Consumers’ Different Neural Activity and Attitude to the Leading Brand and Imitator

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Along with the rapidly growing world economy, copycats emerge everywhere. With visual similarity, copycats may mislead consumers to incorrectly link the copycats to familiar and leading brands. Copycat practices are serious challenges for the leading brands, consumers, and even imitators. In this study, the cognitive differences between a leading brand and a copycat brand were investigated subconsciously by using event-related potentials. Using a questionnaire on the leading brand and the copycat brand, consumers’ attitudes to perceived value of the brand, brand attitude, and purchase intentions were also studied. Electroencephalogram and survey results showed significant differences between the two brands. Consumers’ perceived value, brand attitude, and purchase intention of the leading brand were higher than the copycat brand. The copycat brand elicited a higher P160 and N240 at the front-central area and a higher P240 and lower P400 at the central-parietal area. We supposed that the amplitude variation in event-related potentials expressed different neural activity with regard to the target identification, cognitive control, automatic attention, and categorization mechanism between the original and the counterfeit. This study contributes to understanding the consumers’ different neural activity with regard to the original and the counterfeit and provides a feasible neuroscience-based method to perfect present theories and methodologies on issues concerning imitation. Exploration of the differences between the leading and copycat brands can help companies promote their brand and develop more reasonable marketing strategies.

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