Effects of perceptual and conceptual similarities on consumers’ evaluations of copycat brand names

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Journal / PublicationJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number2
Online published27 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


Copycats often choose brand names that mimic perceptual, conceptual, or both elements of leading brand names. Yet little is known abouthow perceptual and conceptual similarities of a copycat interact to affect consumers’ evaluations, especially in logographic language sys-tems (e.g., Chinese). Three laboratory experiments demonstrate that perceptual similarity alone leads to negative evaluations of copycatbrand names; this negative effect, however, can be mitigated when conceptual similarity is added. The underlying mechanism for this effectcan be traced to consumers’ persuasion knowledge. Perceptual (vs. conceptual) similarity activates consumers’ persuasion knowledge aboutthe insincere motives of the copycat brand, which in turn shapes their brand evaluations. However, this effect can become less prominentwhen conceptual similarity is added because it alleviates use of persuasion knowledge, or when a consumer is in a happy mood because itneutralizes persuasion knowledge. These findings shed light on how different types of copycat strategies interact to affect copycat brandname evaluations and offer important implications for marketing practice.