Original Brands in Competition Against High Quality Copycats

European Journal of Marketing, 2018

45 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2018

See all articles by Hang Nguyen

Hang Nguyen

Michigan State University

Kunter Gunasti

Washington State University

Date Written: June 2, 2018


Purpose – Copycat brands offering improved product quality pose serious challenges to original brands. This paper aims to provide a better understanding of why consumers prefer copycat brands with superior product attributes and how original brands can shift this preference back by strategically leveraging brand identity cues.

Design/methodology/approach – Four experimental studies test different types of brand identity cues that original brands can use to influence consumer preferences. Logistic and linear regression analyses analyze the effects.

Findings – The results systematically show the power of brand identity cues in helping original brands reduce share loss to copycat brands using superior product attributes. They also reveal the role of brand equity, conspicuous consumption and consumers’ tendency of using brands as status symbols in enhancing the effect of brand identity cues in the face of superior copycats.

Research limitations/implications – This paper extends cue diagnosticity theory and the brand identity literature by showing the power of brand identity cues in predicting consumer choices of original brands.

Practical implications – This paper provides useful guidelines for managers of original brands on how to effectively use brand identity cues to compete against copycats.

Originality/value – Prior research focuses on how copycat brands’ characteristics influence consumers’ evaluations of copycats. These studies are limited, however, by their focus on cheap and low-quality copycats. The current paper examines the effects of brand identity cues and draws attention to the trade-offs consumers make when choosing between original brands and copycats offering superior product features.

Keywords: Brand Equity, Brand Identity

JEL Classification: M1, M31

Suggested Citation

Nguyen, Hang and Gunasti, Kunter, Original Brands in Competition Against High Quality Copycats (June 2, 2018). European Journal of Marketing, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3189299

Hang Nguyen

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824-1121
United States

Kunter Gunasti (Contact Author)

Washington State University ( email )

386 Todd Addition
Carson School of Business
Pullman, WA Whitman 99164
United States
5093354833 (Phone)

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