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Title: Corporate Image and Product Similarity - Assessing Major Demand Drivers for Counterfeits in a Multi-Country Study
Author: Elfriede Penz and Barbara Stöttinger [Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration]

Psychology & Marketing  25, no. 4: 352-381

Year: 2008


Subject/Type: Counterfeiting
Focus: Brands (non-deceptive counterfeits)
Country/Territory: Austria, Mexico, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, United States of America
Objective: To investigate key demand drivers for counterfeit goods in a multi-country study.
Sample: 1846 consumers from six different countries
Methodology: Questionnaire

Main Findings

Regardless of specific country contexts, corporate image and product characteristics (perceived product similarity between original and fake) strongly influence consumers' intention to buy counterfeits.

Consumers perceive manufacturers of original products more positively than counterfeiters. These differing corporate images of both legitimate producers (the "nice guys") and counterfeiters (the "bad guys") are mainly the product of affective opinions (i.e. based on emotional evaluations). However, specific corporate image dimensions and their relative importance vary across countries, indicating that consumers have unique ways of looking at original brand manufactures and counterfeiters.

Comparing product attributes of originals and counterfeits, respondents in all countries surveyed perceive the physical product attributes "durability" and "quality" of original products to be similar to the counterfeit. All other product attributes, such as look, functionality, image and physical appearance are said to differ between originals and fakes; however, the countries investigated differ with respect to which product characteristics need to be similar between original and fake in order to persuade consumers to buy the fake.

Thus, while the authors were able to validate their conceptual model, different country backgrounds prevent universally-valid consistent cross-cultural patterns predicting the intention to purchase counterfeits from emerging.

The study's managerial implications are the following: measures against counterfeiting at the local rather than global level; communications focusing more on emotional than on cognitive messages; finding new and innovative ways to communicate the superiority of originals, and the development of nation-specific measures for tailored marketing activities.

[Date Added: Aug 12, 2008 ]