Overcoming the Illegitimacy Discount: Cultural Entrepreneurship in the US Feature Film Industry
Posted: 26 Aug 2013
Date Written: March 28, 2013
How can organizations spanning institutionalized categories mitigate against the possibility of reduced attention by audiences? While there has been a good deal of research on the illegitimacy discount of category spanning, scant attention has been paid to how organizations might strategically address this potential problem. In this paper, we explore how the strategic naming of products might enhance audience attention despite the liabilities associated with category spanning. Drawing on a sample of films released in the US market between 1982 and 2007, we analyze different naming strategies and show that names that simply signal familiarity are not potent enough to offset the illegitimacy discount, while names imbued with known reputations serve as a symbolic device that enhances audience attention to genre spanning films.
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