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Faculty of Management Research Workshop; Femke van Horen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

by Faculty Events


Thu, 03 Oct 2019

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

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Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row

106 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TZ, UK

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Flexible Similarity: How Consumer Goals Affect the Use of Similarity

Femke van Horen, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Products often imitate the brand features, such as the package design, of successful other products. Such copycatting or imitation practices are common to activate positive associations around the imitating brand, in order to capitalize on the marketing efforts of the imitated brand. In previous research, we demonstrated that such imitation is ineffective when the imitation is too close to the imitated brand (e.g., when similarity is too high or when the copycat is positioned in the same category as the imitated brand) or too far away from the imitated brand (e.g., low similarity or positioned in an unrelated category). In the current set of experiments, we demonstrate that these backlash effects can be reversed by activating certain user or usage goals. When an activated user goal brings a seemingly distant (close) copycat closer to (further away from) the imitated brand, evaluations and purchase intention of the copycat improved. These results demonstrate that seemingly counterproductive imitation tactics can become effective for the imitating brand under various clearly identifiable user and usage goals. This has implications for marketing and consumer behavior theory, and more general for theories of similarity perception and effects.

Please contact faculty administration should you wish to attend.
Food Provided (Refreshments will be provided from 12pm-12:30pm prior to the workshop in the 4th floor faculty lounge area.)

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Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row

106 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TZ, UK


Femke  van Horen's profile photo

Femke van Horen

Femke van Horen is an Associate Professor at the Marketing Department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She obtained her PhD at Tilburg University and worked as a Post Doctoral Researcher at the Social Cognition Lab of the University of Cologne, Germany, after which she joined the Vrije Universiteit in 2014. Femke has three main lines of research. In her first line, she investigates the effectiveness of product imitation strategies (copycatting). Her second line of research focuses on how environmental uncertainty (e.g., uncertainty caused by economical crisis, elections) affects consumer decision-making. In her third line, she investigates how nudging methods can be used to increase sustainable behavior. Her work has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Environmental Psychology, among others.