Skip to main content
Log in

Interactive Role of Consumer Discrimination and Branding against Counterfeiting: A Study of Multinational Managers’ Perception of Global Brands in China

  • Published:
Journal of Business Ethics Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Prior research has examined consumer intentions to purchase fakes, branding strategies and anti-counterfeiting actions, but little attention seems to have been paid to the role of consumers’ ability to discern fakes and branding strategies against counterfeiting. This article, thus, based on a study of 128 multinational managers’ experience in China, examines these inter-relationships. As a result, we address how knowledgeable and experienced managers in branding, consumer consumption and anti-counterfeiting effort perceive consumers’ ability to discriminate fakes from originals interacts with branding strategies, and how such relationship influences the effectiveness of anti-counterfeiting effort. Our findings suggest that consumer discrimination itself has no significant effect on anti-counterfeiting success. However, it significantly interacts with branding strategies to predict a means to mitigate brand damage. That is, consumers’ ability to discriminate fakes from originals appears to undermine efforts to mitigate brand damage from counterfeiting, at least in China when branding is based on improving product features or advertising and promotion. However, if branding emphasises after sales service, consumers’ ability to discriminate was found to enhance firms’ ability to limit counterfeiting damage to brands. Such interactions, however, did not help stop counterfeiting, except that branding based on reliability appears to have such a positive effect.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Aaker, D. A. (1991). Managing brand equity. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aaker, D. A. (2007). Innovation: Brand it or lose it. California Management Review, 50(1), 8–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aaker, D. A., & Joachimsthaler, E. (2000). The brand relationship spectrum: The key to the brand architecture challenge. California Management Review, 42(4), 8–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Albers-Miller, N. D. (1999). Consumer misbehaviour: Why people buy illicit goods. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 16(3), 273–287.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alden, D. L., Steenkamp, J., & Batra, R. (1999). Brand positioning through advertising in Asia, North America, and Europe: The role of global consumer culture. Journal of Marketing, 63(1), 75–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aleassa, H., Pearson, J., & McClurg, S. (2011). Investigating software piracy in Jordan: An extension of the theory of reasoned action. Journal of Business Ethics, 98, 663–676.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Al-Rafee, S., & Cronan, T. (2006). Digital piracy: Factors that influence attitude toward behaviour. Journal of Business Ethics, 63, 237–259.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ang, S. H., Cheng, P. S., Lim, E. A. C., & Tambyah, S. K. (2001). Spot the difference: Consumer responses towards counterfeits. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 18(3), 219–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bearden, W. O., & Etzel, M. J. (1982). Reference group influence on product and brand purchase decisions. Journal of Consumer Research, 9, 183–194.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bian, X., & Veloutsou, C. (2007). Consumers’ attitudes regarding non-deceptive counterfeit brands in the UK and China. The Journal of Brand Management, 14(3), 211–222.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bloch, P. H., Bush, R. F., & Campbell, L. (1993). Consumer ‘accomplices’ in product counterfeiting: A demand side investigation. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 10(4), 27–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowerman, B. L., & O’Connel, R. T. (1990). Linear statistical models: An applied approach (2nd ed.). Boston: PWS-Kent.

    Google Scholar 

  • Branch, S. (2001). AC Nielsen gives 43 brands global status. Wall Street Journal, 31–38.

  • Christensen, C. M., Cook S., & Hall, T. (2005, December). Marketing malpractice: The cause and the cure. Harvard Business Review, 74–83.

  • Cliff, N. (1987). Analysing multivariate data. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

    Google Scholar 

  • Commuri, S. (2009). The impact of counterfeiting on genuine-item consumers’ brand relationships. Journal of Marketing, 73(3), 86–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cordell, V. V., Wongtada, N., & Kieschnick, R. L. (1996). Counterfeit purchase intentions: Role of lawfulness attitudes and product traits as determinants. Journal of Business Research, 35(1), 41–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Certeau, M. (1984). The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Delaney, J. T., & Huselid, M. A. (1996). The impact of human resources management practices on perceptions of organizational performance. Academy of Management Journal, 39(4), 949–969.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Delener, N. (2000). International counterfeit marketing: Success without risk. Review of World Business, 21(1/2), 16–20.

