Consumers' Perception and Misperception of Market Leadership and Market Pioneership
Does a brand benefit from being perceived as market leader or market pioneer? What happens when a brand is misperceived as market leader or market pioneer? This research presents an empirical design that tests if consumer awareness of market leadership andmarket pioneership has an impact on brand evaluation and preference. The research also introduces the concept of consumer misperception of which brand was market leader or market pioneer. The potential difficulties of using perceptions of real brands in research are addressed through a within-brand comparison approach. Through a survey approach using a household research panel, the manuscript examines the prevalence of such misperception, and the degree to which brand evaluation, attitude, and purchase intention are impacted by the correct perception or misperception that the brand is a market leader or pioneer. Survey results generally show a significant enhancement in brand evaluation for those brands perceived as leaders or pioneers relative to followers. Perceived market leadership is associated with more favourable evaluation relative to perceived pioneership. Brands misperceived as the market leader or pioneer brand accrue all of the benefits of brands correctly perceived as market leader and pioneer brands. Managerial implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the significance of market leadership and market pioneership as positioning bases, and in what situations are they most useful. These characteristics, market leadership and market pioneership, are linked to the literature on market share effects and customer based brand equity.
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