Abstract: Protecting the Brand in the Face of Counterfeits: Genuine-Item Consumers’ Anti-Counterfeit Framework

Brands and Brand Relationships Conference, May 2014, Boston, MA

Anna Jansson Vredeveld. Co-authors: Bill Ross, Robin Coulter

This research explores how consumers purposefully and intentionally interact with brands in pursuit of moral identity and consumption legitimacy. In particular, we examine how genuine-item consumers, as differentiated from consumers who purchase or use counterfeits, cope with the identity threat posed by counterfeits. We find that genuine-item consumers actively seek support from other genuine-item consumers of similar brands when counterfeits are perceived as a threat to their identities and/or their brand relationships. In particular, we find that genuine-item consumers collectively frame counterfeit consumption as immoral and prescribe activities for moral brand use to institute moral legitimacy of their luxury brand relationships. Thus, we contribute to extant research on brand relationships by showcasing how brand users collectively imbue their brand practices with moral meanings.