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Unauthorized Use of Famous Brands and Its Impact on Brand Equity Dimensions

Washington Macías ORCID logo EMAIL logo and Julio Cerviño


The aim of this study is to analyze the effect of unauthorized use of famous brand names on their brand equity dimensions. In addition, we explored the moderation effect of similarity between the unauthorized brand (junior brand) and the famous brand. An experimental design with four real famous brands and sixteen fictitious junior brands was applied to 617 undergraduate students from a large university in Ecuador. Hypotheses about the effect on brand equity dimensions and overall brand equity construct were tested using structural equation models. Results showed that awareness of a famous brand was not diluted by consumers’ exposure to junior brands. However, associations, perceived quality, loyalty and an overall construct of brand equity were diluted. There was evidence that similarity between famous and junior brands attenuated dilution. Therefore, considering that brand equity dimensions have desirable consequences on consumer behavior and firm value, this paper’s results highlight the importance of protecting brands against unauthorized use.

Appendix A

Table 5:

Scales, loadings, reliability and validity measures.

ItemScaleCFA stand. weights
Awareness (AWA) (Yoo, Donthu, and Lee 2000; Netemeyer et al. 2004):
CR = 0.728; AVE = 0.473; ASV = 0.465; MSV = 0.814
aa1I know what X looks like.(1 = Totally disagree – 7 = Totally agree)0.701
aa2I can recognize X among other competing brands.0.622
aa3aI am aware of X.
aa4aI am aware of X.
aa8When I think of (famous brand product category), X is one of the brands that comes to mind.0.736
Associations (ASSO) (Yoo, Donthu, and Lee 2000):
CR = 0.69; AVE = 0.534; ASV = 0.418; MSV = 0.814
aa5Some characteristics of X come to my mind quickly.(1 = Totally disagree – 7 = Totally agree)0.843
aa6I can quickly recall the symbol or logo of X.0.598
aa7rI have difficulty in imagining X in my mind (r).
Perceived Quality (PQU) (Yoo, Donthu, and Lee 2000):
CR = 0.928; AVE = 0.721; ASV = 0.43; MSV = 0.623
pqu1X is of high quality.(1 = Totally disagree – 7 = Totally agree)0.908
pqu2The likely quality of X is extremely high.0.883
pqu3The likelihood that X would be functional is very high.0.795
pqu4The likelihood that X is reliable is very high.0.818
pqu5X must be of very good quality.0.836
pqu6rX appears to be of very poor quality (r).
Loyalty (LOY) (Yoo, Donthu, and Lee 2000):
CR = 0.913; AVE = 0.778; ASV = 0.457; MSV = 0.719
loy1I consider myself to be loyal to X.(1 = Totally disagree – 7 = Totally agree)0.894
loy2X would be my first choice.0.91
loy3I will not buy other brands if X is available at the store.0.84
Overall Brand Equity (OBE) (Yoo, Donthu, and Lee 2000):
CR = 0.826; AVE = 0.544; ASV = 0.396; MSV = 0.719
obe1It makes sense to buy X instead of any other brand, even if they are the same.(1 = Totally disagree – 7 = Totally agree)0.699
obe2Even if another brand has same features as X, I would prefer to buy X.0.809
obe3If there is another brand as good as X, I prefer to buy X.0.756
obe4If another brand is not different from X in any way, it seems smarter to purchase X.0.679
Similarity (SIM) (Bhat and Reddy 2001):
CR = 0.949; AVE = 0.903; ASV = 0.009; MSV = 0.016
sim1(junior brand product category) and (famous brand product category) are similar(1 = Totally disagree – 7 = Totally agree)0.985
sim2(junior brand product category) is like (famous brand product category)0.914
Familiarity (FAM) (Morrin 1999; Reinholtz, Bartels, and Parker 2015)
FamRegarding the (famous brand product category) X, are you.(1 = Not at all familiar – 7 = Very familiar)
  1. Note: CR, composite reliability; AVE, average variance extracted; ASV, average shared variance; MSV, maximum shared variance.

  2. aTwo items with alternative translation were used, as suggested during the conceptual equivalence analysis.


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Published Online: 2019-06-12
Published in Print: 2019-06-26

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