identical reproductions of the originals to copies with merely subtle resemblances. Intellectual property law generally prohibits the former via patent, copyright, and trademark protection. The retail sector has historically relied on trademark law to prevent imitations that confuse consumers as to the identity of the true manufacturer. However, imitations that do not create such confusion, primarily by copying aspects of another's offering that are unrelated to that firm's trademark (i.e., trend imitations), do not invoke infringement law as counterfeits do. Essentially, trend imitations are legal so long as they do not dilute the equity of the original brand. While a number of researchers have thoroughly examined consumer behavior associated with counterfeits, a much smaller sect has investigated the consumer response to trend imitations. Therefore, the purpose of the current marketing research was to uncover the effects of such trend imitation on both a luxury brand that imitates another (defined as the junior brand), as well as the luxury brand that is mimicked (defined as the senior brand). Specifically, the study employed a 3 x 2 between-subjects experimental design to examine the effects of appearance similarity and price on both junior and senior brand management outcomes (brand attitude, brand equity, and brand preference). The research was also aimed at exploring the relationships among these variables, as well the moderating effects of the consumer characteristics (ethics, prestige sensitivity, and fashion leadership) on said outcomes. Data were collected from a convenience sample of undergraduate students, with the final sample consisting of 340 participants. Of these, approximately 53% were Caucasians and approximately 90% of participants ranged from 18-22 years old. Multivariate analysis of variance was employed to test the main effects of appearance similarity and price point and the moderating effects of the consumer characteristics, while a series of regressions were performed to test the relationships between the brand management outcomes. Results revealed that similarity of juniors to seniors in terms of appearance (low, moderate, and high) and price point (at versus below) affect junior brand management outcomes, yet not those of well-known seniors. The results also reveal that consumer ethics moderate the effect of appearance similarity and price point on both junior and senior brand management outcomes, while fashion leadership moderates that effect only with respect to the senior brand. The findings further support the existence of relationships between the brand management outcomes of brand attitude, brand equity, and brand preference for both junior and senior brands. The research reveals a deeper conceptualization of consumer response to retail imitation practices, and provides managerial insight to both junior and senior brands involved in imitation practices. Limitations and future research directions are also offered.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Brand equity, Consumer behavior, Ethics, Luxury, Retail, Trend imitation
Luxury goods industry
Brand name products
Product management
Product counterfeiting
Consumer behavior
Dress accessories

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