    Google Scholar 

  • Douglas, S. P., Craig, C. S., & Nijssen, E. J. (2001). Integrating branding strategy across markets: building international brand architecture. Journal of International Marketing, 9(2), 97–114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Doyle, P. (1989). Building successful brands: The strategic options. Journal of Marketing Management, 5(1), 77–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Echambadi, R., & Hess, J. D. (2007). Mean-centring does not alleviate collinearity problems in moderated multiple regression models. Marketing Science, 26(3), 438–445.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ewen, S. (1988). All consuming images: The politics of style in contemporary culture. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Firat, A. F., & Venkatesh, A. (1995). Liberatory postmodernism and the reenchantment of consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 22, 239–267.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fiske, J. (1989). Understanding popular culture. Boston: Unwin Hyman.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fournier, S. (1998). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 24(1998), 343–373.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gupta, P. B., Gould, S. J., & Pola, B. (2004). “To pirate or not to pirate”: A comparative study of the ethical versus other influences on the consumer’s software acquisition-mode decision. Journal of Business Ethics, 55(3), 255–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hair, J., Black, W. C., Babin, B., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2009). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Han, Y. J., Nunes, J. C., & Drèze, X. (2010). Signalling status with luxury goods: The role of brand prominence. Journal of Marketing, 74(4), 15–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harvey, M. G. (1987). Industrial product counterfeiting: Problems and proposed solutions. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 2(4), 5–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hill, C. (2007). Digital piracy: Causes, consequences, and strategic responses. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 24(1), 9–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holt, D. B. (2002). Why do brands cause trouble? A dialectical theory of consumer culture and branding. Journal of Consumer Research, 29(1), 70–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hopkins, D. M., Kontnik, L. T., & Turnage, M. T. (2004). Counterfeiting exposed: Protecting your brand and customers. Hoboken: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Horkheimer, M., & Adorno, T. W. (1996). Dialectic of enlightenment. New York: Continuum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hsu, J. L., & Shiue, C. W. (2008). Consumers’ willingness to pay for non-pirated software. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(4), 715–732.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Irwin, J. R., & McClelland, G. H. (2001). Misleading heuristics and moderated multiple regression models. Journal of Marketing Research, 38(1), 100–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johansson, J. K., & Ronkainen, I. A. (2005). The esteem of global brands. Journal of Brand Management, 12(5), 339–354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kalafatis, S. P., Tsogas, M. H., & Blankson, C. (2000). Positioning strategies in business markets. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 15(6), 416–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Katz, D. (1960). The functional approach to the study of attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly, 24(2), 163–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, C. K., & Chung, J. Y. (1997). Brand popularity, country image and market share: An empirical study. Journal of International Business Studies, 28(2), 361–386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kopalle, P. K., & Lehmann, D. R. (2006). Setting quality expectations when entering a market: What should the promise be? Marketing Science, 25(1), 8–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kwong, K. K., Yau, O. H. M., Lee, J. S. Y., Sin, L. Y. M., & Tse, A. C. B. (2003). The effects of attitudinal and demographic factors on intention to buy pirated CDs: The case of Chinese consumers. Journal of Business Ethics, 47(3), 223–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liao, C., Lin, H.-N., & Liu, Y.-P. (2010). Predicting the use of pirated software: A contingency model integrating perceived risk with the theory of planned behaviour. Journal of Business Ethics, 91, 237–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lybecker, K. M. (2007). Rx Roulette: Combating counterfeit pharmaceuticals in developing nations. Managerial and Decision Economics, 28(4–5), 509–520.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Makino, S., Lau, C.-M., & Yeh, P.-S. (2002). Asset-exploitation versus asset-seeking: Implications for location choice of FDI from newly industrialized economies. Journal of International Business Studies, 33(3), 403–421.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Matos, C. A., Ituassu, C. T., & Rossi, C. A. V. (2007). Consumer attitudes toward counterfeits: A review and extension. The Journal of Consumer Marketing, 24(1), 36–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Millar, C., Choi, C. J., & Chen, S. (2005). Globalisation rediscovered: The case of uniqueness and ‘creative industries’. Management International Review, 45(1), 121–128.

