The paper “ Footwear Industry in Australia - the Effect of Brand Counterfeits on Genuine Brand Equity“ is a forceful variant on research proposal on marketing. One of the most persistent challenges that continue to face marketers globally and in Australia is that of brand counterfeiting. The incidences of brand counterfeiting and piracy in Australia have been on the rise in the past decade which has severely undermined the intellectual property rights and brand equity of both Australian and foreign brands under the Trade Marks Act by diverting consumers away from the purchase of genuine or authentic products towards counterfeited products (Nill and Schultz 1996, Bikoff 1983).
Economically, brand counterfeiting has reduced investment in industries affected by counterfeits, reduced tax collection from these industries which in turn affects economic growth and also reduced employment in industries that manufacture genuine products (Wilson and Shopov 2011). In addition to the economic consequences, brand counterfeiting also exposes consumers to the health risks of substandard or poor quality counterfeits in addition to supporting organized crime and terrorist networks that threaten public safety. A particular area of concern in Australia has been the increasing discovery of incidences of brand counterfeiting in the footwear industry which has increasingly become a target for brand counterfeiters (Brooks Running 2011, Entertainment Close-Up 2011, Obermeder 2010, Xinhua News Agency 2011). Problem StatementThis study investigates the effect of brand counterfeiting on the brand equity of genuine brands in Australia by focusing on a case study of counterfeiting in the footwear industry (for the purposes of this study, the footwear industry will refer only to the shoe industry).
This study will provide information about how consumers in the footwear and apparel industry, which is heavily affected by counterfeiting in Australia, make purchase decisions when faced with counterfeit shoes and will help brand managers in the footwear and apparel industry identify more effective brand protection strategies to minimize the economic costs of counterfeiting (Wilson and Shopov 2011). ObjectivesThe objectives of this study are: To examine how brand counterfeiting affects genuine brand equity from a consumer perspective in the footwear industry in Australia. To assess the effectiveness of brand protection strategies against counterfeiting in the footwear industry in Australia. To identify strategies that would increase the effectiveness of brand-protection strategies. Research Questions Does brand counterfeiting negatively affect the brand equity of genuine brands in Australia’ s footwear industry? Are the brand protection strategies used by footwear and apparel manufacturers who market their products in Australia effective against brand counterfeiting? What are the most effective strategies to prevent brand counterfeits from negatively affecting demand for genuine brands? HypothesisThe main hypothesis of this study is that brand counterfeiting negatively affects genuine brand equity in the footwear industry in Australia.
Brand counterfeiting is the independent variable while brand equity is the dependent variable in this study.
The alternate hypothesis is that brand counterfeiting has no significant impact on the brand equity of genuine brands in Australia’ s footwear industry. Literature ReviewSeveral studies have explored the effects of brand counterfeiting on several aspects of brand equity of genuine or authentic brands in a variety of industries. These studies have separately attempted to show the correlation between the incidence of brand counterfeiting and common measures of brand equity. These aspects of brand equity are brand loyalty, brand awareness, perceived brand quality, brand associations and the market behavior of the brand (Aaker 1996, Smith 2007).
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