Luxury Brands Imitation Report Assessment
Brand imitation refers to copying attributes like design, logo, and shape of a renowned product. Doss and Robinson (2013, p. 427) define brand imitation as a product that borrows or copies some special attributes of a famous or leading product such as name, shape, or color. According to Doss and Robinson (2013), the act amounts to a breach of the core value of the original product. Different states have laws that prohibit imitation of luxury brands. Brand imitation deprives the original product designers of the right to reap benefits from their innovation. Additionally, it leads to companies losing significant market share. Mostly, customers opt to purchase the imitation as it goes at a low price. Today, brand imitation poses a major threat to branded companies.
The reason for focusing on brand imitation is the danger it poses to the growth of companies and innovation. As per Doss and Robinson (2013), brand imitation is a great crime in the 21st century. Currently, imitated products account for at least seven percent of the global market. The vice is highly concentrated in the luxury product sector. As companies continue to invest in the development of prestigious products, counterfeiters are increasingly targeting them. Growth in technology has made it easy for people to imitate brands. . (2013) allege that it is hard for a person to notice a counterfeit brand. One requires paying attention to the unique features of the original product. Below is an example of a .
Coco Chanel fake T-shirt, source: http://fashion.qq.com/a/20160412/029690.htm
Fig 1. Coco Chanel fake T-shirt.
According to Geiger-Oneto et al. (2013), imitators can target all kinds of luxury brands. Nevertheless, there are areas where imitation is particularly practical. Mostly, they target sectors with limited legal protection. Geiger-Oneto et al. (2013, p. 361) claim that they target sectors where complementary assets cannot be mustered to protect innovators. The industries that are highly prone to imitation include fashion and apparel companies. This report will focus mainly on the apparel industry. The study will concentrate on the imitation of branded T-shirts and handbags. Limited legal protection of the branded handbags and it easy for people to imitate these brands. Besides, technology has made it possible for counterfeiters to come up with diverse appealing designs for handbags and apparel. Below are images of different varieties of handbags from My Other Bag brand, which are replicas of Louis Vuitton handbag brands.
Handbags from My Other Bag, source: http://fashion.sohu.com/20161230/n477441060.shtml
Fig 2. Handbags from My Other Bag.
Popularity of Imitations
To combat imitation, it is imperative to understand the factors that contribute to customers purchasing counterfeit goods. Scholars have conducted significant research to determine the factors that contribute to the imitation of luxury brands (Lee, Chen & Wang 2015). A majority of people who do not respect the law are likely to purchase counterfeit goods. Besides, customers with prejudice against big companies have a high propensity for buying imitated brands. The customers argue that the companies sell original products at exaggerated prices. According to Triandewi and Tjiptono (2013), individuals who wish to assert their status but do not have money to purchase authentic brands can purchase counterfeit products. Curiosity amid customers is another factor that leads to the popularity of imitated brands. The desire to experiment with certain brands leads to customers purchasing counterfeit products. Today, every woman yearns to own a handbag from Louis Vuitton brand. However, not every woman can afford to purchase the brand. As a result, some customers purchase counterfeit handbags due to the desire to experiment with the brand. Below is an image of handbags from My Other Bag brand that use designs from the Louis Vuitton brand.
Tote handbags from My Other Bag brand, source: http://mt.sohu-.com/20160112/n434266487.shtml
Fig 3 Tote handbags from My Other Bag brand.
Numerous factors have contributed to the popularity of imitated products. They include celebrity endorsement and low prices (Modi et al. 2014). The apparel industry is fond of using popular personalities to endorse brands. The clothing companies use musicians and actors to advertise their products. Consequently, everyone craves to be associated with the brand. Today, many counterfeit products use celebrity endorsement strategy to win customer loyalty. Modi et al. (2014) argue that the use of celebrity endorsement strategy makes it hard for customers to distinguish counterfeits from the original brands. One of the renowned counterfeit brands is the Homies sweatshirts and vetements. Popular musicians like Kanye West and Rihana wear such apparel. Whenever the celebrities wear products their fans take photos and share them on social media. Counterfeiters take this opportunity to produce identical merchandise. The flashy and audacious designs of the counterfeited products captivate the clients. Eventually, they develop an interest in the products resulting in the popularity of the brands. The figures below represent images of brands worn by renowned celebrities.
Rihana adorned in homies sweatshirt, source: http://fashion.qq.com/a/20160412/029690.htm
Fig 4 Rihana adorned in homies sweatshirt.
Kanye West wearing vetements, source: http://mt.sohu.com/20160703/n457513630.shtml
Fig 5 Kanye West wearing vetements.
Past studies show that experience with counterfeit brands and stance towards fiscal and hedonic advantages of pirated products influences consumer buying behavior (Pierre 2012). The theory of planned behavior holds that there is a connection between stance, behavioral intent, and behavior (Pierre 2012). Some consumers purchase counterfeit brands due to materialistic minds. Many consumers value owning and displaying luxury products. Thus, they are likely to purchase counterfeit brands if not in a position to own the original products. People feel the same regardless of whether they are wearing authentic or counterfeit luxury brands (Pierre 2012). The more they continue to wear counterfeit brands, the more the products become popular. Today, many people wear counterfeit Louis Vuitton T-shirts due to their popularity. It has become hard for most customers to differentiate the from the imitation. Below is an image of a counterfeit Louis Vuitton T-shirt.
Louis Vuitton fake T-shirt, source: http://fashion.sohu.com/20150522/n413541999.shtml
Fig 6 Louis Vuitton fake T-shirt/
Customers consider the price of a product before opting to purchase. One factor that encourages customers to purchase imitations is their prices. Counterfeit products go at low prices. The study shows that customers who have experience with counterfeit products claim that they are as good as the genuine brands (Pierre 2012). Thus, they do not consider the quality of the brands. It underlines the reason why some customers will always purchase imitated products. The inability of the manufacturers of the branded products to change clients opinions about counterfeit goods makes it hard for companies to fight imitation (Pierre 2012). Below is an image of the handbag from My Other Bag, which is an imitation of Louis Vuittons handbag. The handbag on the right is a Louis Vuitton brand while the one on the left is its imitation.