    Google Scholar 

  • O’Cass, A., & Liem Viet, N. (2007). Market orientation versus innovative culture: Two routes to superior brand performance. European Journal of Marketing, 41(7/8), 868–887.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Olsen, J. E., & Granzin, K. L. (1992). Gaining retailers’ assistance in fighting counterfeiting: conceptualisation and empirical test of a helping model. Journal of Retailing, 68(1), 90–109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Olsen, J. E., & Granzin, K. L. (1993). Using channel constructs to explain dealers’ willingness to help manufacturers combat counterfeiting. Journal of Business Research, 27(2), 147–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Phau, I., & Ng, J. (2010). Predictors of usage intentions of pirated software. Journal of Business Ethics, 94(1), 23–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pine, B., Peppers, J. I. I. D., & Rogers, M. (1995). Do you want to keep your customers forever? Harvard Business Review, 73(2), 103–108.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pisano, G. P., & Teece, D. J. (2007). How to capture value from innovation: Shaping intellectual property and industry architecture. California Management Review, 50(1), 278–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Podsakoff, P. M., & Organ, D. W. (1986). Self-reports in organizational research: Problems and prospects. Journal of Management, 12(4), 531–544.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Porter, M. E. (1990). The competitive advantage of nations. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pykäläinen, T., Yang, D., & Fang, T. (2009). Alleviating piracy through open source strategy: An exploratory study of business software firms in China. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 18(4), 165–177.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qu, T., & Green, T. B. (1997). Chinese foreign direct investment: A subnational perspective on location. Aldershot: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rao, V. R., Agarwal, M. K., & Dahlhoff, D. (2004). How is manifest branding strategy related to the intangible value of a corporation? Journal of Marketing, 68(4), 126–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ritzer, G. (1995). The Mcdonaldization of society: An investigation into the changing character of contemporary social life. New York: Pine Forge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rugman, A. M., & Collinson, S. (2004). The regional nature of the world’s automotive sector. European Management Journal, 22(5), 471–482.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sharma, S., Durand, R. M., & Gur-Arie, O. (1981). Identification and analysis of moderator variables. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(3), 291–300.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shavitt, S. (1989). Products, personalities and situations in attitude functions: Implications for consumer behaviour. In T. K. Srull (Ed.), Advances in consumer research (Vol. 16, pp. 300–305). Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shocker, A., Srivastava, R., & Ruekert, R. (1994). Challenges and opportunities facing brand management: an introduction to the special issue. Journal of Marketing Research, 31, 149–158.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, B. M., Bruner, J. S., & White, R. W. (1956). Opinions and personality. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Snyder, M., & DeBono, K. G. (1985). Appeals to image and claims about quality: Understanding the psychology of advertising. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49(3), 586–597.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Steenkamp, J.-B. E. M., Batra, R., & Alden, D. L. (2003). How perceived brand globalness creates brand value. Journal of International Business Studies, 34(1), 53–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stonehouse, G., Hamill, J., Campbell, D., & Purdie, T. (2000). Global and transnational business: Strategy and management. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tellis, G. J., Yin, E., & Bell, S. (2009). Global consumer innovativeness: Cross-country differences and demographic commonalities. Journal of International Marketing, 17(2), 1–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Townsend, J. D., Yeniyurt, S., & Talay, M. B. (2009). Getting to global: An evolutionary perspective of brand expansion in international markets. Journal of International Business Studies, 40, 539–558.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Venkatraman, N., & Ramanujam, V. (1987). Measurement of business economic performance: An examination of method convergence. Journal of Management, 13(1), 109–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Walsh, G., Mitchell, V.-W., Kilian, T., & Miller, L. (2010). Measuring consumer vulnerability to perceived product-similarity problems and its consequences. Journal of Marketing Management, 26(1), 146–162.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wan, W. W. N., Luk, C.-L., Yau, O. H. M., Tse, A. C. B., Sin, L. Y. M., Kwong, K. K., et al. (2009). Do traditional Chinese cultural values nourish a market for pirated CDs? Journal of Business Ethics, 88(S1), 185–196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilcox, K., Kim, H. M., & Sen, S. (2009). Why do consumers buy counterfeit luxury brands? Journal of Marketing Research, 46(2), 247–259.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wong, H. Y., & Merrilees, B. (2007). Multiple roles for branding in international marketing. International Marketing Review, 24(4), 384–408.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yang, D., & Fryxell, G. (2009). Brand positioning and anti-counterfeiting effectiveness: A study of managers’ perception of foreign brands in China. Management International Review, 49(6), 759–779.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yang, D., Fryxell, G., & Sie, A. (2008). Anti-piracy effectiveness and managerial confidence. Journal of World Business, 43(3), 321–339.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yang, D., Sonmez, M., & Bosworth, D. (2004). Intellectual property abuses: How should multinationals respond? Long Range Planning, 37(5), 459–475.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yang, D., Sonmez, M., Bosworth, D., & Fryxell, G. (2009). Global software piracy: Searching for further explanations. Journal of Business Ethics, 87(2), 269–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yannopoulou, N., Koronis, E., & Elliott, R. (2010). Media amplification of a brand crisis and its affect on brand trust. Journal of Marketing Management, 7(5–6), 530–546.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yoon, C. (2011). Theory of planned behaviour and ethics theory in digital piracy: An integrated model. Journal of Business Ethics, 100, 405–417.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the Section Editor—Professor Domenec Mele, and the two anonymous reviewers. With their constructive comments, we have been able to improve the quality of this paper.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Deli Yang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sonmez, M., Yang, D. & Fryxell, G. Interactive Role of Consumer Discrimination and Branding against Counterfeiting: A Study of Multinational Managers’ Perception of Global Brands in China. J Bus Ethics 115, 195–211 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1394-3

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1394-3

Keywords

Navigation